May 012017
 

With all the information floating around lately about Catholic schools, religion classes, and funding, we thought we’d just remind everyone about the Alberta Act and the Northwest Territories Ordinances of 1901 that govern our school boards.  Here’s what they say:

Alberta School Act
Religious and patriotic instruction
50(1) A board may
(a) prescribe religious instruction to be offered to its students;
(b) prescribe religious exercises for its students;
(c) prescribe patriotic instruction to be offered to its students;
(d) prescribe patriotic exercises for its students;
(e) permit persons other than teachers to provide religious instruction to its students.

(2) Where a teacher or other person providing religious or patriotic instruction receives a written request signed by a parent of a student that the student be excluded from religious or patriotic instruction or exercises, or both, the teacher or other person shall permit the student
(a) to leave the classroom or place where the instruction or exercises are taking place for the duration of the instruction or exercises, or
(b) to remain in the classroom or place without taking part in the instruction or exercises.

http://www.qp.alberta.ca/documents/Acts/s03.pdf

Ordinances of Northwest Territories, 1901
Religious instruction
137 No religious instruction except as hereinafter provided shall be permitted in the school of any district from the opening of such school until one half hour previous to its closing in the afternoon after which time any such instruction permitted or desired by the board may be given.

Time for the Lord’s prayer
(2) It shall however be permissible for the board of any district to direct that the school be opened by the recitation of the Lord’s prayer. C.O., c.75, s.110.

Attendance not compulsory during religious exercise

138 Any child shall have the privilege of leaving the school room at the time at which religious instruction is commenced as provided for in the next preceding
section or on remaining without taking part in any religious instruction that may be given if the parents or guardians do desire.
C.O., c.75, s.111.

http://www.publications.gov.sk.ca/…/ONWT-1901-CH-29.pdf

 Posted by at 9:27 PM
Apr 222017
 

A Court of Queen’s bench judgement out of Saskatchewan on April 20th regarding non-Catholics attending Catholic schools raised more questions for me than answers, so I phoned up Luke Fevin, one of our board directors but also founder of the secular rights education group APUPIL, to go over some things with me so I could understand it better.

Continue reading »

 Posted by at 3:50 PM
Apr 112017
 


In response to the growing public pressure to examine the real cost & benefit of the duplicate Separate Catholic school system in Alberta, the President of the Alberta Catholic School Trustees Association recently wrote & widely distributed an opinion piece entitled “Catholic Education: Confronting Fiction with Facts.” – a delicious title given the subject matter at hand.

It transpires, perhaps unsurprisingly, that the “Fact versus Fiction” format wasn’t ACSTA’s core competency and ultimately the Coles Notes / tl;dr version is that what ACSTA is actually separate from is “reality”, and what they *should* be separate from is the millions and millions of public dollars that they take.

Continue reading »

 Posted by at 9:53 AM
Nov 062016
 

Our friends at Fraser Valley Skeptics were kind enough to have our President, Karen, on their show this week.  Listen to the podcast by clicking on the picture!


left-at-the-valley

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/kandk/2016/11/06/atheist-activist-with-karen-lumley-kerr

 Posted by at 5:28 PM
Sep 092016
 

Dying With Dignity Edmonton are hosting an event of interest to many of our members, with discussions surrounding the new legislation and how there is still work to be done.  Join us there!
Dying With Dignity
Medical Assistance in Dying: An Alberta Perspective
An informative discussion on the implementation, challenges and future implications of Canada’s new assisted dying law.
Wednesday, September 14, 2016
Presentation and Q & A: 7 p.m. to 9 pm.

**Strathcona Community Centre, 401 Festival Lane, Sherwood Park**
RSVP (preferred) to Val at valwhitehead@shaw.ca 780-458-9208. Suggested donation of $10 at the door.

Speakers will include:

Dr. Michael Caffaro,  Assistant Registrar (Professional Conduct),
College of Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta

Shanaaz Gokool, CEO, Dying With Diginity Canada

Dr. Own Heisler Vice President (Medicine), Covenant Health

The Hon. Brandy Payne, Alberta’s Associate Minister of Health

Lisa Peters-Schmidt Edmonton Chapter Member, Dying With Dignity Canada

Dr. James Silvius,   Medical Director of Community, Seniors, Addictions and Mental Health, Alberta Health Services

Moderator: Rev. Brian Kiely

 Posted by at 9:32 AM
Jun 042016
 

atheist pride cover
Why would atheists march in the Pride Parade?  

