Successes Great and Small

August 14, 2023 - 12:00 am

Supporting Individuals – SCS intervened when the local branch of a national bookstore refused display and signing space for the author of Why Men Made God because it was “too controversial.” SCS wrote a letter to the manager, who escalated it to her district manager, who told the manager to allow the author to display and sell her books. The district manager describe it as a “teaching moment.”

Municipal Scene 1 – A non-believer asked for help when local officials had installed a nativity scene in the municipal office building. SCS wrote to the contacts he provided explaining how this was offensive. No response was received, but the nativity scene did not appear the next year.

Municipal Scene 2 – Based on the 2015 S.C.C. decision (Mouvement Laïque Québécois v. City of Saguenay), SCS ensured that local municipalities stopped opening their meetings with prayer. One mayor thought the ruling applied only to Québec, but referred it to lawyers who agreed with SCS. Moments of silence to open municipal council meetings ensued.

Federal Advocacy 1In response to SCS’ e-3638 petition, The Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship confirmed that atheist/apostate refugees can access the Less Complex Claims refugee policy reducing hearings and delays. SCS contacted all Canada’s refugee officers and made sure they know this. We also made international groups assisting atheist/apostate refugees aware of this.

Federal Advocacy 2 – SCS wrote a letter of concern to the Minister of Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship regarding the discrepancy in wait times between refugees from Eastern Europe and atheist/apostate refugees from Pakistan and Bangladesh. We highlighted the case of an atheist refugee who had full sponsorship in Canada, but had waited for almost two years for final approval to enter Canada. An official responded, saying nothing could be done. The refugee in question had been granted final entry into Canada five days earlier.

Federal Advocacy 3 – When SCS learned that the Canada School of Public Service often opened training sessions with a prayer, we wrote a letter of concern to the Principal of the school. The Principal claimed the prayer was a one-time special acknowledgement of aboriginal culture, even though our source indicated that it was common practice. SCS has had no confirmation that the illegal practice has ceased.

In Our Schools –The grandmother of an elementary school student emailed SCS with a concern that after-school religious classes were being advertised and sponsored by a public school causing her grandchild to bend to peer pressure. SCS wrote the principal of the school pointing out that the practice denied students their right to freedom from religion. The principal escalated the issue to a superintendent who wrote to SCS informing us that she had visited the school, had seen the promotional materials, and had instructed the principal to remove them immediately.