Latest Updates

In defence of dignity and bodily autonomy

Progressives are still reeling at yesterday's report from POLITICO about a leaked draft majority decision from the Supreme Court of the United States. That decision, from conservative Justice Samuel Alito, would overturn Roe v Wade and lead to the near instant criminalization of abortion in as many as half of the states. The draft has been thoroughly condemned by many groups, including our Humanist allies at Americans United, American Humanist Association and Center for Inquiry.

Canada's legal restrictions on abortion were struck down in 1988 following the fights by activists and former Humanist Canada president Dr Henry Morgentaler. Nevertheless, the potential American ruling is rippling through Canada, raising the spectre that abortion rights could one day be under similar threat here.

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MAID Statutory Review: Dignity in Life - Dignity in Death

A special parliamentary committee reviewing medical assistance in dying (MAID) has the chance to advance the hard-won rights of Canadians to choose a dignified life or death according to submissions made by the BC Humanist Association today.

The Special Joint Committee on Medical Assistance in Dying, consisting of Members of Parliament and Senators, is in the process of completing a statutory review of MAID following the passage of Bill C-7 last year. That bill, which was prompted by a Quebec court ruling, expanded MAID eligibility beyond those at end of life.

The bill tasked a committee with a comprehensive review of MAID issues, "including but not limited to issues relating to mature minors, advance requests, mental illness, the state of palliative care in Canada and the protection of Canadians with disabilities."

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Parliamentary Prognostication Performance Proves Prayers are Past their Prime

Reviewing the predictions made one year ago today in the gaia shattering report, Separation of Religion and Government in Retrograde, the spiritual researchers of the BC Humanist Association have concluded that they achieved a 98.2% accuracy with their astrological prognostications. This unrivaled success puts all other forms of divination to shame and suggests the practice of beginning sittings with 'prayers and reflections' is clearly outdated.

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Humanist values in response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine

The Board of the BC Humanist Association has released the following statement in response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine last month.

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Seven Manitoba municipalities defy law, continue prayers at council meetings

In its latest report, the BC Humanist Association (BCHA) documents seven municipalities that have opened council meetings with prayers, seemingly in open violation of an edict from the Supreme Court of Canada. Three of those municipalities, including the City of Winnipeg, begin every council meeting with a prayer. One additional municipality, the Rural Municipality of West St Paul, discontinued its practice of daily prayers following a request by the BCHA.

In its 2015 decision in MLQ v Saguenay, the Supreme Court of Canada unequivocally determined that prayers at municipal council meetings violated the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Specifically, prayers said at city council breached the state's duty of religious neutrality and violated the freedom of conscience and religion of non-religious residents. The Court found that "even if [a prayer] is said to be inclusive, it may nevertheless exclude non-believers."

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It's time to end prayers in the BC Legislature

To coincide with the release of the second edition of its Legislative Prayers Across Canada report, the BC Humanist Association is launching a renewed call to end the practice of starting sittings in the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia with prayers.

The new edition of the report reflects a change made by the Nova Scotia Legislature in October to begin each day with a 'moment of silent reflection.' Previously the Speaker read a version of the Lord's Prayer before MLAs began the day's proceedings.

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Legislative Prayer Across Canada

In the second edition of Legislative Prayer Across Canada, we update our original report to include the move in October 2021 by Nova Scotia to replace its practice of beginning sittings with the Lord's Prayer with a moment of silent reflection. We will continue to update the report in the future as other legislature amend their practices.

Canada is often viewed as a diverse and multicultural country. Multiculturalism and ‘freedom of conscience and religion’ are enshrined in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. From this, the Supreme Court of Canada has established that Canada is a secular country through what has been called the state’s duty of religious neutrality. Nevertheless, legislative assemblies across Canada continue to begin each day’s sitting with a prayer, which is most often Christian in nature.

Here we provide an overview of the diverse practices that surround legislative prayer across Canada today.

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2021 in Review

This past year has continued to be one of unprecedented challenges as we’ve learned how to adjust to the “new normal” of COVID-19, extreme natural disasters, the ongoing legacy of residential schools and the continued rise of reactionary nationalism.

However, as a community, the BC Humanist Association’s (BCHA) staff, board and members have continued to meet these challenges with compassion, morality, and scientifically-backed reason.

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"No religious dogma or creed is to be taught in a school"

Despite inflammatory headlines suggesting otherwise, the rules of the School Act and policies of the Vancouver School Board apply to student clubs in public Vancouver high schools.

That was the message that was delivered to students at Eric Hamber Secondary who recently founded a Catholic students club.

On November 15, BC Catholic reported that grade 11 student Timothy Que had launched a Catholic Club, "to help people get holier and teach the teachings of the Catholic Church.” On December 2, the publication alleged that officials had "slapped restrictions" on the club.

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Conversion practices ban becomes law in Canada

The BC Humanist Association is joining members and allies of the LGBTQ2S+ community in celebrating the historic passage of a ban on conversion therapy and practices.

After multiple previous bills failed to clear the legislative hurdles in Parliament, Senators today unanimously granted the bill second and third readings. This followed a similar unanimous motion in the House of Commons that allowed the bill to be fast-tracked through the usual processes.

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