Please write today to tell the BC government not to press through its reforms to the BC Societies Act. Email firstname.lastname@example.org before the end of 15 October 2014.
Clark’s Liberal government is looking to overhaul the law that regulates over 27,000 non-profit societies, including almost every active freethought organisation in the province. Many of the reforms are likely good ideas, like allowing societies to be registered and file documents electronically; however, at least one section would potentially allow members of the public to sue non-profits if they feel they are “carrying on activities that are detrimental to the public interest.”
Given that every non-profit is already required by the same law to operate in the public interest, there seems no reason to open non-profits up to the risk of frivolous lawsuits. Vancouver community advocate Sandy Garossino believes this proposal is designed to allow the province’s oil and mining industries to sue environmental NGOs. By the same logic, religious groups could use this same clause to persecute atheist and pro-choice organisations by claiming they are a threat to “traditional values.”
Most frustratingly, the government’s White Paper has been hiding on their website for months with little notification to the thousands of non-profits that are going to be affected by this. Every organisation in the province should have been told about this consultation and given the chance to respond.
The paper is 166 pages. There is simply not enough time to know what other changes will impact non-profits in the province. A quick glance suggests extra reporting requirements and changes to what needs to be in the by-laws.
The government needs to extend the deadline for responses and seek feedback from those who are set to be affected.
Continue reading Tell Christy Clark: Don’t rush through Societies Act reforms
Any headline in the form of a question can be dismissed with the simplest answer (which is also typically no).
Case in point, a Victoria Times-Columnist blog asks “Has religion become a dirty word?” Continue reading Religion as a dirty word
Last week I meant to add a note that the Centre for Inquiry Canada has issued a press release about the fact that Pattison Outdoor Advertising had rejected their fairly inoffensive new billboard campaign in Vancouver.
A pretty slick ad that’s pretty hard to find fault with.
Continue reading So are atheists being censored in Vancouver?
During my work with the BC Humanist Association last year, we managed to help raise awareness of how the longstanding tradition of Gideon’s distributing Bibles to grade 5 students continued unabated in the Chilliwack and Abbotsford School Districts. This process continued despite the BC School Act requiring all schools be “strictly secular” and the Charter of Rights and Freedoms being widely interpreted as protecting the freedom from religion.
Nevertheless, parents in the ironically named Godson Elementary School in Abbotsford were shocked by the distribution of Bibles to their children during class time. This violates the District’s own policy, which permits the distribution of religious propaganda following a consent form.
Continue reading BC public schools continue to permit Christian Evangelism in classrooms
It must be easy to write right-wing anti-tax screeds when you don’t have to actually research any facts.
Take for example, this new piece in the Vancouver Sun which blames the local tax system for “scaring off potential businesses.”
Continue reading Vancouver too expensive, not over-taxed
Inspired by similar lists of diverse secular thinkers, I thought I’d put out there a compilation of some rising secularists – both thinkers and activists – who break the mould in British Columbia.
- Does not identify as white (i.e. Caucasian/European) and male
- Is either an active atheist/skeptic/humanist or their work demonstrates a commitment to human rights and secular values
- Was born in, lived in, or presently lives in British Columbia
Feel free to add your own in the comments. Names are alphabetical by last name. Not all of the below are officially atheist/humanist but they do show a commitment to secular values.
If you see your name below and would rather not be on this list, please email me.
Continue reading BC Secularists who aren’t white men
Tomorrow, the Canadian polysyllabic pontificator Rex Murphy will be in Vancouver recording a live episode of Cross Country Checkup on religion in public life..
The Checkup is a long-time Canadian radio talk show, designed to spark dialogue across the country.
To arrange my thoughts for the discussion, I sat down for a Google+ Hangout with Mavaddat and discussed some of the issues that might come up. You can watch the discussion below the fold.
Continue reading Religion, Politics, and Rex Murphy
Grant LaFleche, writing for the St. Catherine’s Standard, wrote a column yesterday calling on atheists to be more charitable.
It’s a common trope that atheists and Humanists don’t give as much (or frequently) as the religious. Lacking formal structures and congregations, there’s less of a culture of philanthropy, both in terms of regular tithes or even to secular charities.
However, these trends are changing.
The Foundation Beyond Belief is working with freethought groups across North America to raise money for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Light the Night Walk. As of this morning they have raised nearly $305,000 toward their goal of $500,000 – which will be matched by the Stiefel Foundation for a total gift of $1 million to fight blood cancer.
Here in Vancouver, the BC Humanist Association’s team has raised over $3,500 between our 15 team members (comprised of BCHA, Vancouver Skeptics, and UBC Freethinkers members).
Our walk is this Saturday, so if you can spare a few dollars, why not chip into my campaign. Remember that every dollar you donate is being matched and Canadian donations over $25 are eligible for a tax-receipt.
Every gift, big and small, is appreciated and helps highlight the compassion and charity we all have.
Just a quick post tonight.
On Tuesday afternoon, I’ll be on CITR’s Radio Freethinker show talking about all the latest news from the BC Humanists.
The show runs for a full hour, so if you have ideas for what I should talk about, drop them below (obviously soon so that I can be somewhat prepared).
The show will be available as a podcast afterwards and I’ll link to it here when it’s online.