CFI Canada: Setting Our Agenda

 

Ireligion expertsn the autumn of 2013, CFI Canada issued a call for your feedback on our priorities.  At the time we said:

CFI Canada works to combat the harm of superstition, pseudoscience and religion by advancing the values of reason, science and secularism through education, activism and community.

CFI Canada is in the midst of planning for 2014. Our mandate covers secularism, atheism, pseudoscience and skepticism. What do you think are the most important initiatives we should be working on, on your behalf?

See the original post here: http://centreforinquiry.ca/cfi-canada-2014-moving-forward/

We received very valuable feedback and I want to take a few moments to thank those who took time to share constructive comments;  I  also want to communicate a bit about how we plan to incorporate that feedback into our work.

Political Work: Secularism is, by very definition, concerned with government and politics.  Several of the recommendations we received involve advocacy or political work.  This is a significant priority for CFI.  Your feedback included:

  1. Reverse the muzzling of government scientists and support Evidence for Democracy
  2. Advocate for the end to preferential tax treatment of churches and religious organizations
  3. Advocate for health Canada guarantees of effective products (homeopathy)
  4. Defunding of catholic school system and advocacy of Secular School Systems
  5. Freedom of Religion Foundation
  6. Obtain clear statements of support for separation of church and state from political parties
  7. Advocate for Humanist Officiants

Growth of the CFI Canada Humanist Community and Humanism:  CFI Canada has seen terrific growth since our founding in 2007.  I’d very much like to see a CFI Canada Branch in every province of the country.  To grow responsibly, I will be working with the Board of Directors and community leaders to establish budget and planning guidelines to establish new branches and program work.

Recently I have circulated to leadership volunteers of CFI Canada a Statement of Values which establishes Humanism as a core value of CFI Canada.  As a foundation document, this Statement of Values will establish CFI Canada’s definition of Humanism and our path to pursue this essential part of the CFI Canada mandate.  Your feedback included:

  1. Promotion and Education of Humanism
  2. Define Secularism and oppose distortions of secularism
  3. Advocate for Humanist Officiants
  4. Promote a productive life outside of organized religion
  5. Provide services targeted to older adults and retired people
  6. Increase the number of events and services

International Status of CFI Canada: CFI Canada is a part of the global movement of Humanist, secular, skeptical and science-oriented organizations…and even more directly we are one of the growing number of Centre For Inquiry organizations around the world.   CFI Canada can play a valuable role in promoting Centre For Inquiry as an international movement.  Your feedback included:

  1. Provide help for victims of faith-based persecution around the world
  2. International Partnerships

Our Science Mandate: Many members of CFI Canada value our work to debunk pseudo-science and to promote the well-being of Canadians. This pseudo-science mandate is something that will see greater attention from CFI Canada in the coming months.  Your Feedback included:

  1. Provide programming or scientific literacy
  2. Provide support for Medically assisted dying
  3. Address global warning science
  4. Human Evolution Exhibits at Museums
  5. Cleanly define our agenda ….don’t dilute and confuse the mission
  6. Investigation of Pseudoscience infiltration of healthcare

Strategic Planning Process:  CFI Canada has a very big mandate. It is important that we set priorities and be clear about what we are able to work on.  As one of our respondents indicated, we must work within available Time, Effort and Available funds.

I have recommended to the Board of Directors that 3 volunteer Chair roles be established at the Board of Directors level.  These are: Chair of Humanist Education and Ethics, Chair of Human Rights Programming, and continuation of the Chair of Scientific Skepticism.  Each of these chair roles will be tasked to assist in setting an achievable and focused agenda for advancing our programming. Your Feedback included:

  1. Time, Effort and Available Funds
  2. Run a “How do we know campaign”
  3. Offer a Winnipeg conference

Feedback is essential to the development of our strategies and operations.  It is important that CFI Canada stays connected to you, the members and supporters.  All of the feedback I’ve noted here will be included in our strategic plan.  I can’t promise that every item will be acted on this year, but I can promise that we won’t lose track of your priorities and I will be personally seeking creative ways to make advances on these issues within the next 3 years.

CFI Canada is a volunteer-driven charity – our growth and ability to undertake this work will be based on volunteer hours (your time) and the financial support of donors and members.   I encourage you to get involved, and stay involved so we can build CFI Canada’s Community together.

Please feel free to contact me at your convenience to share your thoughts, concerns or ideas.  My email address is ned@cficanada.ca.

Eric Adriaans

National Executive Director