Atheist billboard ads rejected in Vancouver

An atheist group is considering a human rights complaint after it says a billboard company refused to run its advertisements in Vancouver.

Pattison Outdoor says changes to the ad were requested to reflect company guidelines

The Centre for Inquiry Canada says this billboard design was rejected by Pattison Outdoor. (The Centre for Inquiry Canada)

An atheist group is considering a human rights complaint after it says a billboard company refused to run its advertisements in Vancouver.

The Centre for Inquiry Canada created a billboard design depicting a smiling woman alongside a few phrases written in a biblical style.

“Jenn 13:1,” it reads. "Praying won’t help. Doing will.

Below the group's name, the ad says: "Without God. We're all good."

Pat O’Brien, board member for The Centre for Inquiry Canada, said the organization submitted the ads to Pattison Outdoor but was told they were unacceptable.

“They didn't really give us a good reason why they turned us down. In fact when we asked for some guidelines, they said they didn't have any guidelines that they could give us.”

But Randy Otto, president of Pattison Outdoor, told CBC News his company has nothing against the organization or its ads.

“They took a stand which said, here it is, you run it as it is or we'll take our ad and go away. And now they're suggesting that taking their ad and going away is somehow a violation of their human rights,” he said.

“I mean, I guess they can certainly do what they want.”

Otto said changes to the ad were requested to reflect company guidelines, but he did not know specifically what changes to the ad were requested.

According to Pattison Outdoor’s website, the company is Canada's largest out-of-home advertising company with a market share of over 45 per cent.

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.