Weekly Update: to

Here’s your Canadian Atheist Weekly Update for to .

  • [] Paolo De Buono, 🌈 MSc, JD, OCT on Twitter

    If you don’t recognize the name, Paolo De Buono is the teacher within the Toronto Catholic District School Board who has been trying to get the board to acknowledge Pride Month. He hasn’t had much success. But now he’s doing something really interesting: he’s actually collecting and sharing the data of which English Catholic school boards in Ontario are recognizing Pride Month. The Google document is linked in his tweet, and keeps updating as things change. As of the last time I checked before publishing, of the 6 biggest English Catholic school boards in Ontario, 2 (Niagara and York) have recognized Pride Month, 2 (Dufferin-Peel and Toronto) have outright refused to, and the other 2 (Hamilton-Wentworth and London) – along with the majority of other boards – are pretending it doesn’t exist.

  • [] How Canadian Hate Groups Are Reacting To George Floyd Protests

    Hate tends to cluster – religious intolerance tends to move in lockstep with xenophobia and racism – so it’s really important to monitor all forms of hate as a single, though multifaceted, phenomenon. That’s why I think it’s important that Canadian atheists inform themselves about the causes, events, and reactionary responses to the current wave of anti-racism protests triggered by the murder of George Floyd in the US. It’s simply not acceptable for Canadian atheists to shrug and say this isn’t our problem; it may not be our focus, but it very much certainly is our problem. And while Floyd may have been killed in Minneapolis, this not a US-only problem. A woman, Regis Korchinski-Paquet, mysteriously died during an altercation with Toronto police just week – there are claims (and possibly evidence – I’m not entirely sure what the situation is exactly at the moment of writing) that she was pushed off a 24thth floor apartment balcony. But perhaps even more concerning is that in the aftermath of this incident, racists and neo-Nazis reared their ugly heads in Toronto. And even still more concerning is that some political actors are taking advantage of the situation in horrifying ways. We have Conservative MP and leadership candidate Derek Sloan echoing some of Donald Trump’s more deranged rhetoric in calling for protesters to be designated as terrorists. We even have the United Conservative Party in Alberta tabling an almost-certainly unconstitutional bill that would effectively make all protesting illegal. This may not be our fight, as Canadian atheists, but it is a fight we can’t afford to fence-sit on. If nothing else, we need to show solidarity and support to those protesting in defence of black lives, and in opposition to an increasingly violent, militarized, and out of control police industry. Right now isn’t the time for us to try to steal the spotlight, and monopolize the discourse to air our own grievances, valid as they are. We’ll have our day, another day. Right now is the time for us to listen to Canadians of colour, to understand their struggles and learn about the ways the system is stacked against them, and how we can become part of the solution.

  • [] “Canada Not Racist,” Declares 73-year-old White Man

    It’s astounding that people like Rex Murphy still have a platform. (I mean, it’s understandable, given that he’s being given that platform from the largesse of Conrad Black, who’s also pretty unhinged, racist, and – like Murphy – anti-atheist.) But this response is brilliant and hilarious. Jonathan Goldsbie is on fire, using a repeated literary leitmotif to capture the beats of Murphy’s deeply-ingrained racism: quoting from the article, then pointing out elements of Murphy’s privilege, followed by quoting from a previous Murphy article to highlight his ignorance and hypocrisy.

  • [] MMR vaccine sytematic review – science finds no link to autism AGAIN

    I mean, at this point, we really didn’t need this. This isn’t even the first systematic review on vaccines published in the last couple of years. But, yet again, the data is pretty damn conclusive. Vaccines work. They don’t cause autism (in fact, they may even lower its prevalence!) or any other kind of cognitive delay. There is no association with asthma, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, or anything that vaccines have been claimed to cause. And in fact, though there are some mild risks associated with vaccines, the harm that would probably follow from actually getting the disease is probably much, much worse.

  • [] Canadian Hate Groups Threatening Black Protests

    I had planned to include only the single item from the Canadian Anti-Hate Network above, about the reactions of extremist groups to the Black Lives Matter protests, as the centrepiece of this week’s Update. However, some very concerning events that came up afterwards during the past week made me feel it was necessary to include this second piece, along with some warnings. As the piece notes, hate groups are planning to disrupt the protests, and hope to trigger violence (even if that means starting it themselves). And there have been some disturbing incidents where far-right actors have infiltrated protests, and even worked with police, to create media-friendly images of rioting and looting to tar the reputation of the legitimate protesters – these have been captured on video or recorded by journalists and shared widely, usually on social media. There have also been incidents where hate groups have posed as reporters and tricked protesters to giving their names, which they then shared to far-right media, thus doxxing the protesters and putting them at risk of reprisal. Even more horrifying: there have even been incidents of the police doxxing innocent protesters, and making them targets for revenge violence… the most shocking and infamous case may be the New York Police sharing information about Mayor Bill de Blasio’s daughter, in retaliation for the Mayor’s criticisms. I don’t want to discourage anyone from protesting and taking action in solidarity with the protesters this weekend – quite the opposite, in fact. But be careful. Protect yourself. Be alert for extremist actors and the police trying to incite violence or otherwise harm the protesters. And don’t become a flash-point for violence yourself: always avoid trouble, always deescalate, always document, and always keep yourself and those around you safe.

Canadian Atheist’s Weekly Update depends on the submissions of readers like you. If you see anything on the Internet that you think might be of interest to CA readers, please take a minute to make a submission.

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