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Federal panel releases report on assisted dying

The expert panel established by the federal government last summer has delivered its final report on its consultations on physician-assisted dying, citing the BC Humanist Association's response.

After months of inaction, the previous Conservative government established the External Panel on Options for a Legislative Response to Carter v Canada in July 2015. The report does not make specific recommendations but discusses the different responses the panel received.

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Supreme Court agrees to delay assisted dying ruling

The Supreme Court of Canada agreed today to a four month extension before Canada's assisted dying law is struck down. Those in suffering today will be able to apply to a judge for permission to hasten their death in the meantime. The decision follows a request by the Liberal government for a six-month delay.

The ruling also allows Quebec's assisted dying law, which came into force in December, to go ahead.

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Questioning religious tax exemptions

Today's front-page story of the Nanaimo Daily News asks whether it's time to end the millions of dollars in property tax breaks that are given away each year to religious organizations.

Journalist Spencer Anderson reports that the City of Nanaimo alone approved $170 736 in tax relief for church properties last year. These permissive exemptions are in addition to property tax exemptions for houses of worship required by BC law.

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Expert group presents strong physician assisted dying recommendations

A new report on physician assisted dying from a provincial and territorial governments expert group echos calls the BC Humanist Association and others made earlier this year.

The report sets out a clear blueprint for how federal and provincial governments can implement last February's Supreme Court of Canada ruling that granted Canadians the right to choose a physician-assisted death.

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BC Supreme Court sides with Christian law school

The BC Supreme Court has overturned the Law Society of BC's decision to deny accreditation to a proposed law school at Trinity Western University, an evangelical private university. The Court ruled yesterday that the Law Society made procedural errors in making its final decision.

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Listen to the compassionate

On Saturday the Vancouver Sun published our letter to the editor calling on the BC and Canadian governments to stop delaying physician-assisted dying in Canada.

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Poet sentenced to death for apostasy in Saudi Arabia

The BC Humanist Association today wrote to Canada's ambassador to Saudi Arabia calling for him to join over 60 human rights and free speech organizations who are calling for Saudi authorities to release poet Ashraf Fayadh. Fayadh was sentenced to death for apostasy in a widely discredited trial.

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Langley City council rejects proposal to end religious tax exemptions

A proposal to reduce tax exemptions for religious organizations and charities in Langley City failed on Monday evening following concerted protest from local churches. Councillor Rudy Storteboom presented, for discussion, a motion that would have reduced property tax exemptions for 29 church and non-profit properties. No one seconded the motion.

Currently, the Government of BC provides automatic tax breaks on houses of worship while municipalities can create exemptions for other properties, such as parking lots. The proposal before Langley City would only have affected this latter category.

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Humanist veterans call for inclusive Remembrance Day ceremonies

Ex-military Humanists wrote to the Grandview Legion today asking for future Remembrance Day ceremonies to represent all who have served.

In a letter to the Vancouver Sun on Monday, November 16, Suzanne Salter wrote that this year's ceremony at Grandview Cenotaph included "long prayers and Christian references to the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ" but "there wasn't an attempt to include other religions into the ceremony." The ceremony was organized by the Royal Canadian Legion, Grandview Branch #179.

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BCHA joins statement calling on Canadian government to aid Bangladeshi secularists

The BC Humanist Association joins free speech organizations and writers in a joint letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau calling for urgent action to provide humanitarian assistance to secular and Humanist writers, bloggers, and academics in Bangladesh.

The letter is the latest pressure put on the Government of Canada by freethought organizations. Tareq Rahim, one of the victims of the most recent attacks, remains in hospital in Dhaka while his wife (a Canadian citizen) continues to press for him to be allowed to recover with her in Canada.

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