The editor of Canadian Atheist has named the BC Humanist Association's Executive Director Ian Bushfield as the 2020 Canadian Atheist "Person of the Year." The award goes to the person "who had the greatest positive impact in Canadian secularism, humanism, atheism and freethought in 2019."
Canadian Atheist describes itself as an independent blog by Canadian atheists, secularists, humanists and freethinkers. The awards are run by editor Mark Gibbs who solicited input and submissions for nominees from readers. Bushfield was one of the blog's first contributors and still occasionally writes for the publication.
Gibbs chose Bushfield based on the BCHA's successes in 2019 and Bushfield's contribution to building an effective secular movement.
The British Columbia Humanist Association had an amazing year in 2019. I’m not even close to the first person to note that. Hell, they’ve had an amazing decade, as they noted themselves when they listed their accomplishments during the 2010s – most of which would also make up the list of the biggest secular, humanist, atheist, or freethought victories across Canada during the period.
Bushfield hasn’t just been managing the BCHA though an ungodly number of major and minor successes. He has been working to build an atheist (and secularist and humanist) community that is effective: strong, able to effect change, and – perhaps most importantly – welcoming to those who haven’t been traditionally given voices.
Other British Columbian nominees included journalist Bethany Lindsay, whose coverage of dangerous pseudoscience is credited with leading to a review of the province's Health Professions Act, and Byron Wood, who fought successfully for secular addictions treatment options for healthcare professionals in Vancouver Coastal Health.
On how the awards were decided, Gibbs writes:
Ultimately, I am the sole and final judge for the nominations and award, and I freely admit that the final decision is heavily tainted by my own opinions and biases. But I do at try to capture the feelings of Canadian Atheist readers. I certainly believe I have done so in this case: Ian Bushfield was the most suggested winner by our readers, via emails, private messages, comments, and so on. If that’s really the will of the community, then I certainly find their decision to be in the best taste, and I wholeheartedly agree.
Read the full article for more on why Gibbs chose to recognize our Executive Director, as well as each of the nominees.