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Conservative openness and accountability

pebbles
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Joined: Jul 3 2004

John Baird this week issued a passive-aggressive non-answer "answer" to an "Order Paper Question" filed by QC NDP MP Mme. Laverdiere.

See: http://bit.ly/wFrhJW

I have a little "ask" of Babblers.

Write John Baird. Request that if he won't answer one of his Parliamentary colleagues, that he at least answer ordinary Canadians.

His email address is bairdj@parl.gc.ca

He can be snail-mailed at the Hon. John Baird, PC, MP, House of Commons, Ottawa, ON, K1A 0A6

His fax number is  613-993-6501

Suggested lines:

Dear Minister Baird:

I am deeply disappointed that you and your government refused to fully and completely answer an "Order Paper Question" from an opposition MP, which asked simple and factual questsions concerning the Office of Religious Freedom.

You did not respond to her. I hope you will respond to me. Accordingly, I as a Canadian ask you:

Concerning the Office of Religious Freedom:

(a) when did the government decide to establish an Office of Religious Freedom and at whose request;

(b) what is the mandate and the objectives of this office;

(c) what is the budget breakdown of the office for

  (i) staff,
  (ii) programs,
  (iii) operations;

(d) what is the reporting structure of the office;

(e) what will the office produce;

(f) how many people will be employed in this office and what will be their level;

(g) what are the hiring criteria and salary levels for each person employed in this office;

(h) how will this office work differently from other sections of the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT) already working on human rights issues;

(i) who was consulted regarding the creation of the office,

  (i) when did the consultations take place,
  (ii) what are the names and affiliations of those who were consulted;

(j) what are the names, positions, and religious affiliations of the guests who attended consultations on a new Office of Religious Freedom in October 2011,

  (i) how many people from religions including, but not limited to, Islam, Hinduism, Sikhism, Taoism, Buddhism were invited to the meeting,
  (ii) how were the panellists and participants chosen for the meeting with Minister Baird,
  (iii) who made the final decisions on panellists and participants chosen for the meeting,
  (iv) what discussions were held at DFAIT about inviting Amnesty International and why was this organization not invited;

(k) who are the employees responsible for the development of the Office of Religious Freedom within

(i) the Prime Minister's Office,
(ii) the Minister of Foreign Affairs' Office,
(iii) other Ministers' offices,
(iv) DFAIT,
(v) other government departments?


I look forward to your full, factual, and complete response on all these important points.

Sincerely,

[SIGNED] 


Comments

Boom Boom
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Joined: Dec 29 2004

Baird will probably file these letters into his File 13. This new Office of Religious Freedom is complete bullshit and is just the Cons playing to their base - fundamentalist Christians who probably feel under attack.


pebbles
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Joined: Jul 3 2004

Boom Boom wrote:

Baird will probably file these letters into his File 13. This new Office of Religious Freedom is complete bullshit and is just the Cons playing to their base - fundamentalist Christians who probably feel under attack.

Probably. But that's fine. Let him. Let him be just as unaccountable to ordinary people as he is to the select few in Parliament.

 


Rabble_Incognito
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Joined: Feb 21 2012

Someone needs to separate church and state here.


Boom Boom
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Joined: Dec 29 2004

We don't actually have formal separation of church and state in this country as far as I know - maybe that's where we should begin.


Life, the unive...
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Joined: Mar 23 2007

Here's what the begining of the Constitution Act (1982) says 

Whereas Canada is founded upon the principles that recognize the supremacy of God and the rule of law

So no we don't have a constitutional guarentee of the seperation of church and state.  Quite the opposite in fact with the original British North America Act with constitutional guarentees of religious based education.


Boom Boom
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Joined: Dec 29 2004

"Conservative openness and accountability" - that's a good example of an oxymoron. Laughing


janfromthebruce
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Joined: Apr 24 2007

actually that "constitutional guarantees of religious based education" isn't necessarily true as NFL and Quebec both dispensed with that.


pebbles
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Joined: Jul 3 2004

Out of the weeds!

