“Secular Humanists and Atheists Grieve with the Nation”

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Centre For Inquiry Canada’s response to the murder of Nathan Cirillo and Patrice Vincent is available on the CFIC website:

Centre for Inquiry Canada (CFIC) is appalled by the murders of Cpl. Nathan Cirillo and WO Patrice Vincent and the threat to Canadian soldiers, police officers and citizens that the murder of these soldiers implies. CFIC wishes to express its deepest grief and condolences to the families and friends of the men who lost their lives this week in these terrible acts of violence.

CFIC thanks the people who risk their lives to protect Canadians every day. House of Commons Sergeant-At-Arms, Kevin Vickers, Nathan Cirillo and Patrice Vincent are among the soldiers, police officers, reservists and other armed forces and security personnel who have risked and far too often lost their lives to protect all Canadians from violence and harm.

CFIC also extends its thanks to the bystanders, first responders and medical professionals who attempted to save the lives of Nathan Cirillo and Patrice Vincent.

“Events such as these shock and offend all people of Canada.  Secular Humanists and atheists join all Canadians in rejecting the violence and hatred promulgated by murders such as these,” said Kevin Smith, Chair, CFIC’s Board of Directors. “We value reason and a rational approach to understanding and addressing these crimes as our country investigates any immediate or deeper-seated causes.”

CFIC recommends that Canadians avoid speculation or jumping to conclusions when inquiring about these events.  As a national educational charity, CFIC promotes and provides education on the application of reasonable and rational approaches which include, skepticism, secularism and humanism.

“I urge Canadians to educate themselves on the advantages of a secular approach to governance and lawmaking in Canada,” said Veronica Abbass, Chair, CFI Canada’s Committee for the Advancement of Human Rights. “A secular government and a secular legal system contribute to protecting all Canadians from the vagaries of cultural or religious ideologies.”

Soldiers, doctors, nurses, police officers, first responders and government officials are all a part of the secular social system which protects all Canadians from harm and violence.  CFIC encourages Canadians to support and participate in this system and join CFI Canada in critically examining these incidents and their causes.

“I have communicated with many Centre For Inquiry Canada volunteers, members and supporters,” said Eric Adriaans, CFI Canada’s National Executive Director. “We share the grief, anger, confusion and distress that these crimes have created.  We also hold a deep commitment to the protection of human rights and safety which are provided by Canada’s secular governance and legal systems.”

14 thoughts on ““Secular Humanists and Atheists Grieve with the Nation”

  1. “Events such as these shock and offend all people of Canada…” said Kevin Smith…

    Statements in this vein always strike me as trite, silly, and almost certain to be simply wrong. I’m a person of Canada, and I’m definitely not shocked by the recent events in Ottawa. I suppose I’m offended, in a way, but that word wouldn’t be my first choice.

  2. Of course I agree with the sentiment. But I do agree with Corwin. What could the powers that be possibly expect to happen? Be the aggressor in another country and not imagine that people might take umbrage to that? The continued wilful ignorance of the governing party continues to not surprise.

    • That wasn’t quite my point. One can argue that Canada is acting as an aggressor in Iraq, or that we’re simply responding to aggression by ISIS, but either way we’ve been a target for jihadist types for years now. The threat may have escalated in response to Canada’s decision to attack ISIS, but it’s been there for a while, and they were bound to lay a glove on us eventually. It’s annoying as hell, but it’s not shocking.

  3. I see all similar events, like this most recent murder, to be mostly the unintended consequences of multiculturalism.
    What young Canadians need is a defining Canadian-ism.
    The United Church of Canada was an early attempt at this.
    This only included Protestant Christians of course.
    The brightest future would probably be provided by a sound public school system with unimpeded secular values.

  4. I wonder if Harper was rethinking his cancellation of the gun registry when the bullets were flying Parliament.

    • Why would he do that? If we had a gun registry it would have accomplished what exactly? After the dust had settled someone would have looked it up and said either “yup its registered” or “oh look at that, an unregistered gun”.

      • Why would he do that? If we had a gun registry it would have accomplished what exactly?

