Weekly Update: to

Here’s your Canadian Atheist Weekly Update for to .

[A bar chart of 2014-2015 reported hate crime statistics from Statistics Canada.]

2014 – 2015 hate crime statistics

  • [] Canada supports a ‘values’ test. But not the values of the far right.

    I’ve been saying since Kellie Leitch first crawled out from the seedy underbelly of the Conservative ranks that if there were really such thing as a “Canadian values test”, Leitch and her supporters would be among the first to fail it. Well now, amusingly, the data has borne me out. Granted, one has to be cautious interpreting the data, because what most Canadians mean by “Canadian values” is not the same thing as the dog whistle used by Leitch. While Leitch is talking about policing opinions, the “Canadian values” most Canadians actually want are simply respect for the law and international standards of human rights… which the immigration process already checks for.

  • [] Hamilton teacher at forefront of challenge against separate school funding

    Profiles of the litigants of Reva Landau’s new legal challenge against the separate school system in Ontario.

  • [] B.C. man facing terror charges cheered 2014 Quebec, Ottawa attacks

    Unsurprisingly, none of the usual “freeze peach” advocates who usually jump to defend someone who “joked” about doing something terrible are stepping up to defend Hamdan.

  • [] Quebec tables bill that cracks down on illegal schools

    The “crackdown” is really just about making sure anything that calls itself a school is actually meeting provincial education standards.

  • [] Terrorists are misogynists first: Mallick

    This idea didn’t originate with Mallick, and has been rumbling quietly about the Internet for some time now. Here’s my own take on it: Whenever a terrorist attack happens, we tend to immediately jump to the attacker’s religious justifications. But is that really the best place place to default to? Because the evidence is growing and growing that religion is not actually what motivates violent radicals; it’s not completely irrelevant to the equation, but it’s not the primary factor. (As an example in this very Weekly Update, there’s an item about the case of Othman Hamdan from BC, who is on trial for advocating murder, who just loves Daesh and their methods, and who rants about martyrdom… except that Hamdan apparently never set foot in a mosque in his area; the Muslim community there had no idea who he was.) There is, however, one factor that virtually all violent radicals share: misogyny. The data shows that rather starkly; very few perpetrators of violent attacks were all that pious or religious before their attacks, while virtually all were virulently misogynist (and usually held other backward opinions, such as being homophobic, but let’s focus on the misogyny aspect for now). And once you set misogyny as the focus, rather than faith, suddenly a much larger and clearer pattern emerges: now you can not only start to understand the usual Islamist radical set, but the same pattern also works for understanding other types of violent radicals – everyone from Marc Lépine to alt-right inspired wackaloons like the Québec mosque shooter. More broadly, if you set toxic masculinity in general as the focus (which, naturally, includes misogyny, homophobia, and so on), suddenly the picture becomes crystal clear. Now it’s true that misogyny (and its cohorts, such as homophobia) usually have their roots in religion… but not always, and it doesn’t make sense to fixate on the less direct cause rather than on the more direct one. So maybe next time a violent event occurs, rather than asking “what’s his religion?” (and yes, I used “his” deliberately), we should ask instead how he felt about women.

  • [] Do We Still Need The Catholic School System in Mississauga and Ontario?

    Some nice historical background on how the separate Catholic school system in Ontario came to be.

  • [] COMMENTARY: At long last, Canada’s blasphemy law is dead

    I’ve had to repeat this to a few over-eager people, so I’ll repeat it here: No, the blasphemy law is not dead. It is, however, on its death bed. There is a good chance it will be dead by end of year… but there is also a real chance that it might be derailed. Now is not the time to get complacent; now would be the worst time to get complacent.

  • [] Doctors seek clarity on who gets medical help in dying

    When the Liberals decided to thumb their nose at the Supreme Court’s recommendations in the Carter decision, they took it upon themselves to instead put together a coherent law that respected everyone’s rights. It is an almost universally held opinion that they failed miserably. Now the fallout is that no one can really figure out what the Liberals’ mealy-mouthed, vague, and illogical legislation actually means.

  • [] Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin to retire from Supreme Court of Canada

    Beverley McLachlin is a Canadian icon. She was the first woman appointed to position of Chief Justice, by Chrétien in 2000, and at 18 years she has been the longest serving Chief Justice by almost four years. Her tenure has basically shaped the character of Canadian law, bringing both reason and compassion to the Court; if there is one reason why Canadians have been spared the clown show of a Supreme Court that our neighbours to the south are dealing with, that reason would be McLachlin. She has been an enormous friend to Canadian secularists, humanists, atheists, and freethinkers, solely by virtue of just being so damn good at her job. McLachlin will retire in December; Trudeau has not yet nominated her replacement.