Baird and co. flat-out refused, in the douchebaggiest of ways, to respond to a factual question from a Parliamentarian, on a public issue.

Please write to John Baird as noted in the original post. Force him to not answer you, too.

 


Bärlüer
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Joined: Aug 20 2007

Boom Boom wrote:

We don't actually have formal separation of church and state in this country as far as I know - maybe that's where we should begin.

Just a quick comment on a somewhat complicated topic:

Whereas the US Bill of Rights' First Amendment's prohibits an establishment of religion (the "establishment clause") and protects the free exercise of religion (the "free exercise" clause) ("Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof [...]"), the Canadian Charter is less specific, more open-ended, and uses as a starting point the individual rather than the state ("Everyone has the following fundamental freedoms: (a) freedom of conscience and religion; [...]"). However, the "lack" of an (anti-)establishment clause in the Charter does not entail that the State can validly compel conformity to religious dogma—that is, s. 2a) of the Charter does include a "freedom from" (as contrasted to "freedom of") dimension. (Look up the Big M Drug Mart [Supreme Court] and Zylberberg [Ontario Court of Appeal] judgments if you're interested).


Boom Boom
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Joined: Dec 29 2004

The Monarch is the head of the Church of England, by the way. 


Boom Boom
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Joined: Dec 29 2004

Bärlüer wrote:

 ...the Canadian Charter is less specific, more open-ended, and uses as a starting point the individual rather than the state ("Everyone has the following fundamental freedoms: (a) freedom of conscience and religion; [...]"). However, the "lack" of an (anti-)establishment clause in the Charter does not entail that the State can validly compel conformity to religious dogma—that is, s. 2a) of the Charter does include a "freedom from" (as contrasted to "freedom of") dimension. (Look up the Big M Drug Mart [Supreme Court] and Zylberberg [Ontario Court of Appeal] judgments if you're interested).

 

Gee, no mention of our St. Notwithstanding Clause! Laughing


Life, the unive...
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Joined: Mar 23 2007

janfromthebruce wrote:

actually that "constitutional guarantees of religious based education" isn't necessarily true as NFL and Quebec both dispensed with that.

Do you bother reading what others write before you go into your talking points?  There most definitly was a constitutional guarentee for religious based schooling in the BNA Act in some parts of Canada.  That was specifically what I was refering to in direct reference to a ponder posted by Boom Boom to demonstrate that the Canadian experience is quite different that the Americian attempt to seperate church and state in the drafting of the two founding consitutions.  Ironically though we ended up with a far more secular society, despite the differences in our constituations, than the Americans.  

The cases you mentioned required action by the federal government to allow them to happen.  They didn't just say presto- gone. So please don't be so insulting when you are actually pretty unaware of what you are talking about, despite your pretence to extra special knowledge, and context deficient in interjecting.


janfromthebruce
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Joined: Apr 24 2007

Actually i do or is the talking point of today to suggest that I don't read before I write. Saw that elswhere today so it's the new put down of posters who don't agree with say a dominant viewpoint. I didn't say presto. I was suggesting they dispensed and I could have been more wordy as I do know that both asked the feds. I actually know quite a bit about both Quebec and NFL getting the okay from the feds so they didn't have to provide religious education.

But one will never have to worry about Ontario because no political party will do the right thing there and so we will cont to support 4 school systems that compete for the shrinking population of students in the same geographical area.

Oh and did you feel good in your sense of self in your put down of me? Just wondering because you sure sounded righteous!

 

Life, the universe, everything wrote:

janfromthebruce wrote:

actually that "constitutional guarantees of religious based education" isn't necessarily true as NFL and Quebec both dispensed with that.

