Mr. Speaker, an optimist would say that the objective is to not place favour on any particular faith. A cynic might say it is simply to diminish the role of faith and the role of religious services. That is just speculating on motive. I would hope that the motive is the view that this does not place favour on any faith.
There is nothing in the section that favours one faith over another. I suppose it favours those who are practising over those who are not and do not need that kind of protection, but that is not a difference that troubles me. The fact that I do not regularly go to church means I do not need any particular protection. I am not looking for it.
The concern is for those who do wish to attend a particular service. I do not know if the member has noticed, but there are certain religious cleavages at a global level taking place that are exported. It is easy to whip up that intolerance. When we say we want to be tolerant, we want to protect people in that context. If disagreeing with or taking exception to someone's faith is allowed to be manifested by walking into and disrupting a service or threatening people wishing to attend a service, saying it is being done in the name of freedom of speech, using the Pussy Riot example, I am not sure it is a desirable thing. There are so many places in which to exercise freedom of speech without having to then infringe upon someone else's rights.
Right now there is a section that protects that special place where people are worshipping, whatever faith they are. It is now protected, and we are going to have an act of the legislature that takes away that protection. In judicial interpretation, legislative interpretation by a judge, one would ask why they were doing this. Clearly, there was an intention that it should not enjoy special protection. I do not think that is wise in this day and age.
When it comes time to weigh those competing rights under the charter, what we are doing is diminishing the special protection of freedom of religion right, thanks to this section.