Though the local councilor is a resident’s primary representative in city government, the bus ads issue is city-wide, so residents can write to their own councilor or to others, particularly to those on the Transit Committee. Here is a list of councilors’ positions on the issue.
For maximum impact, we suggest that you contact the councilor by phone, then follow up with an email or paper mail if possible. However, every email, paper mail or phone call helps – please do whatever you can.
You can forward or bcc your email to atheistbusottawa at gmail.com if you would like us to have a record of your correspondence.
Here are some sample letters – please feel free to use them as they are, or modify them as you wish.
If you wish to compose your own letter, here are some talking points:
- from a statement recently made to the United Nations on behalf of Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister:
Canada rejects the basic premise that religions have rights; human rights belong to human beings.
The focus should not be on protecting religions, but rather on protecting the rights of the adherents of religions, including of people belonging to religious minorities, or people who may choose to change their religion, or not to practice religion at all
- In a letter from Marianne Wilkinson, she says:
…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.”
However, neither the “Bus Stop Bible Study” ads recently approved by council, nor the “cometochurch.ca” campaign by the Anglicans, nor the Alpha Bible Study advertisements that have run in previous years would have met the criteria cited by Ms Wilkinson
- Canadians are proud to live in a free country. We often congratulate ourselves on how well we celebrate diversity and respect one another’s opinions. However, respecting an opinion does not mean that one is obliged to agree with it, or refrain from challenging it.