Do you bother reading what others write before you go into your talking points?  There most definitly was a constitutional guarentee for religious based schooling in the BNA Act in some parts of Canada.  That was specifically what I was refering to in direct reference to a ponder posted by Boom Boom to demonstrate that the Canadian experience is quite different that the Americian attempt to seperate church and state in the drafting of the two founding consitutions.  Ironically though we ended up with a far more secular society, despite the differences in our constituations, than the Americans.  

The cases you mentioned required action by the federal government to allow them to happen.  They didn't just say presto- gone. So please don't be so insulting when you are actually pretty unaware of what you are talking about, despite your pretence to extra special knowledge, and context deficient in interjecting.

______________________________________________________________________________________ Our kids live together and play together in their communities, let's have them learn together too!


Sean in Ottawa
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Joined: Jun 3 2003

Rabble_Incognito wrote:

Someone needs to separate church and state here.

Someone needs to seperate Conservatives from government


Rabble_Incognito
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Joined: Feb 21 2012

Bärlüer wrote:

Boom Boom wrote:

We don't actually have formal separation of church and state in this country as far as I know - maybe that's where we should begin.

Just a quick comment on a somewhat complicated topic:

Whereas the US Bill of Rights' First Amendment's prohibits an establishment of religion (the "establishment clause") and protects the free exercise of religion (the "free exercise" clause) ("Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof [...]"), the Canadian Charter is less specific, more open-ended, and uses as a starting point the individual rather than the state ("Everyone has the following fundamental freedoms: (a) freedom of conscience and religion; [...]"). However, the "lack" of an (anti-)establishment clause in the Charter does not entail that the State can validly compel conformity to religious dogma—that is, s. 2a) of the Charter does include a "freedom from" (as contrasted to "freedom of") dimension. (Look up the Big M Drug Mart [Supreme Court] and Zylberberg [Ontario Court of Appeal] judgments if you're interested).

Yes, freedom from, we don't have here - this was explained to me on the phone last night (again). So our society isn't 'just' for atheists, then. Plus, the church gets a tax exempt status, so why do they need federal dollars on a whole new department when everyone else gets austerity. That's sort of where I'm coming from but thanks for the legal reminder that I always forget about Canada, that we don't really have separation of church and state like the Americans do. I'll send the note Pebbles.

 


Bärlüer
Online
Joined: Aug 20 2007

Rabble_Incognito wrote:

Yes, freedom from, we don't have here - this was explained to me on the phone last night (again).

No, we do have it, as I just explained in my post. See this passage from the Big M Drug Mart case (landmark case on freedom of religion):

Quote:
With the entrenchment of the Charter the definition of freedom of conscience and religion is no longer vulnerable to legislative incursion. I conclude therefore that a definition of freedom of conscience and religion incorporating freedom from compulsory religious observance is not only in accord with the purposes and traditions underlying the Charter; it is also in line with the definition of that concept as found in the Canadian jurisprudence.

[Emphasis added.]


Rabble_Incognito
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Joined: Feb 21 2012

Bärlüer wrote:

Rabble_Incognito wrote:

Yes, freedom from, we don't have here - this was explained to me on the phone last night (again).

No, we do have it, as I just explained in my post. See this passage from the Big M Drug Mart case (landmark case on freedom of religion):

Quote:
With the entrenchment of the Charter the definition of freedom of conscience and religion is no longer vulnerable to legislative incursion. I conclude therefore that a definition of freedom of conscience and religion incorporating freedom from compulsory religious observance is not only in accord with the purposes and traditions underlying the Charter; it is also in line with the definition of that concept as found in the Canadian jurisprudence.

[Emphasis added.]

Yes but that's a case history, jurisprudence, right? I'm not a lawyer so the words don't have the same meaning maybe for all of us. Does that case example make law the same way a consitutional declaration is law? If so, then is Baird's new department a violation of the law? If so, how do we force him to obey the law? The letter above or a dedicated lawyer and some dough?

Sorry for the barrage of questions - I'm a neophyte to constitutional civics/law/politics (probably like Baird is too, ha ha).


