Freedom of Religion Tag

27 Jun 2017 LN Feature: Disrupting Church Services

ARPA's Director of Law and Policy, André Schutten As we told you a few months ago on Lighthouse News, the federal government is making a move to eliminate so-called “zombie laws”. These are essentially old laws which are no longer in effect. The most common reason for their obsolescence is that they’ve been struck down by the court. While those laws are technically still on the books, they have become unenforceable, so they need to be removed to reflect that reality. But earlier this month, the federal Liberals introduced a second...

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26 Jun 2017 Will Bill C-51 permit protests in church services?

Take Action: Send an EasyMail letter to share your concerns about Bill C-51 with your MP   Did you know that Canada’s Criminal Code (section 176) prohibits obstructing a “clergyman or minister” from “celebrating divine service or performing any other function in connection with his calling” or disturbing “an assemblage of persons met for religious worship”? That prohibition might not be there for long. A new government bill, Bill C-51 (which has passed its second reading and has been referred to committee), would delete these prohibitions from the Code. Would that mean removing legal protection for churches...

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23 May 2017 LN Feature: Confusing the roles of Church and State

ARPA Canada lawyer, John Sikkema The Supreme Court of Canada has agreed to hear a case that has profound implications for the legal relationship between Church and State. It involves church discipline and centres on the question of whether someone who has been disciplined by a church can appeal that discipline in the secular court system. ARPA is looking at filing for intervenor status in this case and lawyer John Sikkema is busy this week studying what it would take to file that application. LN: So give me some background on this case. I...

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25 Apr 2017 A useless amendment masquerading as a bold defence of religious freedom

ARPA Canada lawyer, John Sikkema Ontario’s opposition PC Party has proposed an amendment to Bill 89; the Liberal government’s move to re-write the laws around child protection, adoption, and foster parenting. The bill has prompted a lot of concern that parental rights - particularly around freedom of religion - are being ignored. To fix that, the PC Party of Ontario has proposed an amendment to the Bill; the addition of three words: “creed includes religion.” The term “creed” is part of a long list of attributes that are spelled out; qualities...

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10 Apr 2017 Urgent Action: Bill 89 – Final Committee review this week

Take Action: Send an EasyMail letter to share your concerns with your MPP    The Standing Committee on Justice Policy will do a “line by line” review of Bill 89 this Thursday, April 13. This is the last opportunity for Committee members to propose amendments. In our written submission to the Committee, ARPA included a list of ten proposed amendments, but now that it’s “crunch time”, we need to focus on just two (below). In case you are not familiar with Ontario’s Bill 89, it would replace the current Child and Family Services Act, which...

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23 Feb 2017 M-103: A threat to free speech or much ado about nothing?

By John Sikkema Iqra Khalid, Member of Parliament for Mississauga, tabled her Private Member’s Motion, M-103, in December, 2016. The motion calls on the House of Commons to: (a) recognize the need to quell the increasing public climate of hate and fear; (b) condemn Islamophobia and all forms of systemic racism and religious discrimination and take note of House of Commons’ petition e-411 and the issues raised by it; and (c) request that the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage undertake a study on how the government could (i) develop a whole-of-government approach to reducing or...

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21 Feb 2017 M-103 Debate

MP Scott Reid A controversial motion which, if passed, will have the House of Commons Heritage Committee study the issue of religious discrimination – specifically including the term "Islamophobia" – had its first hour of debate in the House of Commons last week. There has been increasing opposition to the motion, largely because of fears that it will restrict criticism of a specific religion, and because the term "Islamophobia" remains undefined. The Conservative caucus drafted a motion of their own, which was similar but contained some important distinctions. Lanark-Frontenac-Kingston MP Scott Reid said the...

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01 Dec 2016 Supreme Court Hears First Nation’s Freedom of Religion Case

The Supreme Court of Canada is hearing an historic Aboriginal religious freedom claim today. The Ktunaxa First Nation challenged the British Columbia government’s decision to permit the construction of a ski resort, claiming that it would violate their religious freedom by desecrating a mountain that is sacred to them and interfering with their spiritual practices. The British Columbia Court of Appeal rejected the Ktunaxa’s claim, saying that religious freedom does not protect religious exercise or belief to the extent it requires third parties to “act or refrain from acting and behave in...

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07 May 2016 Os Guinness: Forum on Religious Freedom

The 5th Annual Parliamentary Forum on Religious Freedom was hosted by David Anderson, MP for the riding of Cypress Hills-Grasslands in Saskatchewan. The forum seeks to educate attendees on the importance of protecting religious freedom in Canada and abroad. Every year, Mr. Anderson brings in several speakers who have long advocated for religious freedom in the world. This year, the keynote speaker was Dr. Os Guinness, an International Adjunct Speaker with Ravi Zacharias International Ministries. Dr. Os Guinness speaking to the crowd on religious freedom in Canada and abroad. Dr. Guinness began with highlighting the reality that in today’s increasingly globalized world, “everyone is everywhere.” This is not simply because the world is becoming vastly multicultural, but also because in the current “internet age,” the public square, in which opinions and ideas disseminate between individuals, now exists through online forums and blogs, allowing for “barbarous debate,” protected by anonymity. This leads into what Dr. Guinness believes is the underlying issue for protecting religious freedom. How do we approach a society which has so many different views and contrasting conceptualizations of what religious freedom is?
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24 Jul 2015 Highs and Lows of the 41st Canadian Parliament

On June 18th, the House of Commons adjourned, setting the stage for an election campaign that will end the 41st session of Parliament. This is an appropriate time to look back on the past four years and see what was accomplished, especially through the lens of ARPA Canada and the issues that we focus on. Pre-born Human Rights: When the Conservatives were handed a majority in the last federal election, many Christians hoped that pre-born human rights would finally be addressed. These hopes were in vain. Although some courageous MPs stood up for the pre-born, the leadership of all the political parties in the House of Commons did their utmost to suppress these efforts.   Motion 312, championed by MP Stephen Woodworth, was the first motion that held promise. It asked that “a special committee of the House of Commons be appointed and directed to review the declaration in Subsection 223(1) of the Criminal Code of Canada which states that a child becomes a human being only at the moment of complete birth.” Local ARPA chapters hosted presentations by Mr. Woodworth on this motion and many ARPA supporters encouraged MPs to support it. But with the party leaders all vocally opposed, the motion died in the House by a vote of 203 to 91. Yet Motion 312 reignited a discussion that was quiet for too long. Momentum for addressing this injustice was building.
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