E-petitions are a new feature of Canada’s federal parliamentary system…..a feature which promises to provide increased access to Parliamentarians.

This new system is designed to allow individuals or groups to write and submit petitions to Parliament.  Every petition requires at least 5 Canadian citizen supporters and the sponsorship of a Member of Parliament to proceed.  Any petition which receives 500 signatures within 120 days are submitted to the House of Commons for response.

This new system will be one that is well worth observation by Canadians.  By June 2016, the system had already collected 111 petitions and the government had issued 3 responses.  Here are just a few examples of the petitions:

Petition e-411 (Islam): https://petitions.parl.gc.ca/en/Petition/Details?Petition=e-411

  • Islam is a religion of over 1.5 billion people worldwide. Since its founding more than 1400 years ago, Muslims have contributed, and continue to contribute, to the positive development of human civilization. This encompasses all areas of human endeavors including the arts, culture, science, medicine, literature, and much more;
  • Recently an infinitesimally small number of extremist individuals have conducted terrorist activities while claiming to speak for the religion of Islam. Their actions have been used as a pretext for a notable rise of anti-Muslim sentiments in Canada; and
  • These violent individuals do not reflect in any way the values or the teachings of the religion of Islam. In fact, they misrepresent the religion. We categorically reject all their activities. They in no way represent the religion, the beliefs and the desire of Muslims to co-exist in peace with all peoples of the world.
We, the undersigned, Citizens and residents of Canada, call upon the House of Commons to join us in recognizing that extremist individuals do not represent the religion of Islam, and in condemning all forms of Islamophobia. 
  • Cell towers emit radiofrequency / microwave radiation which has been classified by the World Health Organization as a class 2b possible human carcinogen;
  • Unlike other possible carcinogens in this category such as chloroform, the emissions from cell towers radiate humans continuously;
  • Studies in Brazil, Israel and Germany show cancer rate increases up to over 40 times higher within 400 meters of a cell tower than beyond 1000 metres;
  • It has been proven by the scientific community that children are more vulnerable to the effects of exposure to radiofrequency/microwave radiation due to their thin skulls and developing brains. No laws currently prevent the installation of cell towers near schools;
  • A Nanos poll indicated that 60% of Canadians are concerned or somewhat concerned about possible health effects related to electromagnetic frequencies. Cell phones and cell towers were the top two sources of electromagnetic frequencies that Canadians were concerned about; and
  • Industry Canada does not monitor emissions once cell towers / antennas are approved, i.e, no one measures the amount of radiation emitted when additional antennas are added.
We, the undersigned, residents of Canada, call upon the Government of Canada to
1. Enact the ALARA principle (As Low As Reasonably Possible) when it comes to radiofrequency/ microwave radiation exposure allowances;
2. Ensure that cellular antennas /towers are kept away from schools and other sensitive areas; and
3. Enforce continuous monitoring during and after the installation of cellular antennas /towers for minimum achievable radiofrequency / microwave radiation levels.
  • The Liberal government has committed to appointing a Chief Science Officer who will ensure government science is fully available to the public, that scientists are able to speak freely about this work, and that scientific analyses are considered when the government makes decisions;
  • The principle of independence is fundamental to scientific integrity;
  • International best practices demonstrate Canada’s new science advisor should have a mandate to provide objective, impartial and apolitical scientific information;
  • Tenure of a position is necessary to provide objective and impartial advice to policy-makers; and
  • First created in 2004, the former Office of National Science Advisor was not established through legislation, lacked institutional independence, and was consequently easily eliminated in 2008 following a change in government;
We, the undersigned, Citizens of Canada, call upon the Government of Canada to establish the position of Chief Science Officer through an act of legislation in order to ensure that its independence and mandate are protected by law.
  • In current federal law, a pre-born child is not recognized as a victim with respect to violent crimes;
  • When a pregnant woman in Canada is assaulted or killed, because we offer no legal protection for pre-born children today, no charges can be laid in the death of the pre-born child;
  • Forcing upon a pregnant woman the death/injury of her pre-born child is a violation of a woman’s right to protect and give life to her child; and
  • The Kaake and Durham families of Windsor, Ontario are grieving the loss of Cassandra and her daughter Molly, who she was thirty-one weeks pregnant with when they were brutally murdered in December 2014.
We, the undersigned, Residents of Canada, call upon the House of Commons to Pass legislation which would recognize pre-born children as separate victims when they are injured or killed during the commission of an offence against their mothers, allowing two charges to be laid against the offender instead of just one.
Petition e-366 (Physician Assisted Death): https://petitions.parl.gc.ca/en/Petition/Details?Petition=e-366
  • In Carter v. Canada (AG), the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that competent and consenting adults who have a grievous and irremediable medical condition that causes enduring and intolerable suffering should be allowed to access Physician-Assisted Death (PAD);
  • The not-for-profit Canadian organization ‘Dying With Dignity’ has determined through extensive research and polling of the Canadian public that the vast majority support choice in end-of-life for dying with dignity, including the legalization of Advance Directives and Physician-Assisted Death;
  • End-of-life experts, professionals and sufferers concur with the findings of ‘Dying With Dignity’ and the majority of Canadians; and
  • Dying with dignity and compassionate end of life through physician-assisted death are not suicide and should not be labelled as such as it creates a biased and derogatory reference;
  • Bill C-14 does not honour Advance Directives; nor the Carter v Canada Supreme Court of Canada Ruling to allow competent and consenting adults who have grievous and irremediable conditions, to self-determine through an Advance Directive, a physician-assisted death.
We, the undersigned, Citizens of Canada, call upon the Government of Canada to legally enable and support competent persons the right to determine their end of life choices should they become grievously and irremediably debilitated, and honour their Advance Directive, including physician-assisted death.
Petition e-263 (physician assisted death): https://petitions.parl.gc.ca/en/Petition/Details?Petition=e-263
  • In Carter v. Canada (AG), the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that competent and consenting adults who have a grievous and irremediable medical condition that causes enduring and intolerable suffering should be allowed to access Physician-Assisted suicide;
  • During testimony at the Special Joint Committee on Physician-Assisted Dying, expert witnesses strongly cautioned against creating an open regime with few safeguards that protect vulnerable Canadians; and
  • The Special Joint Committee on Physician-Assisted Dying refused to act on this advice, leaving vulnerable Canadians at risk.
We, the undersigned, residents of Canada, call upon the Government of Canada to draft legislation that will include: adequate safeguards for vulnerable Canadians – especially those with mental health challenges, clear conscience protection for health-care workers and institutions, and protection of children and those under 18 from Physician Assisted Suicide.
Some of these e-petitions will fail to garner the support they require to justify a response by Parliament; others will be ill-timed to existing legislation (e.g. the physician assisted death petitions above) and as identified by the limited responses by Parliament to date, a great many that do reach Parliament are likely to be dismissed, shuffled to the side or otherwise punted by the politicians.  It is possibly, however, that some e-petitions may result in policy change.  At minimum, these e-petitions offer an opportunity to communicate directly to Parliament on federal issues such as Canada’s blasphemous libel law or other federal policy.  As leading secular citizens of Canada – it is a process which CFIC and its members should monitor and participate in.