Supreme Court rejects appeal in Catholic sex-abuse case
In a case involving four men who were sexually abused in the 1950s at Mount Cashel orphanage operated by the Christian Brothers in St. John’s, Newfoundland, the Supreme Court of Canada has rejected the appeal from the Catholic archdiocese of St. John’s. Thus this case is finally closed after 21 years before various courts and the four men will receive compensation of some 2.6 million Canadian dollars. Their lawyers also represent some 60 other men who may sue, and many more victims may come forward.
Parliamentary petition to help atheist refugees
Several organizations – CFI Canada, Humanist Canada, and Secular Connexion Séculière – have initiated a parliamentary petition asking that atheist refugees, not just religious, be eligible for refugee status under the “Less Complex Claims” policy. This would simplify procedures for atheist refugees and accelerate claims. The petition underlines the urgency of this issue, noting that atheists are persecuted in several countries. If you are a Canadian citizen or resident, please consider signing this petition using the link below this video. If it garners at least 500 signatures, it will be presented before parliament. But thousands would be better!
- Petition e-3114, Citizenship and immigration, Parliament of Canada.
Public broadcaster criticized for lack of professional ethics
The organization Atheist Freethinkers, or AFT, with which I work, issued a press release on January 12th denouncing the decision by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, the CBC, to allow the host of a major news program to wear a hijab while on the air. The press release points out that the hijab is a banner used by Islamists to mark their territory and a symbol of the servitude of women who are trying to liberate themselves from it in several Muslim-majority countries. As a public broadcaster, the CBC should, as a matter of professional ethics, prohibit on-air news hosts from wearing partisan religious or political symbols. AFT has also lodged a complaint to that effect with the CBC Ombudsman, noting that this is a tendentious political decision by CBC management.
Resolution to grant Canadian citizenship to Raif Badawi
On January 27th the Canadian House of Commons unanimously passed a resolution, proposed by the Bloc Québécois party, asking the Minister of Immigration to grant citizenship to Raif Badawi, who has been imprisoned in Saudi Arabia since 2012, serving a ten-year term for the so-called crime of criticizing the Saudi regime and Islam. Badawi’s wife Ensaf Haidar, who lives in Sherbrooke, Quebec with the couple’s three children, reacted with joy as this resolution offers a ray of hope for her husband’s release. Mme Haidar supports secularism. In the recent court proceedings, she was a witness in support of Quebec’s secular Bill 21.