Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Is that your final answer, John?

OC Transpo's John Donaldson has really dug himself into a hole here:

Donaldson stressed the decision [to reject atheist bus ads] is not based on what he personally finds offensive, but rather what he and his informal committee thinks other people would find offensive. He would not speculate when asked if a sign that said “There Probably Is a God” would also be rejected.

“That’s kind of hypothetical,” he said. “There are lots of ways of phrasing things in a harmless, inoffensive manner and there are others that are more provocative.”

"Hypothetical?" I'm sorry, John, but you don't get that convenient escape hatch. After all, John:

“Just because of the advanced publicity on this campaign, we already know that people will be offended,” Donaldson said.

In other words, John, those ads weren't rejected based on actual protests; rather, they were rejected based on what you perceived as likely, future hypothetical protests. And once you've taken that stand, John, you're kind of stuck having to address any future "hypotheticals" as well, wouldn't you say? After all, John, once you've based your case on a total hypothetical, you don't get to claim that anyone else's hypotheticals are out of bounds. But wait ... it gets better.

Over at JJ's place, Jennifer Smith makes the claim:

Just to play Devil’s Advocate for a moment (ha ha), the TTC does apparently allow ‘religious’ advertising, while OC Transpo (officially) does not.

Now, I have no idea of knowing if that's true, but if it is, then John is in even more trouble. Let's refresh our memories:

[Donaldson] would not speculate when asked if a sign that said “There Probably Is a God” would also be rejected.

Um ... what? If it is in fact true that religious advertising of any kind is not accepted by OC Transpo, then one has to wonder why Donaldson's reply to the above wasn't simply, "Nope, we wouldn't take that either." After all, it's clearly religious, so it would seem that Donaldson's position would be an absolute no-brainer. Instead, given what is clearly religious advertising, Donaldson now refuses to take a position. How ... convenient.

And, not surprisingly, we're not done here. Back in a bit with more smackdown.

HAHAHAHAHAHA!!! As Dr. Dawg points out, someone's life is about to get very uncomfortable:

The chair of Ottawa's transit committee will demand that city staff explain why they refused to allow atheist ads on city buses, even though ads quoting the Bible have been approved by the city and could appear on buses at any time.

And since John is all about the public outrage, I believe you should give John a call and let him know how totally, totally offended you are by the horrific and violent misogyny of the "Good" Book. You can reach him here:

John Donaldson
Email: john.donaldson@ottawa.ca
Telephone: 613-842-3636 x2430

Tell him I sent you. And be polite -- don't call him a "douchebag" unless the situation demands it.


Dr.Dawg said...

OC Transpo, it is reported today, has already approved religious ads.

That kinda drags Donaldson's prevarications into the pitiless glare of the noon sun, doesn't it?

Mike said...

They have ads, both inside and outside of buses and shelters, for

Birthright - a Catholic based anti-abortion "Crisis Pregnancy Center".

First Place Pregnancy Centre - another anti-choice centre that is religious based and less than truthful about its basis.

The Alpha Course - a full-bore Christian proselytizing organization, whose very raison d'etre is to convert people to Christianity. That Flash ad on the site is the one that is on many OC Transpo buses.

I'm sure there are others (a few Muslim ones if I remember)

So clearly Donaldson is a liar.

fern hill said...

And these godful ads on the bus shelters.

thwap said...

For the record, there were blatant anti-abortion ads* up in bus shelters in Hamilton that were taken down after numerous complaints.

*No graphic pictures, but the message being the humanity of the fetus and how late-term some abortions were.

CC said...


I'm not sure it's fair to call Donaldson a "liar." I don't recall him stating that religious ads were forbidden on OC Transpo -- that was a claim made by Jennifer Smith, and Donaldson may very well be unaware of that policy, since he seems embarrassingly clueless about almost everything else.

It's certainly fair to accuse him of being howlingly inconsistent and hypocritical, but I'd hold off on the "liar" label until we see some stronger evidence.

Jennifer Smith said...

The Canadian Atheist Bus Campaign reported here that OC Transpo's official response to them was:

“The Advertising Standards section of our contract specifically excludes religious advertising which might be offensive to transit users, so we cannot approve this ad”

Now, there a couple of ways you can interpret that sentence - either they consider all religious advertising to be potentially offensive, or they only prohibit religious advertising that is also offensive. I tend towards the former (otherwise, why wouldn't they prohibit ALL potentially offensive ads?), but I could be wrong.

mikmik said...

Okay, I'll say it. Secular/atheist aint religious viewpoints. The def. of secular is like: temporal based, grounded in reality, etc.

BTW, I find ads that don't show nekkid women offensive. I mean, SMART naked ones. I didn't say that I was grounded in reality.