Bärlüer
Online
Joined: Aug 20 2007

Rabble_Incognito wrote:

Bärlüer wrote:

No, we do have it, as I just explained in my post. See this passage from the Big M Drug Mart case (landmark case on freedom of religion):

Quote:
With the entrenchment of the Charter the definition of freedom of conscience and religion is no longer vulnerable to legislative incursion. I conclude therefore that a definition of freedom of conscience and religion incorporating freedom from compulsory religious observance is not only in accord with the purposes and traditions underlying the Charter; it is also in line with the definition of that concept as found in the Canadian jurisprudence.

[Emphasis added.]

Yes but that's a case history, jurisprudence, right? I'm not a lawyer so the words don't have the same meaning maybe for all of us. Does that case example make law the same way a consitutional declaration is law?

Yes, that case is part of the constitutional law of Canada.

Rabble_Incognito wrote:
If so, then is Baird's new department a violation of the law?

Most probably not.

As far as I understand (I haven't followed this story closely), the Office of Religious freedom would be (I believe no enacting legislation has been passed yet [?]) part of Foreign Affairs, right? If that is so, it would seem to be closely inspired by the US Office of International Religious Freedom, which is said to have "the mission of promoting religious freedom as a core objective of U.S. foreign policy" and has the mandate to "monitor religious persecution and discrimination worldwide, recommend and implement policies in respective regions or countries, and develop programs to promote religious freedom."

One would have to look at the actual mandate that the enacting legislation would give to the Office and to the actual actions it might undertake to evaluate if a legal challenge might present itself, but most likely, there would be no grounds for a claim of a violation of s. 2a) of the Charter—as there appears to have been no challenges on the basis of the First Amendment in the U.S. related to the Office of International Religious Freedom.


Unionist
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Joined: Dec 11 2005

Here's Zylberberg and Big M Drug Mart.

Thanks as always for the knowledgeable responses, Bärlüer!

 


Rabble_Incognito
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Joined: Feb 21 2012

Bärlüer wrote:

Rabble_Incognito wrote:
If so, then is Baird's new department a violation of the law?

Most probably not.

As far as I understand (I haven't followed this story closely), the Office of Religious freedom would be (I believe no enacting legislation has been passed yet [?]) part of Foreign Affairs, right? If that is so, it would seem to be closely inspired by the US Office of International Religious Freedom, which is said to have "the mission of promoting religious freedom as a core objective of U.S. foreign policy" and has the mandate to "monitor religious persecution and discrimination worldwide, recommend and implement policies in respective regions or countries, and develop programs to promote religious freedom."

One would have to look at the actual mandate that the enacting legislation would give to the Office and to the actual actions it might undertake to evaluate if a legal challenge might present itself, but most likely, there would be no grounds for a claim of a violation of s. 2a) of the Charter—as there appears to have been no challenges on the basis of the First Amendment in the U.S. related to the Office of International Religious Freedom.

Thank you! I'll think for a while of the implications - it is a very challenging subject matter. For now it is enough for me that I haven't heard of profound religious controversey in Canada.


Maysie
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Joined: Apr 21 2005

Boom Boom wrote:
 "Conservative openness and accountability" - that's a good example of an oxymoron.

When I saw the thread title I was sure it belonged in the babble banter forum where we could also discuss elves, fairies, gnomes and other imaginary things.

Sean from Ottawa wrote:
 Someone needs to seperate Conservatives from government

Frikkin a, man! That would be us. Laughing

Nice to have you back, Sean.


Life, the unive...
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Joined: Mar 23 2007

janfromthebruce wrote:

Actually i do or is the talking point of today to suggest that I don't read before I write. Saw that elswhere today so it's the new put down of posters who don't agree with say a dominant viewpoint. I didn't say presto. I was suggesting they dispensed and I could have been more wordy as I do know that both asked the feds. I actually know quite a bit about both Quebec and NFL getting the okay from the feds so they didn't have to provide religious education.

