City council votes to allow bus ads that question God
Ottawa city council has approved a motion that will allow billboard bus ads that question the existence of God to appear on the city's bus fleet.
"The advice from the legal department is that we don't have a legal leg to stand on to prevent these kinds of ads on the buses," Coun. Diane Holmes told CTV Ottawa on Wednesday.
OC Transpo officials previously decided not to allow the ads, which read: "There's probably no God, now stop worrying and enjoy your life."
"It would have helped if OC Transpo had asked our legal department for advice before they took a decision on this and we might have prevented all this controversy," said Holmes.
"If it was any kind of hatred that was being promulgated that would be entirely different, but this is an open religious discussion that most of my residents feel should be allowed to continue," she said.
But not everyone feels the same way. Despite council approval, opinion among many Ottawa residents remains divided.
"Religion is just not for everyone to talk about on the side of the buses," said one Ottawa resident.
"I think it's a great thing that you have different opinions on a bus," added another.
Meanwhile, supporters of the ads say although they recognize some people may take issue with their message, they believe that message should still be delivered.
"If somebody says they believe in God I don't get upset and find it offensive and objectionable, but apparently it doesn't work both ways for everybody," said David Burton of the Ottawa Humanist Association.
The campaign started in Europe and has recently gone global. In Canada, the ads can be found on buses in Calgary, Toronto and London.
With a report from CTV Ottawa's Catherine Lathem