Religious freedom benefits everyone

But hard secularism and the marginalization of some Canadians are reducing our deep pluralism and chipping away at our freedoms

Religious freedom benefits everyoneIt’s a safe bet that Asia Bibi – a Christian woman recently acquitted of blasphemy charges in Pakistan but still facing mob violence – would say religious freedom makes Canada a better country. Indeed, it’s because Canada enjoys religious freedom that this country may even grant her asylum. Chances are that Muslim Rohingyas fleeing Burma or…

Make room for religious diversity in the workplace

Banning Quebec frontline civil servants from wearing religious symbols would show obstinate and dangerous secularism

Make room for religious diversity in the workplaceBanning Quebec frontline civil servants from wearing religious symbols, as premier-designate François Legault intends to do, would be socially regressive. Imposing this kind of flinty and obstinate secularism squashes the very diversity most politicians claim to value and support. It’s also out of step with the growing awareness among the business community that religious diversity…

Denying TWU’s bid for a law school was the right decision

But why were so many provincial law societies silent in the face of clear LGBTQ discrimination?

Denying TWU’s bid for a law school was the right decisionIn a society that prizes the rights and freedoms guaranteed to us by our Constitution, sorting through what to do when rights collide can be challenging. The Supreme Court of Canada recently dealt with that very issue. The Supreme Court protected the dignity of LGBTQ people in Canada and the integrity of the legal profession…

Freedom of religion disappearing in Canada

What we have in its place is a gospel of the secular, as interpreted by unelected judges and a feminist prime minister

Freedom of religion disappearing in CanadaFreedom of religion is guaranteed to all Canadians in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The Charter has taken two major blows recently – one from a policy change implemented by the federal government, the second from the Supreme Court of Canada. The first blow came when the government announced that any group wishing to…

Compelled speech compromises basic rights

If the Canada Summer Jobs precedent holds, soon other government agencies will mix public funds and political preferences

Compelled speech compromises basic rightsIn a crucial free speech ruling recently, the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed that the constitution in that country prohibits forcing people to say what they don’t believe. Here in Canada, a young Ottawa lawyer upped the ante recently by filing a Federal Court lawsuit arguing that our Charter of Rights and Freedoms protects the right…

Conform or else: the Trudeau government’s dictat on free speech

Is it overreach for governments to expect people to bow to official policy in all things? After all, we elected them to lead us

Conform or else: the Trudeau government’s dictat on free speechThe federal government has initiated a new ideological vetting of applicants for its summer job program for students. The organizations nominating students for summer grants, and the students and their parents, must declare that they conform to government of Canada policy. An unusual number of students have been rejected by the government. Considerable adverse comment…

Will the Supreme Court uphold our liberty to dissent?

The Trinity Western University case represents one of the most important religious freedom decisions of the past 20 years

Will the Supreme Court uphold our liberty to dissent?On Friday, the Supreme Court of Canada will release its ruling in the Trinity Western University case. Until the judgment is made public, of course, no one knows which way the court might swing. For all who’ve tracked the dispute’s progress through the legal process, however, it stands to be among the most important religious…

The hollow gestures of an overreaching government

The Trudeau government’s aspirations to mandate equality, diversity and inclusion must be open for discussion, not just blindly accepted

The hollow gestures of an overreaching governmentI seem to have a penchant for seeking out protests – not necessarily to participate but to observe, to soak in the screams, the worn-out chants, the always amusing soundbite slogans. This particular demonstration, while not well attended, took place in front of the Supreme Court of Canada. The “anti-capitalist” rally and march in support…

No-go zones around abortion clinics are unconstitutional

Free societies don’t dictate the correct answers to difficult questions, nor protect people from discomfort over their choices

No-go zones around abortion clinics are unconstitutionalAlberta Health Minister Sarah Hoffman recently claimed that banning peaceful anti-abortion protests near abortion clinics is not about freedom of expression. Yet she has also expressed confidence that her new law would withstand a constitutional challenge. By speaking of a constitutional challenge, it seems that she knows that this new law tramples on free expression…

The modern quest for equality sacrifices freedom

In societies where economic equality exists, individual liberty is highly restricted. Communism is the perfect example

The modern quest for equality sacrifices freedomEquality is one of the hallowed values of the post-Enlightenment west. It's celebrated in the French revolutionary slogan, “Liberty, Equality, Fraternity,” and in the American Declaration of Independence, which asserts that it is “self-evident” that “all men are created equal,” as well as that all men have “inalienable Rights” such as “Liberty.” The Canadian Charter of…

Why churches don’t pay taxes

It’s a matter of recognizing that the church is not ultimately subject to the sovereignty of the state

Why churches don’t pay taxesJERUSALEM – A combustible dispute over property taxes led to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem being closed in protest for three days. The mayor of Jerusalem, without notice or consultation, slapped tax arrears assessments on church properties not used for worship, including the vast number of guesthouses that welcome pilgrims visiting the…

Using student job funding to silence critics

The Liberals’ latest decision means summer employment is now a testing ground for ideological adhesion, obedience and purity

Using student job funding to silence criticsIt’s tough work to imagine two groups more radically different than the Canadian Council of Christian Charities and the gays rights network LGBTory. So when both join the rising chorus opposing changes to what should be among Ottawa’s most innocuous programs, it’s a signal something significant is going on. The Four Cs, as the council…

Score one for religious freedom

Proposed amendments to Bill C-51 mean MPs understand that religious services and sacred spaces aren’t the same as any other public gathering

Score one for religious freedomSometimes Parliament works just the way the textbooks say it’s supposed to. Take for example the way the House of Commons justice committee dealt with Bill C-51, which aims to erase “outdated” parts of the Criminal Code. The committee held hearings. Government and opposition MPs listened to and questioned those who came to testify. Then…

Why Payette was right – and dead wrong

At the core of both science and religion is the human desire to understand that which eludes us, and to make sense of life

Why Payette was right – and dead wrongCanadian Gov. Gen. Julie Payette recently pitted science and religion against each other when she implied that science is rational and religion irrational. While many share this view, I find it narrow and simplistic. Both science and religion shed meaning on human experience, and both play a role in shaping the world. Both are tools…

Criminal Code changes put sacred spaces at risk

The federal government needs to affirm the importance of freedom of religion and conscience by preserving Section 176

Criminal Code changes put sacred spaces at riskIn June, Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould tabled in the House of Commons omnibus legislation to amend the Criminal Code and Department of Justice Act. One of Bill C-51’s provisions should concern Canadians for what it proposes and says about the value we place on religious freedom and our understanding of sacred space. The bill would…