TORONTO, ONTARIO – (January 15, 2015) The divisive former head of Europe’s last absolute monarchy, Pope John Paul II, has been awarded an honour reserved for a select few. The Canadian Secular Alliance (CSA) is shocked Bill C-266, “An Act to Establish Pope John Paul II Day,” is now law after sailing through the senate with absolutely zero debate.
“While John Paul II was beloved by many, he is tied to sex abuse scandals and held alienating views on a wide range of issues,” said CSA President Greg Oliver. “It’s hard to imagine that government recognition would be given without debate were he not a religious leader.”
When it became apparent the Senate had no intention of conducting a rigorous debate on the Bill, the CSA submitted a report to the Standing Committee on Human Rights. No mention of the submission was made in Senate records nor was any consideration given of opposing perspectives on the Bill.
Canada must be neutral and must favour neither religious nor non-religious beliefs. In granting a free pass to honour a religious leader simply by virtue of the popularity of the individual’s faith, the government has elevated members of that religion over their fellow citizens.