Examples of religious ads on Ottawa buses

This is an excerpt from a form letter has been received by a number of people who have written to Marianne Wilkinson:

The issue is one of an advertising policy approved by City Council and delegated to staff for implementation.  The key parts of this policy include principles in the Canadian Code of Advertising Standards which includes as unacceptable “demean, denigrate or disparage any identifiable person, group of persons, firm, organization, industrial or commercial activity, profession, product or service or attempt to bring it or them into public contempt or ridicule”.  It also condones any form of discrimination based on religion.

Even more direct is article 5 of the OC Transpo Ad Guidelines which states that religious advertising is not permitted “which promotes a specific ideology, ethic, point of view, policy or action, which in the opinion of the City might be deemed prejudicial to other religious groups or offensive to users of the transit system”.  It then goes on to state that “Religious advertising will be permitted if the information is designed to promote a specific meeting, gathering ore event and the location, date and time of said event.”

Here are some ads that have run recently on OC Transpo buses:

the cometochurch.ca campaign is sponsored by the Anglican church – pictures at http://www.ottawa.anglican.ca/Promotions.html (the one on the back of the bus says, “You say his name often on the highway.  Why not try saying it in church?”)

http://www.alphausa.org/ has the picture that was used in the Ottawa bus ads a year or so ago.

The United Church sponsored the “wonder cafe” series, including this ad:
http://wondercafe.ca/sites/default/files/ad_campaign/ACD-20061106124549-BobbleHead.jpg – some probably would find that even more offensive than our ad

The Bus Stop Bible Studies (http://www.busstopbiblestudies.com) have been approved by OC Transpo, but not yet run

None of these ads meets Marianne Wilkinson’s stated criteria.  ( (Also, despite the fact that this has been pointed out to her at least once, she still has not fixed the typo where she says: It [OC Transpo’s policy] also condones any form of discrimination based on religion.)


3 responses to “Examples of religious ads on Ottawa buses

  1. Michel Cléroux

    You will note that the policy says: ” which in the opinion of the City might be deemed prejudicial to other religious groups or offensive to users of the transit system”.

    In other words, Marianne Wilkinson and others get to choose what they deem offensive.

    Has it occurred to Ms. Wilkinson that just about ANY expression of ANY religious opinion is bound to contradict and therefore offend people with other opinions?

    Do you believe in Allah and His Messenger Mohammed? Do you want to take out an ad encouraging people to read the Koran? But the Koran states quite clearly that Jesus is NOT the son of God. So anything promoting Islam and the Koran could be ioffensive to Christians.

    Christians believe that Jesus WAS the son of God, in direct contradiction of what it says in the Koran. Christians deny that Mohammed is a Prophet of God or that the Koran is divinely inspired. So any ad for Christians might offend Muslims.

    Ads by Hindus, who have many Gods, could offend Jews, Chrsitiants and Muslims who declare there is only one God.

  2. OC Transpo is practising censorship
    – pure and simple
    And they can get away with it,
    If no one makes an issue of it.

    “The only thing necessary for evil to prevail,
    Is for good men to do nothing”

    And we are not going to do nothing.
    We are going to do everything possible
    – supreme court, canadian charter of rights and freedom, human rights commission, etc…

    If nobody can say anything that might offend someone, somewhere – nobody will be able to express their views and opinions anytime, anywhere.

    The Communist Soviet Union and Hitler’s Nazi Germany did not allow anyone to say anything that might offend them.
    Their are elements of the religious establishment that would like to see the same approach taken to Atheists…

    Freedom of speech
    Freedom of expression
    Freedom from discrimination
    because of your beliefs
    Freedom from censorship

  3. Pingback: Freethought and Free Speech Prevail in Ottawa | Canadian Atheist Bus Campaign - Official Website

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