34,300,083 (July 2012 est.)
GDP PER CAPITA
$41,100 (2011 est.)
Roman Catholic 42.6%, Protestant 23.3% (United Church 9.5%, Anglican 6.8%, Baptist 2.4%, Lutheran 2%), other Christian 4.4%, Muslim 1.9%, other and unspecified 11.8%, none 16% (2001 census)
Canada is an overwhelmingly Christian country, though the role of religion in public life has waned in recent decades. French settlement beginning in the 17th century established a Roman Catholic francophone population in Lower Canada, now Quebec, followed by English settlement that brought Anglicans and other Protestants to Upper Canada, now Ontario. The religious, cultural, and political antagonism between Canadian Protestants and Catholics remained a central theme of Canadian history. The most recent vote for Quebec’s secession from Canada, held in 1995, was defeated by only 1%. The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees freedom of religion and prohibits religiously based discrimination. Provinces are permitted to fund religious education in public schools, leading to funding of Catholic education in Catholic-majority areas like Quebec, and funding of Protestant education in much of the rest of the country.
(1) Every individual is equal before and under the law and has the right to the equal protection and equal benefit of the law without discrimination and, in particular, without discrimination based on race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, sex, age or mental or physical disability.
(2) Subsection (1) does not preclude any law, program or activity that has as its object the amelioration of conditions of disadvantaged individuals or groups including those that are disadvantaged...
February 16, 2005
Everyone has the following fundamental freedoms:
(a) freedom of conscience and religion;
(b) freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication;
(c) freedom of peaceful assembly; and
(d) freedom of association.
Religious leaders have strong views both for and against this legislation. They should express them. Certainly, many of us in this House, myself included, have a strong faith, and we value that faith and its influence on the decisions we make. But all of us have been elected to serve here as parliamentarians. And, as public legislators, we are responsible for serving all Canadians and protecting the rights of all Canadians. We will be influenced by our faith but we also have an obligation to...
April 5, 2004
We as a nation and as a people take great pride in the fact that women and men and children from around the world are able to come here [...] to a country in which they can express themselves with the deepest freedom and be themselves with the deepest joy, all without fear of persecution or harassment, without fear of hateful slurs being spray-painted on their front door. In Canada, we celebrate our diversity, for it makes us stronger. And because of this we are the envy of so many in the...
April 9, 2006
Public policy is supposed to reflect democratic opinion, and public opinion is shaped by a wide variety of influences including personal philosophy, economic and social background, life experience and religious beliefs. It is perfectly legitimate for citizens and legislators to take into account their own deeply held faith convictions in developing public policy, provided that people remain open to the faith and philosophical perspective of others. [...] Canada is a multicultural and...
February 16, 2005
Many new Canadians chose this country, fleeing regimes that did and do persecute religious, ethnic and political minorities. They know what real human rights abuses are. They know that recognizing traditional marriage in law while granting equal benefits to same sex couples is not a human rights abuse akin to what they may have seen in Rwanda or China or Iran. [...] New Canadians know that their deeply held cultural traditions and religious belief in the sanctity of marriage as a union of one...