But one will never have to worry about Ontario because no political party will do the right thing there and so we will cont to support 4 school systems that compete for the shrinking population of students in the same geographical area.

Oh and did you feel good in your sense of self in your put down of me? Just wondering because you sure sounded righteous!

 

Life, the universe, everything wrote:

janfromthebruce wrote:

actually that "constitutional guarantees of religious based education" isn't necessarily true as NFL and Quebec both dispensed with that.

Do you bother reading what others write before you go into your talking points?  There most definitly was a constitutional guarentee for religious based schooling in the BNA Act in some parts of Canada.  That was specifically what I was refering to in direct reference to a ponder posted by Boom Boom to demonstrate that the Canadian experience is quite different that the Americian attempt to seperate church and state in the drafting of the two founding consitutions.  Ironically though we ended up with a far more secular society, despite the differences in our constituations, than the Americans.  

The cases you mentioned required action by the federal government to allow them to happen.  They didn't just say presto- gone. So please don't be so insulting when you are actually pretty unaware of what you are talking about, despite your pretence to extra special knowledge, and context deficient in interjecting.

______________________________________________________________________________________ Our kids live together and play together in their communities, let's have them learn together too!

 

Oh that's right it is some kind of conspiracy on the internet against you.

You were the one who felt the need to intervene with a pompous and wrong comment and quoting me out of context to what I said, so maybe you should have look in that shiny, reflective device on your wall.


janfromthebruce
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Joined: Apr 24 2007

I wasn't quoting you out of context at all. I was suggesting that there is no religious guarantee in the constitution and used the examples of NFL and Quebec as examples in which they got a dispension. If they were guaranteed religious education that would not have been possible is what I was suggesting.

Not sure why this attack is con't and I find it over the top. Have a great day whoever you may be.


Fidel
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Joined: Apr 29 2004

I wonder what other rights can be carved out of the constitution based on those arguments.


Sean in Ottawa
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Joined: Jun 3 2003

Nice to see you too Maysie!


Fidel
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Joined: Apr 29 2004

"Conservative openness and accountability"

I don't believe it.


Slumberjack
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Joined: Aug 8 2005

I'd like to call attention to the fact that we never seem to get any Harper-Harpies like the forum advertises for.  How about inviting a few of them on just to change things up a little?  I suspect some of us are plumb worn out from all the trench work on the NDP front, and a change of scenery would likely do us some good.


Maysie
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Joined: Apr 21 2005

Slumberjack, meet Ruby Jones, President and CEO of the Stephen Harper fan club.

Quote:

Twelve Reasons Why Stephen Harper is a Rock Awesome Leader!

12. He's not that into details. Just trust him!
11. My manicorn's adorable Lego-hair !!
10. He was on Reach For the Top in High School ...too bad they lost !!!
9. He looks GREAT dressed up like a Cowboy! Yee Haw !!
8. He got the government to back off the yummy sliced meat manufacturers.
7. When he smiles, the whole of Calgary smiles with him.
6. So the clairvoyant doesn't tell your co-workers what you really think of them.
5. Shows love by appointing unelected friends to senate & cabinet.
4. He is an irresistibly adorable powder blue Cashmerian Devil.
3. He created the Handbook on How to Disrupt Parliament.
2. With a majority, there is nothing stopping him.

.. the #1 reason why Stephen Harper is Rock Awesome ....

1. He gonna make this government last and last !! Four more years !!!

Video: Harpmocracy The Canadian Way 


Rebecca West
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Joined: Nov 28 2001

Life, the universe, everything wrote:

Oh that's right it is some kind of conspiracy on the internet against you.

You were the one who felt the need to intervene with a pompous and wrong comment and quoting me out of context to what I said, so maybe you should have look in that shiny, reflective device on your wall.

Not sure what your issue is here Life, but no more personal attacks, okay?


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