Freedom of Expression

Freedom of speech is a pillar of an open and inclusive society. Criticism of religion and religious privilege requires the ability to speak freely without fear of government censorship.

We are a member of the International Coalition Against Blasphemy Laws and call upon governments around the world to repeal blasphemy laws and other laws that prevent criticism of religion. Section 296 of the Criminal Code of Canada declares that "blasphemous libel" is an indictable offence. We call on the Canadian Government to repeal this outdated blasphemy law.

 

Latest news


Blasphemy isn't just a problem in the Muslim world

Ireland’s state police recently concluded their investigation of comedian Stephen Fry, who stood accused of criminal blasphemy.  In an interview that aired on Irish public television, Fry had described God as “capricious, mean-minded, stupid,” and “an utter maniac.” And Ireland’s Defamation Act of 2009 clearly prohibits the “publication or utterance of blasphemous...

CRA recommends unmuzzling charities

The BC Humanist Association joins leading Canadian charities in applauding a report released today that calls for a regulatory and legislative overhaul "to enable charities to fully participate in public policy dialogue and development." The coalition of charities, formed in response to the political activities audits under the previous government, had...

Danish blasphemy case demonstrates risk of Canada's law

A man is facing blasphemy charges after allegedly burning a copy of the Quran for an online video posted to an anti-Islam group in December 2015. The prosecution marks the first time in 45 years that Denmark has invoked the law. The last accusations were brought against a radio station...

Justice Minister to review Canada's blasphemy law

Canada's blasphemy law is under review by the Minister of Justice and could be repealed as part of broader justice reform. Jody Wilson-Raybould made the commitment in her response to a petition signed by nearly 7500 people calling on the government to repeal section 296 (the prohibition on blasphemous libel)...

Blasphemy laws get used for political purposes

Editor's note: While Canada's latent blasphemy law isn't explicitly mentioned in this article, we must continue to fight for it's repeal as these stories highlight how, under the right political climate, it could be used to censor opposition. By Rafiqa Qurrata A'yun, University of Indonesia The Indonesian police recently named the Chinese-Indonesian...

Silenced: How non-religious charities are being censored by the CRA

The BC Humanist Association has published its submission to the Canada Revenue Agency's (CRA) online consultation on charities' political activities. Restrictions on charities political activities came under scrutiny under the previous government and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's Liberals campaigned on revising those rules. However, at its core, Canada's charity law dates...

International Blasphemy Rights Day 2016

Today is International Blasphemy Rights Day – a day to remember the publishing of the Danish Mohammed cartoons ten years ago that sparked several violent protests across the world. It’s still an important day for advocates for freedom of expression as people are still being imprisoned and murdered for criticizing beliefs and art critical of...

City of Victoria proclaims International Blasphemy Rights Day

At its council meeting yesterday, the City of Victoria agreed 3-2 to proclaim September 30, 2016 as International Blasphemy Rights Day. The BC Humanist Association requested the proclamation as part of its support for freedom of expression; however, the council did amend the proclamation to remove a section challenging the...

10 years of speaking out against Canada's blasphemy law

The petition, launched last week, is only the latest effort to repeal Canada's blasphemy law. Over the past few years, numerous columnists, civil liberties groups and legal experts have called for the law to be repealed. If you're not convinced that the law needs to go, read some of these links....

Secular organizations launch petition to repeal Canada's blasphemy law

Groups representing Humanists, atheists and secularists across Canada are calling on the Government to repeal an outdated section of the criminal code penalizing so-called “blasphemous libel.” The e-petition launched yesterday and was signed by over 1000 Canadians in the first day, more then double the minimum number required to be...

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