  • [] Ontario Catholic high schools shouldn’t press students to study religion: settlement

    A lot of people are spreading this item around as if it were a new decision, but it’s not. Students have always been able to opt out of religion classes. What’s been happening, though, has been that Catholic schools have simply ignored the law and lied to students and parents, not telling them that they could get an exemption, or in some cases, telling them that if they got an exemption they would be barred from other things, like extra-curricular activities and graduation ceremonies, or just generally throwing up a bevy of roadblocks to the process of getting an exemption. This case was simply about a student who wouldn’t accept the bullshit or the bullying, and took it to the Human Rights Tribunal. And even though the school board tried to avoid a ruling by using a settlement, the Human Rights Tribunal thought the problem was serious enough and widespread enough that they needed to bring the hammer down, so part of the settlement requires the Ontario Catholic School Trustees’ Association to make damn sure all the Catholic school boards know that they can’t stand in the way of students’ legal right to be exempted. In other words, this is not really a new decision, it’s just the legal system getting fed up with Catholic school boards for not abiding by the law.

  • [] Facts on which top court struck down assisted dying ban no longer relevant: feds

    In 2015 the Supreme Court struck down the ban on medical assistance in dying, and provided a clear and comprehensive framework for what a Charter-friendly assisted dying law might look like. The Liberals ignored their recommendations, and drafted their own law, which pleased nobody, and which is now being challenged in multiple cases. One of the most frustrating challenges is this one from BC, because it involves two people who are suffering horribly, but not from a disease that is likely to kill them on its own; they can live for years, albeit in suffering and misery. The 2015 Carter case was named after Kay Carter, who was in a similar position; she, too, was suffering horribly, but not from a disease that was likely to kill her on its own. So by what logic is the government arguing a case that any reasonable person would say they’ve already lost? Their position, to put it bluntly, is this: since Kay Carter didn’t live long enough to reach the Supreme Court deliberations on her case, her case doesn’t count in the decision… only the case of her co-litigant, Gloria Taylor, who was suffering from a disease that would kill her, counts.

  • [] Derek Smith: Religious doctors who don’t want to refer patients for assisted dying have launched a hopeless court case

    A very nice overview of what Ontario’s effective referral policy actually requires, and why the court case against it is doomed to fail.

  • [] Let’s call child sexual abuse in the church what it is: Catholic extremism

    This is in the same vein of the Mallick editorial suggesting we change our focus away from the religious roots of terrorists, and instead focus on the influence of toxic masculinity. In this case, Kristina Keneally suggests going the other way: Rather than blaming sexual abuse by clergy on the depravity of the individual perpetrators, let’s recognize the pattern and call it what it is. After all, if it were just a problem of individual perpetrators, why is the issue so widespread? And of course, we can’t forget all the efforts the Catholic Church undertook to protect the abusers. We can’t chalk all this up to “a few bad apples”. This is clearly a systemic problem in the Catholic Church, one in which the Church itself is undeniably complicit… so why not call it a Catholic problem? Why not call the abusers “Catholic extremists”?

  • [] Police-reported hate crimes, 2015

    This is a troubling report. Hate crimes rose by 5% in 2015 (and that was before the rise of the alt-right), and in particular, hate crimes against Muslims rose by 61%. Even worse, violent hate crimes (as opposed to hate crimes that don’t involve violence, like graffiti and such) rose by 15%.

  • [] Religion increasingly seen as doing more harm than good in Canada: Ipsos poll

    I wasn’t able to access the actual survey – got a Red Hat Apache “test” page instead – and the only outlet reporting it seems to be Global News. It’s probably legit, but I can’t really comment on it without more info. When I get more information, I’ll probably write about it.

  • [] Catholic boards hope to raise $250,000 for Theodore ruling appeals

    This is to appeal the Saskatchewan ruling that non-Catholic students cannot receive public funding for attending Catholic schools. They should have no problem raising the funds, though; by now the Catholics must be old hands at raising cash to fight court cases.

  • [] Legislation, apology coming for past wrongs against LGBTQ: Trudeau

    This is certainly long overdue: an apology for Canada’s past (and still current!) laws against homosexuality and related stuff (like anal sex), and clearing the criminal records of people charged under those laws. That’s all good, but there’s still so much more the government should be doing. In particular, Bill C-39, which would repeal the anal sex law, has been stalled since March.

  • [] Alberta Christian school worried school division could ban Bible verses

    File this under “amusing, but really shouldn’t be a thing”. Basically, a Christian school made up a handbook for students that included 1 Corinthians 6:9–10: “Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.” This is the King James translation, but other translations spell out what is meant by “effeminate” and “abusers of themselves with mankind”: homosexuals. It’s an open question as to why that verse what chosen in particular, but whatever. The school district raised concerns that the verse might trigger a human rights complaint… and the school fuh-reaked, fearing that the district would “censor the Bible”. They had a meeting about it, but they’re still no closer to a resolution.

