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.)