Leland Klassen of Abbotsford, British Columbia, finished second in the second annual Canada’s Next Top Comic contest run by XM Canada. XM Canada owns six satellite radio comedy channels, including Laugh Attack, Laugh USA, Blue Collar Radio, The Foxxhole and The Virus. Unlike many of the other competitors, Klassen is a Christian and is known as “Canada’s premier clean comedian.” Klassen has a new DVD coming out called the Freakness Comedy Tour. The winner of the contest was ‘outspoken’ Toronto comedian Matt O’Brien.
The Covenant Awards, handed out annually by the Gospel Music Association of Canada, will be given out this year at First Alliance Church in Calgary on October 29. Awards will be given in more than 50 categories. Those nominated form artist of the year are Matt Maher, Manafest, Newworldson, Greg Szcebel and Starfield. For a full list of nominees, go to:
Abuse by any other name
A few months ago, Child Safe Nation (CSN) launched a campaign to have Parliament amend the Criminal Code, changing the term “child pornography” to “child sex abuse materials.” Staff from the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada’s Centre for Faith and Public Life have analyzed that proposal in a paper called ‘Rolling the Dice.’ While applauding the campaign’s aim to better protect minors from sexual predators, the EFC document argues that changing the term might actually reduce protection since the old terminology has been defined by a number of court decisions. For instance, courts have ruled that the term “child pornography” can include “imaginary human beings” depicted in drawings and stories. If the terminology is changed, courts would have to start over at defining what to include under the new term, and there is no guarantee on what would be included.
An article in the October 4 Globe & Mail suggested that immigrants tend to be more conservative than native Canadians on some social issues. They are more likely to oppose same-sex marriage and abortion and favour private medical care, lower taxes and paying parents individually rather than funding daycare. This is causing immigrants to shift their support from the Liberal Party to the Conservative Party. Between 2000 and 2008, support for the Liberals among visible minorities fell from 83 percent to 49 percent, while Conservative support climbed from 16 to 26 percent. However, the article states that the children of immigrants are more likely to hold liberal attitudes, partly because of what they are being taught in Canadian schools.
Sorry for injustice
Dozens of Chinese Canadians stood and applauded September 20, when the City of New Westminster in British Columbia offered a formal apology (PDF) for the racism and discrimination that Chinese Canadians have suffered for more than a century. New Westminster is the first city to apologize for injustices against Chinese Canadians. The apology came as a result of a request from a group called Canadians For Reconciliation, led by Bill Chu. After the request was made, the city commissioned a study that provided detailed evidence of the injustices.
Culture is easier to tolerate than religion
An October 5 article in the Globe & Mail noted that more than 40 percent of immigrants to Canada between 1982 and 2001 were highly religious (according to Statistics Canada’s General Social Survey), compared with 26 percent of native-born Canadians. Many of the immigrants, especially from Latin America, the Philippines and South Korea, bolstered Christian congregations. Others were Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs and Muslims. Muslims are the fastest-growing religious group in Canada; they make up two percent of the population, but are expected to reach eight percent by 2031. The article suggested that Canadians are starting to rethink the value of multiculturalism out of fear it may provide a cover for practices such as female circumcision, honour killings and terrorism.
Jesus is for everyone
Identity Travel Israel on September 15 launched ‘This is Jesus: Prophet of Nazareth’ tours of Israel. The eight-day tours include visits to major Christian sites; information on recent archaeological finds and historical research; and fun activities such as boat rides on the Sea of Galilee, wine tasting and sound and light shows. Unlike many others, these tours are not just intended for Christians. The tour operators say, “The birth of Christianity is interesting to devout Christians for sure, but also for every open-minded individual.”
Not tickets to ride
Preacher Lawrence Irwin and seven other volunteers were playing music, singing worship songs and offering pamphlets to people at a transit station in Calgary on September 22. Transit officers threatened them with arrest if they didn’t stop their activities on or near transit property. A few of the volunteers were given tickets by the police.
Good things in store
The Christian Booksellers Association (CBA) and a number of book publishers and music distributors in the United States have designated Saturday, October 23 as Christian Store Day Christian authors and musical artists are supporting the day, pointing out the positive contributions of Christian stores to their communities.
Keep baby safe
Covenant Health, a Roman Catholic health care provider in Alberta, is studying whether to establish a safe haven program allowing parents to anonymously leave unwanted babies with the provider. The program would be similar to the Angel Cradle at St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver, which recently received its first infant through a compartment built into the wall of the hospital. An alarm goes off 30 seconds after a baby is placed there, alerting hospital staff. Forty-seven US states have baby abandonment programs or policies that allow mothers to surrender their babies in a safe place with no questions asked.
A harmful educational practice
The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Edmonton has established a new policy, effective October 1, that bans parishes, Catholic institutions and Catholic organizations from fundraising through “harmful gambling activities.” Those activities include casino gaming, video lottery terminals and high-stakes bingo. The policy also bans Catholic organizations from applying for funding from the Alberta Lottery Fund or other sources that raise money from harmful gambling. Archbishop Richard Smith is meeting with Catholic school officials to set a timeline for the elimination of such funding, which he admits could take years. Smith said schools and parent councils have been forced to fundraise for educational necessities such as computers because of underfunding of schools by the Alberta government.
No soup for you
One Free World International (OFWI) has alleged that minorities such as Christians, Hindus, and Ahmadiyya Muslims in some areas of Pakistan have been refused flood relief aid because of their religion. OFWI has received reports that local workers and government officials distributing international aid in parts of the Swat Valley and Sindh province denied aid to religious minorities or turned them away from relief camps. Some were told to convert to Islam to access aid, while others chose to lie and claim they were Muslim. Floods this summer drove millions of Pakistanis from their homes.
These exits are not safe
Dr. Philip Nitschke, an Australian physician who promotes doctor-assisted suicide, planned an ad campaign in advance of presenting ‘Safe Exit’ workshops in Toronto, Vancouver and several US cities in October. However the Television Bureau of Canada (TBC) refused the ads, saying Nitschke’s teaching on how to commit suicide might break Canadian law. The Globe & Mail said the self-regulating body of Canadian broadcasters received a “great volume of emails” opposing the ads, some as a result of a lobbying campaign by the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition (EPC). The article also noted that the Toronto Public Library refused to allow him to speak there on October 13, so he moved his presentation to a Unitarian church. EPC executive director Alex Schadenberg said the ads had never been accepted by the TBC and that in presenting this as ‘a freedom of expression issue,’ the media are just giving Nitschke free publicity.