Most of the reasons for being against equality are rooted in religious doctrine and dogmas.  No Gods, No Dogmas, No Problems!

Thanks to everyone that came out and marched with us today, helped at the booth, or stopped by the booth to say hello.  We’d also like to send a big thank you to the Edmonton Pride Center and Pride Parade teams for all their organizing.     Happy Pride everyone!

 Posted by at 8:09 PM
May 302016
 

Hey NDP government!!

The Society of Edmonton Atheists would like to make you aware that we do not agree with the provincial decision to allow an entire health care facility to speak on behalf of all it’s doctors and staff.

The news from the province today is that Covenant Health will not have to follow the ruling of the Supreme Court. We understand and support an individual right to conscientious refusal, however when we allow an entire publicly funded organization that right, it is an overstep.

Covenant Health own 90% of the palliative care beds in Edmonton and those patients are the most likely to ask for assisted death. You do not have a choice of which palliative care bed you are placed into, so this seems a rather cruel decision. Moving a patient in a fragile medical state is an insensitive suggestion, why not allow for the doctors and nurses that are willing to help come to them, regardless of where they are placed?

Shanaaz Gokool, the CEO of Dying With Dignity Canada in a news release today stated: ”Though physicians, as individuals, have a right to conscientious refusal, taxpayer-funded institutions have no such right. Instead, they have a duty to provide a full range of compassionate healthcare options for patients at end of life.”

We fully agree with Dying With Dignity’s statement and hope the wants of the entire Canadian population (not just the Catholic demographic) will be taken into consideration.

 Posted by at 10:46 PM
Mar 042016
 

Many of our members have followed the Dying with Dignity movement for awhile now, and all seemed victorious when last year the Supreme Court gave a 1 year notice of Physician Assisted Dying becoming legal.   The legislation was meant to commence on February 6th this year, but our last federal government didn’t do enough to gather information from various groups in order to enact it in time, so when the new Liberal government took over they requested an extension.  It was granted and the time frame extended to June 6th, 2016.   As of June 6th, PAD will become legal, regardless of what legislation is in place.

In Alberta we have a slight problem though.  The vast majority of people who request PAD are already in palliative care, at the end of their lives.  The majority of palliative care beds in Alberta are owned and run by the publicly funded Catholic Covenant Health group.   The church has stated that Physician Assisted Dying is against their Catholic teachings and will not be provided at their hospital.    Here’s the issue though…you don’t get to pick which bed you are given so you can’t request a non-catholic bed, you are just assigned.

The Catholic Bishops of Alberta released this statement:

We want to be clear that, from a Catholic perspective, the intentional, willful act of killing oneself or another human being is morally wrong. Therefore, no Catholic may advocate for, or participate in any way, whether by act or omission, in the intentional killing of another human being either by assisted suicide or euthanasia.

Just this past week a Calgary woman was granted an exemption to the June 6th date but she had to travel to Vancouver to finally end her life.  This raises the issue of access to the right to die with dignity in Alberta.  
Dying With Dignity
So what can we do to help?  
The College of Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta currently have two campaigns where you can leave your feedback and views on PAD.    Help shape these policies!   Informed Consent and Conscientious Objection are available to be filled out until March 7th.   Dying with Dignity Canada have some recommendations in their toolkit to help you fill out these forms.

Alberta Health is also looking for your feedback, you can fill out their form until March 31st.

You can also write to your MLA and lend your support to the movement.

 Posted by at 2:32 PM
Oct 162015
 

The AB Secular Conference in Red Deer is happening this weekend. You can get late tickets (no meals) for the conference on Eventbrite until noon on Friday, October 16, or you can get tickets to the Saturday evening debate until midnight on Friday.
https://www.eventbrite.com/e/none-of-the-above-ab-secular-conference-tickets-16240596060

For the schedule and other details, refer to the Conference’s website:
http://notacon.yolasite.com/guest-speakers.php