        Here is what it would have accomplished exactly:

        After the dust had settled someone would have looked it up and said either “yup its registered”…

        … which would mean we would now know where it came from, and probably would have known within hours of the attack (when it would have been very useful), instead of still being clueless about it a week later. And we would have had that information without all the time and resources that have been wasted in the investigation.

        Now maybe it would have “made no difference” because Zehaf-Bibeau just stole it from some clueless schmuck who hasn’t realized it’s gone yet… but maybe the person who gave him the gun knew full well what he was going to do with it, if not in detail at least in general. And if that were the case, then there has been a terrorist accomplice running around free for almost a week, when they could have been caught within hours.

        Even if they weren’t aware of what Zehaf-Bibeau was planning, they would still be guilty of selling a rifle to someone without a licence. Which means if we had the registry, we could have an irresponsible gun seller under arrest already.

        And even if none of that were true, and we have a case of the gun simply being stolen and not yet reported and/or sold on the black market – or even if the gun simply was never registered – so the registry would have “made no difference”, it would still have made a huge difference, because then we would at least know that much, instead of the current situation where we still know nothing despite almost a week of costly, unnecessary investigation. As it stands, we have no idea whether we should be looking for a terrorist accomplice, a criminally negligent gun owner/seller, a black market dealer, or an innocent dupe who was robbed and hasn’t realized it yet (and who should probably be informed). And we’ve wasted a week’s worth of very scare investigative resources that could have been much better spent on other things, trying to figure out what we could have known with a click of a mouse had the registry existed.

        In fact, the registry would have been such an important investigative tool that police are actually desperately trying to use the one little piece of it that hasn’t (yet) been destroyed – the Québec dataset – in the hopes that there may be a clue there.

        So, yeah, if he were a reasonable person Harper would seriously rethink the registry. But he won’t. Instead he’s going to amp up the surveillance apparatus that would have had no practical chance of catching Zehaf-Bibeau ahead of time anyway.

        • “but maybe the person who gave him the gun knew full well what he was going to do with it, if not in detail at least in general”

          It seems unlikely that a person would knowingly give a registered, traceable weapon to someone for the purposes of committing a crime. That is one of the flaws in the reasoning behind the gun registry.

          “because then we would at least know that much”

          That is some very expensive knowledge. The gun registry wasn’t cheap itself.

          • It seems unlikely that a person would knowingly give a registered, traceable weapon to someone for the purposes of committing a crime. That is one of the flaws in the reasoning behind the gun registry.

            Even if that were true, it’s a pretty weak excuse for a “flaw”; it just boils down to “the registry won’t catch ALL cases”, which no one is claiming. There’s still an admission that it WILL catch cases where the crime was not so much planned but more a crime of passion or opportunity… which, by the way, constitute the VAST majority of violent crimes. But it’s not actually true.

            Very few criminals are criminal masterminds. In fact, the VAST majority are mind-numbingly stupid. For evidence, i point you to the thousands of cases of criminals leaving their ID at the scene of a crime, making social media posts, taking pictures, returning to try the same freakishly lucky crime twice, etc.. Even if you don’t want to write it off to just plain stupidity, the reality is that to plan a “perfect crime”, there are HUNDREDS of details you have to remember to consider… forget just one and you’re caught. Police investigative competence is not as impressive as we’d like to think; a surprisingly large number of stories of how police managed to catch a criminal boil down to “the criminal did something that gave themselves away”. A gun registry gives criminals-to-be just one more thing they have to remember to take into account, and more more chance the cops have of catching them.

            And even IF a criminal were savvy enough to think to look for an unregistered weapon, they would first have to FIND an unregistered weapon, which means a trip to the black market. Unless they’re already an experienced criminal deeply familiar with their local underworld, that’s not easy to do without attracting attention. It is MUCH easier for cops to catch a criminal planning a violent crime – sometimes even before they commit it – when they’ve ALREADY committed a crime in the process of preparing for that crime (because it puts them on the cops’ radar).

            Zehaf-Bibeau in particular was not a case of diabolical genius. The dumbass tried to storm The Hill with a nineteenth century pump-action rifle. That doesn’t seem like a well thought-out plan. Do you *really* believe that whoever planned this attack had the wherewithal to consider whether the gun was registered?

