Welcome to a whole new Weekly Update!
For a long time now I’ve been planning to update the technology I use to produce Weekly Update. This technology is the reason I’ve been able to do the Update every week with an almost perfect record for almost five years now. (Seriously. Weekly Update’s five year anniversary will be the first week of September.) Because it’s so vital to getting an Update out every week, I’ve been extremely reluctant to fiddle with it, even though there were a number of shortcomings that needed addressing.
Welp, I’ve finally got around to fiddling. What you’re seeing now is the first trial run of the new tech stack. You may not notice much difference now, although there are a lot of under-the-hood changes. But future Updates will be able to do some much more interesting things.
As with all new technology, there will be bugs and other nonsense, at least at first. This new technology is still, well, new, and so will need a shaking-out period. If you see anything egregiously wrong, please leave a comment, so I know to fix it.
Anywho, that’s enough nerdy rambling about the back-end tech for now. I’ll just let the new system speak for itself.
And so, without further ado, here is your Canadian Atheist Weekly Update for to .
This week’s items
 Video Shows Anti-Abortion Groups Quietly Planning to Take Control of Conservative Riding Associations Across Canada
When I try telling people just how organized and motivated regressive groups are in this country, they accuse me of conspiracy thinking. But it really is true that regressive groups—in this case, anti-abortion activists—are extremely well organized, motivated, and active.
Take a look at the images from RightNow’s guide to infiltrating the Conservative Party. These people aren’t fringe loonies. Well, I mean, they are… but they are fringe loonies who know the weaknesses of our current political system, and have no qualms about exploiting it.
Personally, I’m kinda inclined to just sit back and let them have at the Conservative Party. Let them stack the deck there, and force the party to take pro-life bullshit seriously. Because at the end of the day, the real voting doesn’t happen in the EDAs, it happens at the polls, and the population that votes at the polls is way past tired of pro-lifers and their shit. So in essence, all these idiots are doing by infiltrating the Conservative Party… is sabotaging it.
I know Weinersmith is only joking about the magnetic vaccine thing… but it’s just too close to some of the actual conspiracies out there.
You probably guessed it from the fact that the person is making excuses for the Catholic Church: the “longtime observer” is a Catholic journalist.
But read the article anyway, because this apologist for the Church makes some eyebrow-raising comments. In particular, he claims the Catholic Church should have been able to raise the amount promised to survivors of residential schools—which, yes, we all know that, because they raised ten times that amount for their pretty buildings during the same period—and the reason they failed was because the fundraising was bungled. If only they’d taken the fundraising to individual Catholics, it would have worked! The evidence for that is that individual Catholics have privately raised more than the Church managed.
Bullshit. The only reason individual Catholics are getting off their asses and donating now is because they’ve been called out and humiliated by having their moral and ethical failings at every step of the reconciliation process exposed. That is what is finally motivating Catholics to “care” now.
 8 Conservative Candidates Used Public Money to Place Ads in a Newspaper That Spreads COVID-19 Conspiracies
The “newspaper” the headline refers to is The Epoch Times. If you know anything about it, you know why I put “newspaper” in scare quotes.
The headline actually understates the problem. The Epoch Times is not just about COVID-19 conspiracies. It’s also a hotbed of QAnon nonsense and other far-right conspiracy theories, including pro-Trump bullshit.
The reason the COVID-19 conspiracy stuff is highlighted is because—as the article mentions in its final paragraph—that is (currently) the biggest tripping up Conservative candidates. If O’Toole is going to be consistent, and actually stand by his messaging on the pandemic, then we should expect to see these 8 candidates disciplined as well. But we all know that’s not going to happen, because if O’Toole booted out every Conservative candidate who is a raving lunatic, he won’t have enough left to have even a minority government.
 Several Conservative Candidates Directed Public Money to Canada’s Biggest Anti-Abortion Lobby Group
The group is Campaign Life Coalition, and they’re not just an anti-abortion lobby group; they’re an all-round hate group: anti-LGBTQ2S+, into COVID conspiracy theories, QAnon, and various and sundry other far-right nonsense. A previous item in this week’s Update covered how anti-abortion activists are trying to infiltrate the Conservative Party… which seems hilariously clueless because clearly the Conservative Party is already thoroughly infiltrated.
By the way, one of the candidates who funnelled money to the anti-abortion, homophobic hate group was Cathay Wagantall… the MP who created the “sex-selective abortion ban bill” that so many people fell for earlier this year. If you still believe she actually cares about women’s issues—rather than seeing it as a perfect smokescreen to slide in anti-abortion legislation—then I have a bridge to sell ya.
I know what you’re thinking, based on the headline, but this article isn’t actually about anti-vaxxer pastors. (Yes, there is one, at the end. But all of the others at least sound pro-vaccine.)
Instead, it’s a more nuanced look at the problem religious leaders are facing, specifically in Alberta, where the provincial government has pretty much abdicated its public health responsibilities. It sounds like the religious leaders are generally not opposed to the idea of requiring that everyone who comes to in-person services be fully vaccinated… they just can’t see how the logistics can work out. And it makes sense: a church isn’t like a place of employment, or a public (as in, state-owned) space. Those places have muscle behind them, so when they say “you must be vaccinated or else”… that “or else” actually has weight. What can a church do if someone shows up who has refused to vaccinate? They don’t actually have guards or anything to throw the asshole out. They can’t even practically verify that someone who claims to have been vaccinated really has been.
And these religious leaders sound concerned, because they know they can’t realistically keep the unvaccinated out, so… there’s a very high chance that the next outbreak could be in their congregation. It sounds like they really wish Jason Kenney and the UCP would show some integrity and backbone, and make rules about mandatory vaccination and then enforce them. I feel for them; it’s a tough position to be in.
Ugh, Erin O’Toole. I so rarely think about him, because he’s so intensely uninteresting, and I can’t even hate him because he’s so spineless he can’t commit to any positions, so I never know if I disagree with him on some point, or for how long.
Unfortunately, he’s been all the news this week, not least for that ghastly Willy Wonka attack ad. None of the other leaders did or said much worth mentioning in an Update item. Hopefully that will change as their campaigns mature. I’d really like to do a comparison of the party leaders from the perspective of an atheist voter. (And O’Toole is the least interesting of all the leaders, because the Conservative Party is pretty much the antithesis of what most Canadian atheists want.)
Anyway, O’Toole. He’s making the right noises now about requiring referrals for medical procedures a doctor doesn’t want to do themselves. But, as the article hilariously points out… by quoting O’Toole from a few months previously… who knows what he’ll believe in a week or two.
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