  • [] Yukon passes trans-rights bill

    Just before the mostly-Conservative Senate pulled its head out of its collective ass and passed C-16, Yukon became the last Canadian province or territory to add protections for gender identity and expression.

  • [] Bill C-16: An Act to amend the Canadian Human Rights Act and the Criminal Code

    The gender identity/expression nondiscrimination bill finally – after much stalling by the mostly-Conservative Senate – passed its final vote. All it needs to become law is to receive Royal Assent, which is really just a formality.

  • [] Dual Canadian citizens will no longer lose citizenship if convicted of terrorism under new bill

    One of the worst of the Harper-era laws was a law that would strip Canadian citizenship from people convicted of terrorism. It’s astonishing that such a stupid law passed in the first place. First of all, stripping citizenship in such a way almost certainly contravenes international law. But more importantly, how callously irresponsible is it to simply wash our hands of terrorism like that, as if it’s not also a Canadian problem.

  • [] Day 3: Court challenge to the CPSO’s policy of effective referral for assisted dying

    Dying with Dignity Canada chronicles the three days of arguments in the case regarding Ontario’s “effective referral” policy.

  • [] Edmonton woman says she lost $80,000 to ‘astrologer’ she met on Kijiji

    I suppose I should feel bad for the fraud victim, but damn reading the shit she actually paid for is hilarious.

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9 thoughts on “Weekly Update: to

  1. Terrorists are misogynists first: Mallick

    The article states quite blatantly: “For this is what the killers have in common: they are men.”

    This is a surprising statement, given that it is evidently clear that a large portion of suicide bombers have been women. The one I remember most clearly being the Afghani Doctor who grabbed her CIA interrogator’s gun in the interrogation room in Afghanistan and proceeded to shoot him as well as two or three other soldiers in the building, 10 or so years ago.

  2. More broadly, if you set toxic masculinity in general as the focus (which, naturally, includes misogyny, homophobia, and so on), suddenly the picture becomes crystal clear.

    I wouldn’t be so simplistic. If you want to talk about toxic masculinity then you are getting into all types of balls of wax. Militarism, armies, colonialism, economic hedgemony, social systems, state level coercions…blah blah blah.

    Definitely gets very hairy very quickly in my view.

    Not some cute little exercise in exoneration and who gets to receive it.

  3. “Unsurprisingly, none of the usual ‘freeze peach’ advocates who usually jump to defend someone who ‘joked’ about doing something terrible are stepping up to defend Hamdan”

    That’s funny. I would have expected the anti-Islamophobia people to be all over this. It’s really their issue. You won’t find many free speech advocates defending the promotion of terrorism. (Although the case can be made that it helps monitor terrorists).

  4. “toxic masculinity”

    There is no such thing, and the concept is profoundly sexist.

  5. So, if terrorism is all about misogyny, how do you explain the female terrorists? Are they all self-hating women? Or are they all under the mind-control of men?

    How do you explain terrorism that comes form the left, such as the Weather Underground? What about “Day Without A Woman” feminist Rasmea Yousef Odeh, a convicted terrorist herself? What about the German feminist terrorist group Rote Zora? Or this summer’s feminist bombing of a bishop’s conference in Mexico? Oh, we conveniently forget that… right? They don’t fit the narrative, so we just ignore them.

  6. “Canadians have been spared the clown show of a Supreme Court”

    Hardly. We just have a different sort of clown show. Rather than political divisions, our court is more of a random-number generator. The decisions would make more sense if authored by feral cats.

  7. “there’s still so much more the government should be doing”

    In particular, we need to move on to liberating other taboo sexual practices. Gay people like myself benefited from playing the “equality” card, but the true nature of rights is “liberty”, and that applied to a much wider variety of people who are still suffering.

  8. “Senate pulled its head out of its collective ass”

    It most certainly did not. It could have amended C-16 to make clear that this genocide-prevention bill (no, seriously, they really think they’re preventing a genocide) will in no way limit biology professors and evolutionists and other experts and educators in their fields in discussing human sex and sexuality. They didn’t, leaving it to the courts and tribunals to now figure this out.

    We have seen time and again that people raise legitimate concerns about bills that they are assured will have no negative effects (“if you like your health insurance, you can keep it”) and then when the bill becomes law, surprise surprise. The Senate is supposed to be the house of so-called “sober second thought”, but all I saw go on during the hearings was grandstanding and bloviating, primarily by “liberals”.

  9. “stripping citizenship in such a way almost certainly contravenes international law”

    Who cares? There is no international parliament we elect to write these laws. They are invalid.

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