            That is some very expensive knowledge. The gun registry wasn’t cheap itself.

            That was an issue of implementation, not concept. Just because it was done stupidly the first time they tried it doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be done at all. Good grief, we’ve managed to register *vehicles* for decades, and at a profit (ie, registration fees don’t just support the registry itself, they’re also used for road maintenance). There’s no reason a gun registry couldn’t also be effectively cost-free.

          • Gun Registry and gun registry enforcement are experienced only by gun owners. Police can come into your home, for totally unrelated issues, and confiscate expensive hunting rifles that they claim were improperly stored; when actuality the owner may be just working on them or just admiring them. Fines and intimidations will follow.
            Years ago I started a collection of modern bolt-action, elk-hunting rifles from the northern European countries. I spent some time, on a regular basis, setting up these fine firearms with scopes and stock adjustments as well as working on various cartridge loads and bullet weights. It is sort of an outdoor gentleman’s hobby.
            The nasty way police could use gun ownership as a away of intimidating gun owners made me reconsider this life-long enjoyable activity; at least so long as I was in Canada. (which will likely be forever)
            I really hated the stupid Liberal Party’s gun registration. It was the one of a few issues that Harper seemed to be right about, to me at least.
            I still miss shooting that Swedish Carl Gustaf 3006. I still have the reloading dies.
            Registering religious organizations is more straight forward and leaves individuals alone. What is necessary is the continual inspection of religious organizations: their activities and teachings. Disgusting intellectual harm is coming from the United States, Arabia and Europe on a regular basis.
            Since we already know everything about religious literature, that is possible to know, we could have Canadian oversight into all religious teachings. Sort of a secular pontiff Maximus. This sounds so radical doesn’t it? Bridge building is much more complex and there are ridged Canadian standards governing these activities. Same is true for medical surgeries; and so on. Crackpots and nut cases, all of them business minded, take advantage of the lack of support for our university-trained, religious-studies experts.
            Getting back to gun registry. When I bought that fine Swedish Elk (Moose in Canada) rifle there was a five dollar registration fee added to the purchase price. In British Columbia, way before the federal debacle, they were registering the original owners of all firearms. This was helpful if the rifles went missing. Helpful to the original owners at least.
            Killing people with guns or automobiles is related to the existence of these things, I get it. You can expand this list to extreme numbers without too much thought.
            Controlling social constructs (an awkward phrase admittedly) that gangs are centered around seems a more effectual crime mitigated strategy than worrying about the next assault with an unregistered grain harvester.
            By the way, that dated and rustic rifle wasn’t a ‘pump’ action rifle, it was a ‘lever’ action rifle. Cowboys and Hollywood liked them.
            I certainly agree with your outrage over harming people or animals with guns and I do understand the danger posed by religious gang members having access to these firearms. It is the same threat as criminal access to firearms. I even support the banning of civilian ownership of military weapons with devastating firepower.
            The only gun registry I’ll ever support is a law requiring all firearms be insured against loss and public liability. You would be surprised at how low the insurance rates would be. Probably less than the rate for mandatory insurance of bicycles against personal or public injury. Also it would provide adequate information for tracing stolen rifles.
            Non rifle owners will never see the gun registry the same way that rifle owners see it. The police are not going to target them because they are on some ownership list.
            While I’m at it, on this conversation about ownership types of social groupings, it must be obvious to everyone by now that the local motorcycle associations are much less worrisome than the local religious associations. I’d even go so far as to say that the local religious gangs are far more worrisome than the local motorcycle gangs. So, what, exactly, constitutes a gang?

  5. Great statement Veronica. If I have to nit-pick, I would say that this paragraph might have needed a bit more fleshing out,

    “I urge Canadians to educate themselves on the advantages of a secular approach to governance and lawmaking in Canada,” said Veronica Abbass, Chair, CFI Canada’s Committee for the Advancement of Human Rights. “A secular government and a secular legal system contribute to protecting all Canadians from the vagaries of cultural or religious ideologies,”

    lest some segment take it the wrong way or otherwise perceive it as a non sequitur, possibly even as a bit of cynical misappropriation.

    But please remember, I’m only nit-picking since that is what we seem to do here.

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