Thursday, March 12, 2009

Atheist Buses Will Run in Ottawa

Ottawa city council voted last month to ban the atheist ads from OC Transpo buses.1 Last night they voted 13-7 to allow the ads after city solicitor Rick O'Connor told them the ban is an unreasonable infringement of free speech [City blesses atheist ads].
Transit officials made the decision after receiving four complaints from the public, but O'Connor said in the end the city's argument may not hold up in court.

"Based on the information available at this time, it appears that the city may not be able to justify its refusal of the proposed advertising on the basis that it is offensive, and consequently, it may be found to be an unreasonable infringement of the association's freedom of expression under Section 2(b) of the Charter," the memo says.

"If the decision to refuse the ads was based solely on the four complaints received from the public, it is likely that this decision will be found to be unreasonable and lacking in proportionality, and therefore not justifiable under Section 1 of the Charter."
Thanks to the Humanist Association of Ottawa for standing up for freedom of expression.

1. Technically, they did not ban the ads. Instead, they failed, in a tie vote, to overturn the decision of OC Transpo. That decision has now been overturned in a second vote and the ads will run.


  1. The Ottawa Citizen should check articles for logic flaws prior to publishing, especially if the article is supposed to be an analysis.

    Check the Saturday March 14 Section B Analysis "Atheist marketing their way into the mainstream" by Susan Krashinsky. First paragraph reads:
    "It was the humblest of slogans: No satisfaction guarantee, no flashy graphics or focus group-tested logos, just the simple assertion that, most likely, we are alone in the universe."

    What? Since when does not believing in god (or God) equates to asserting that we are alone in the universe?

    Reality check please!