Despite receiving some opposition from various Councilors at Ottawa City Hall to delay the vote, our advertisement today received approval! Councilor Cullen made a very good case to support our advertisement and the city’s legal council had informed him that if we challenged their decision through the courts, they most definitely would have lost and wasted tax payers money with needless legal costs. Councilor Cullen, I applaud your great effort and I think you did an excellent job.
But even in our success I have to say that I am a little disappointed by the reaction of a few Ottawa councilors. Some of them didn’t seem to understand how hypocritical OC Transpo’s response to deny our ad really was. The few that opposed our ad kept citing that religious advertisements were permitted only “[…]if the information is designed to promote a specific meeting, gathering or event and the location, date and time of said event”. Contrast this policy to their approval of the Anglican Church, United Church of Canada, Alpha Course, and Bus Stop Bible Study ads that did not advertise a meeting, gathering, or event but rather some type of religious doctrine or school of thought.
Councilor Bob Monette mentioned that our ad was created to be funny, implying that we are running some sort of media stunt or joke. Let me tell you that this is not a media stunt, advertising a message that doesn’t agree with mainstream religion doesn’t warrant such a claim to say we are trying to be “funny”. We think it is very serious that people try to impose their beliefs on others without any credible evidence to support their claims, and it is even more serious that they try to impose their beliefs on children before a child can develop and become their own person and formulate their own world view. Somehow religion can make extreme and extraordinary claims, preach all sorts of ideologies, quote a book and claim it is true in its entirety and that people should live by it despite its scriptures of racism, hate, sexism, and murder and still these groups remain tax exempt. This is not funny, and it is not funny asking people not to worry about that, put it all aside, and just go ahead and enjoy their lives.
All that being said, congratulations Ottawa!