The following is a report of responses to our letter to various atheist, humanist, secularist or skeptic organizations in Canada outside Quebec, asking each about their position with respect to Quebec’s Bill 21.
Summary of Responses
|Number of Organizations Supporting Bill 21:||Zero|
|Number of Organizations Against Bill 21:||2|
|Number of Organizations Neutral or No Position:||7|
|Number of Organizations Not Responding or Unreachable:||29|
|Organization||Position on Bill 21||Comments of Respondent|
|Humanist Canada (HC)||NEUTRAL||On 2019-12-22, HC adopted a Position Statement on Bill 21.|
|British Columbia (BC) Humanist Association||AGAINST||“Whereas Humanism supports secularism in government, we believe that it must be balanced with individual free expression. Bill 21, as it stands, invokes government control over the personal clothing choices of individuals and therefore stands in opposition to Humanism’s principles; therefore, we oppose Quebec’s Bill 21.” Reiterating our opposition to Quebec’s Bill 21|
|Canadian Atheists||AWAITING POSITION||“We do not have a position on this matter at this time, but […] we will be looking into Quebec’s Bill 21 with the intention of understanding it prior to making a public statement […]”|
|Humanist Association Of Toronto||NO POSITION TAKEN||“our Community is not in consensus on this issue”|
|Atheist Society of Calgary||AWAITING POSITION||“I have sent this to our board and will get back to you with our comments.”|
|Humanist Association of London and Area (HALA)||ORGANIZATION DISBANDED||“our organization has disbanded as of December, 2019. So I can’t really give you any organizational position on your question. However, as an individual secular humanist and atheist, I’m personally opposed to the Quebec Bill 21. I think suppression of religious freedom is bad for all of us.” Rod Martin|
|Canadian Secular Alliance||AGAINST||“The Canadian Secular Alliance does not support Bill 21, just as we did not support Bill 60 back in 2013-14.
We define secularism as the strict government neutrality in matters of religion.[…] But we also support the liberty of the individual to hold whatever religious worldview they wish. This is a key distinction.
In our view, religious symbols bans are excessive and unnecessary in most areas of public employment. Permitting a religious symbol to be worn by an employee is not the equivalent of government advancing that religious worldview.[…] the premise that doctors, teachers or most generic civil service positions cannot be performed properly by someone wearing a turban, headscarf or yarmulke is a big stretch to us.”
|Secular Connexion Séculière||NO POSITION||“The subscribers to Secular Connexion Séculière are of many opinions or shades of opinion regarding Bill 21 ranging from outright rejection to acceptance with some conditions. Given this, SCS has no official position on Bill 21.” Doug Thomas, President and Ontario Advocate, SCS|
|Grey Bruce Humanists||NO POSITION||“As an organization, we do not take a group position and leave it to each individual member to make their own decision, based on ethical and rational reasoning.” Ruth Henrich|
Organizations which did not respond
- Brantford Freethinkers
- Central Ontario Humanist Association
- Centre For Inquiry (CFI) Canada
- CFI Canada Halifax
- Comox Valley Humanists
- Freethinkers of UBC
- Greater Toronto Area (GTA) Humanist Community
- Humanist Association Of Ottawa
- Humanists, Atheists & Agnostics Of Manitoba
- Humanists of Scarborough
- Laurier Freethought Alliance
- London Skeptics
- Ontario Humanist Society
- Ottawa Skeptics
- Quinte Secular Humanist Association
- Society of Edmonton Atheists
- Society of Ontario Freethinkers
- Sudbury Humanist Association
- Sunshine Coast Atheists
- Thunder Bay Humanists
- Victoria Secular Humanist Association
- Winnipeg Skeptics
- YYJ Skeptics
Organizations for which our message was undeliverable
- Halton-Peel Humanist Community
- Simon Fraser University (SFU) Skeptics
- Society of FreeThinkers – Guelph Campus Atheists
- Society of Secular Humanists in Calgary
- Vancouver Skeptics
- Windsor Humanist Society
Well, the winners are… the non-commitment ones. I guess we may look at this as an encouraging result, since we could have expected a massive reject. As for the few who express this reject, it is obvious that they’re all commited to the religion of individual rights as the number one value (the contemporary golden veal).
I particularly appreciate the Canadian Atheists answer.: the most rational one in case of uncertainty., on my view.
I disagree completely with your optimism. I find that some of the “Neutral” responses (although not all) are as obnoxious as the two who oppose Bill 21.
If there really were a movement for secularism in Canada outside Quebec, then the majority of organizations would have responded to our letter and would have supported Bill 21. Instead, we have the complete opposite.