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Outrage Over Ontario Legislature Blocking Debate to Pass John Paul II Day

Secularists to Share Concerns Tuesday with Bill Sponsor MPP Dipika Damerla

TORONTO, ONTARIO – (April 17, 2014) The Canadian Secular Alliance (CSA) is shocked that the Ontario Legislature passed Bill 72: Pope John Paul II Day Act without public debate. The following week a JPII Day mass provided a pretext for Catholic Cardinal Thomas Collins to engage in political lobbying at Queen’s Park for the continued public funding of Catholic schools in Ontario.

CSA will ask for the same opportunity for special access to address MPPs on church-state separation when representatives meet with Liberal MPP and Bill 72 sponsor Dipika Damerla on Tuesday, April 22.

“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.”

A similar bill quickly passed the federal House but is now being challenged in the Senate.

CSA, a public policy think-tank advancing church-state separation, requested permission to present its objections to the Ontario Bill before the Legislature. The Bill, inactive since May 30, 2013, was passed in unseemly haste in a single week, between March 17 when the Legislature decided to bypass committee and March 25 when the Bill received royal assent.

Justin Trottier