What’s the proper place of religion in Canada’s foreign policy? Is it in Canada’s national interest to promote religious freedom abroad? Will all religions receive equal protection? Will other types of rights have to take a back seat?
An interesting turn of events in Morinville, looks like a more acceptable public secular education option may be on the horizon after all.
In January, Hunter and Marjorie Kirsop, another Morinville parent, were rebuffed by the human rights commission. The commission refused to entertain their complaints under the controversial new parental rights clause of the human rights act. That clause gives parents the right to withdraw their children from any instruction involving religion, sexuality, or sexual orientation.
This week, however, the commission informed Hunter and three other parents, Rayann Menard, Tannis Caverly, and Carol Sparks, that their complaints are now being processed under a different part of the act: Section 4, which forbids the denial “to any person or class of persons any goods, services, accommodation or facilities that are customarily available to the public.”
Being heard, is always a good first step.
Last summer I tried to delve a little into the current situation in Turkey.
In short, Turkey is currently ruled by an elected and popular right-wing proto-Islamist party which is highly resented by the military, which has long defended the country’s secular constitution. Several times in the past the military has overthrown governments that threatened the separation of church and state.
When I wrote about it, several military leaders had gone on strike to protest the increasing number of religious-inspired laws being passed.
Now, the government has arrested 200 people including the former head of Turkey’s armed forces General Ilker Basbug, claiming that they were engaged in a conspiracy to overthrow the government. The case is now before the courts after several years of investigations.
The BBC weighs the issue and tries to balance fears from the government and people of an over-powerful military and the secularists fears of increasing Islamism.
It’s all very messy but if anyone has some insight, perhaps you can share it with us so we can piece together the whole story.
“The oath of citizenship is basically a public gesture. It is a public declaration which shows that you are joining the Canadian family and this has to be done freely and openly, not secretly,” Kenney said.
“Separating a group of Canadians or allowing that group to hide their faces while they are becoming members of our community is completely counter to Canada’s commitment to openness and social cohesion.”
The new rules will require women wishing to become Canadian citizens to show their faces at public ceremonies as they swear the oath of citizenship or remain permanent residents.
It seems cruel to welcome immigrants but then ask them to strip before a judge, especially since these public ceremonies are useless. Oaths, if necessary, should be able to be done online, by telephone, or in private.
And if showing your face at a citizenship ceremony is mandatory, what reasons are there not to expand it to everywhere else? Reasonable accommodation is a reoccuring debate within atheist circles but as someone who doesn’t see any need to ban the burqa from our streets, I can’t see why the government can outlaw them during a public ceremony. The new rules aren’t consistent. If banning the burqa is necessary for citizenship oaths, it should be banned everywhere else too.
via Toronto Star
A father accused of the “honour killings” of four family members – including his three teenage daughters – was recorded on police wiretaps saying he was “happy” they were dead and that he would “do the same again”, a Canadian court has heard.
Mohammad Shafia, 58, his second wife Tooba Mahommad Yahya, 41, and their son Hamed, 20, are on trial for the first-degree murder of Zainab Shafia, 19, Sahar Shafia, 17, Geeti Shafia, 13, and his first wife Rona Amir Mohammad, 50, in 2009.
Prosecutors told the Ontario court their deaths were “honour killings” committed to remove the perceived shame the women brought on their family, such as by having boyfriends.
Ok so normally I should write an introductory thought and lead into a quote that makes or reinforces a point I have made. Instead I am going to ask you to read that quote one more time. This time think very hard about what their father says, their Daddy. Then read the daughters names again. Think back to that age. What were you doing at those ages??? Were you running away? Were you appealing to your school or other officials to be removed from your home because you feared for your life??? Were you trying to find balance between being or dressing as the person you felt you were and trying not to enrage a hyper conservative father who you no doubt loved???
There have been 13 such killings in Canada since 2002, said Amin Muhammed, a psychiatry professor at Memorial University in Saint John’s, Newfoundland.
That is thirteen too many. Officials need to wake up and realize that we need new mechanisms in place to better react to and investigate complaints like this from females that come from traditionally hyper conservative cultural backgrounds. For my part I will be writing my MP.
OK so I am sure that Ipsos Reid, being in the business of statistics is a little more careful with their numbers, and how they portray them, than the title would suggest. Statistics can be quirky things, they can be made to say a variety of things, even the truth. No that is not my quote. The author is unknown.
Among the more recent of the US Congress’ irrational decisions comes the gem about preserving the sanctity of an unhealthy cafeteria lunch. Continue reading
Saturday is municipal election day across BC. This means dozens of people (typically around 30% per municipality) will show up and cast their ballots for mayors, councils, and school boards.
While the big issue in Vancouver has been the Occupy Vancouver tent camp set up on the steps of the Vancouver Art Gallery, in Burnaby the clash is over the school board.
This past year, members of the Burnaby School Board passed an anti-homophobic bullying policy. It generated a lot of heat from conservative religious groups who saw this policy as somehow threatening their right to raise homophobic children.
These parents felt so wronged that they formed a group called “Parents’ Voice” with the goal of taking over the Burnaby School Board. I should mention here that in addition to fireworks at Halloween, metro Vancouver is also unique for having political parties in municipal politics.
Parents’ Voice is now in more hot water for some anti-Islamic comments associated with a website linked to the party’s founder.