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Why an Ottawa city councilor opposed Michael Olsen’s volunteer appointment

Ottawa Credit: Padraic Ryan/Wikipedia/Creative Commons

Ottawa Credit: Padraic Ryan/Wikipedia/Creative Commons

It was a bizarre move, and some would argue a sign of the times, but a city of Ottawa councilor recently opposed the appointment of Michael Olsen to a volunteer position on the Ottawa’s transit board.

With a population of nearly a million, Ottawa is the capital city of Canada and the city’s transit board has set aside one position for a member of the public.

Over 92 people applied for the position on the board and it had been narrowed down to three and according to Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson, he understood that Olsen was the transit commission’s top choice.

So why did city Councillor Shawn Menard oppose Olsen’s appointment?

Menard opposed it because Olsen, a retired Federal employee, is actively pro-life. A shocked Olsen told Lifesitenews, “What does this have to do with transit?”


Fortunately when Menard tried to thwart Olsen’s appointment, the city clerk, who also happened to be a lawyer, told city council that it couldn’t reject Olsen’s appointment because of his belief on abortion because it is protected under Canada’s Charter of Rights.

Though Olsen eventually won the appointment with 16 councilors voting in favor, nevertheless it was shocking to see that six other councilors joined Menard in voting against Olsen’s appointment.

The fact that Olsen was challenged because of his beliefs on abortion, so shocked Allan Hubley, the chair of the Transit commission, he phoned Olsen to apologize and later called on Menard to apologize to Olsen.

In an interview with Lifesitenews, Hubley said:

“I suggested that Mr. Menard owes Mr. Olsen an apology for raising his religious beliefs as a means to disqualify him from volunteering or working at the city.

To date Mr. Menard has not expressed any interest in changing his view that any member of the public holding similar beliefs should not be able to participate in municipal government.”

Olsen told Lifesitenews, he is not expecting an apology anytime soon, but said even without it he has chosen to wholeheartedly forgive Menard.

In the Book of Revelation, John saw a time when people would not be able to buy or sell unless they took the Mark of the Beast on the hand or forehead:

16 He also caused everyone (small and great, rich and poor, free and slave) to obtain a mark on their right hand or on their forehead. 17 Thus no one was allowed to buy or sell things unless he bore the mark of the beast—that is, his name or his number. (Revelation 13:16-17 NET)

Though it appears this involves a physical mark of some type, some have wondered if the inability to buy or sell will actually be tied to one’s beliefs. This is because these verses in Revelation are similar to a passage in Deuteronomy, where the Israelis were told to tie God’s commandments on their hands and forehead as a sign of their commitment to God and the Torah.

Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. (Deuteronomy 6:4-8 NIV)

In an act referred to as the tefillin still practiced today, Orthodox Jews tie small leather boxes called phylacteries containing verses from the Torah on their hand and forehead during times of prayer.

Though the Mark of the Beast may involve an actual physical mark, does it similarly speak of one’s commitment to a different belief system?

However, I don’t believe these attempts to stop Olsen from being appointed is a sign of the Mark of the Beast that John referred to, nevertheless it shows some are already prepared to limit a person’s rightful participation in society because of his or her beliefs.


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