Stop Faith Based Bigotry: Canada’s Only Charity for Science and Secularism Defends Ottawa Pride Week Events

Ottawa – When Mark J. Maharaj, member of Centre for Inquiry Canada (CFIC), heard that protesters were threatening Ottawa’s Family Pride Picnic, he turned to CFIC’s Ottawa members to help make the event a safe one.

The CFIC is Canada’s only charity dedicated to the promotion of science and secularism. The CFIC’s Ottawa branch has been marching in the Ottawa Pride Parade since 2009.

Although most Canadians support 2SLGBTQ+ rights, Faith based bigotry continues to be a problem. On Saturday, a religiously motivated protester disrupted another family-oriented Pride event in Bells Corners, Drag Queen Story Time, quoting scripture and voicing hateful, homophobic slurs.

This prompted Ten Oaks Project, a local organization supporting children and youth from 2SLGBTQ+ identities and families, to reach out for support to ensure the safety of participants in the annual Pride week picnic, held Sunday in Hintonburg Park. About 70 volunteers responded to the call for help, including members of the CFIC Ottawa Branch.

“I worry that people have become complacent,” says Maharaj, who is active in Ottawa’s secular and skeptical communities. “This is a sad and unpleasant reminder that faith-based bigotry continues to be a significant problem. As Canadians who believe in social justice, we must continue to guard against it.”

Most barriers to equal rights for the 2SLGBTQ+ community are religiously motivated. For this reason, CFIC has staunchly supported the protection of 2SLGBTQ+ rights, including participating in the campaign to create Gay-Straight Alliances (GSA’s) in public schools. Statistics Canada reports that sexual orientation is the third most common motivation for hate crimes, following race or ethnicity and religion. In 2018, there were 173 sexual orientation hate crimes in Canada.

CFIC’s national organization denounces faith-based bigotry, and promotes decision making based on critical thinking, rather than religious ideology. CFIC branches across Canada branches participate in and support Pride events.

CFIC will continue to support the rights of all individuals being persecuted based on the religious beliefs of others. CFIC actively engages in peaceful community events that promote social justice and human rights.

[In this release CFIC follows the lead of Capital Pride in using 2SLGBTQ+ in reference to the community, rather than the more common usage LGTBQ. 2SLGBTQ+ is the short form of Two-Spirited, Lesbian, Gay, Bi, Trans, Queer, Plus]


CFIC works to build a more peaceful, inclusive and respectful society. As a multicultural society in Canada, it is essential that we treat all beliefs – including non-belief – equally and fairly. We actively support neutrality on matters of religious belief so that the conflicts, oppression and strife from around the world don’t find a new home in Canada.


We are Canada’s only national non-profit with the mission of promoting critical thinking, science and secularism.