CFI Canada Conference: Day One
Most of the day one activities focused on organizational issues which I won’t talk about here, but I want to give people some information on the different organizations here and some of their important goals.
Centre For Inquiry Canada, the hosting organization, is involved primarily with education related to science, medicine,ethics, and skepticism in general. They promote open and free dialogue on various issues. They are also now a registered charity so you can donate and get a tax receipt! CFI has branches all around the world (although most are in North America) and through these regional groups they host many smaller events such as pub nights for skeptics and presentations and discussions focusing on a wide variety of topics.
The Freethought Association of Canada which is the charity behind the widely reported atheist bus ad campaign, is now working on the Enjoy You Life! campaign. This campaign seeks to encourage non-believers of all types to get involved in worthwhile charitable causes. Some of these issues, such as expanding access to condoms in Africa, might be ignored by religious charities. They also want to break the stereotype that religion is necessary to advance charitable causes.
The Canadian Secular Alliance is the politically oriented secular organization. Their goal is to effect public policy that touches on secular issues, including freedom of expression, non-religious education, and the many different tax breaks for charities that save them well over a billion a year. With the recent announcement by the Harper Government about looking at the wording of the national anthem, the CSA is now focusing on getting a committee to look at whether keeping “god” in the anthem really reflects the diversity of Canadians. If you want to get more politically involved in skeptical and secular political issues, the CSA is a great place to start.