Justin Trottier

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Justin Trottier
Born Justin Trottier
(1982-12-04) 4 December 1982 (age 31)
Montreal, Quebec
Residence Toronto, Ontario
Nationality Canadian
Education Bachelor of Applied Science, Engineering
Alma mater University of Toronto
Occupation Political Candidate, Executive Director of an Educational Charitable Organization, Writer, Public Speaker
Years active 2002-present
Relatives Lorne Trottier

Justin Trottier (born December 4, 1982) is an English-Canadian writer, media personality, non profit executive director and former political candidate. He founded the Centre for Inquiry Canada in 2007, becoming the first full time Executive Director for a Canadian humanist organization. In 2009 he was the national spokesperson for the Canadian atheist bus campaign. He appears weekly as a media personality on prime time radio and television on Talk Radio AM640 and the Sun News Network. In 2014 he founded the Canadian Centre for Men and Families. He was also a Green Party candidate for the 2011 Ontario provincial election.

Early life[edit]

He is a graduate of the University of Toronto with a degree in Engineering Science. His uncle, Lorne Trottier, is the co-founder of Matrox computing.

Freedom of Thought and Secular Humanist Advocacy Work[edit]

In 2005 Trottier founded the University of Toronto Secular Alliance with Jennie Fiddes. The organization successfully lobbied for the secularization of the University of Toronto's graduation ceremony through the removal of convocation prayers.[1]

In March 2006 Trottier opened the Secular Freethought Centre, the first community centre in Canada for secular humanists. By January 2007 the Secular Freethought Centre had become the Centre for Inquiry Canada (CFI) and Trottier was hired as its first Executive Director. CFI currently operates 10 branches in Canada as a national educational charity. Trottier served as chief spokesperson and led the national office, which coordinates its educational programs, campus and public outreach, social and community services, multimedia, and legal work.

In June 2010, Trottier hired Nathan Phelps, the estranged son of Pastor Fred Phelps of the notoriously anti-gay Westboro Baptist Church, to head up the Calgary, Alberta, branch of the Centre for Inquiry. Trottier's Canadian Campaign for Free Expression sparked the Centre for Inquiry's annual Blasphemy Day.[2]

Trottier co-founded the One School System Network which advocates for the defunding of the tax-payer supported Roman Catholic School System in Ontario.[3] The One School System Network lobbied against the Conservative Party leader John Tory's 2007 election campaign proposal to fund all private faith-based schools in Ontario fully.[4] Trottier is one of the coalition's primary spokespeople,[5] during which he debated then Education Minister Kathleen Wynne on live television.[6]

Trottier participates in interfaith public events, including the Hamilton World Religion Conference.[7]

He was a guest speaker at The Amazing Meeting, the largest annual skepticism event, hosted by the James Randi Educational Foundation in Las Vegas July 2011.[8]

In February 2014 Trottier participated in the inaugural debate of the Chesterton Debate Series, organized by the Office of Catholic Youth and the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Toronto.[9] The event, "Is there a God?", was moderated by Stephen LeDrew, a host on CP24. In June 2014 he filed an affidavit and was granted intervenor status by the Supreme Court of Canada on behalf of the Canadian Secular Alliance, in the case of Mouvement Laique Quebecois et Alain Simoneau v. Ville de Sagueanay, a Supreme Court of Canada case looking at the constitutionality of government prayer.

Atheist bus campaign[edit]

Trottier is the founder and former President of the Freethought Association of Canada. During his leadership he acted as one of the primary spokespersons for the 2009 Canadian Atheist Bus Campaign. The Canadian Atheist Bus Campaign received considerable media attention, including coverage by CBC, the National Post, Global TV, CityTV,[10] the Globe and Mail,[11] CTV News,[12] This Magazine,[13] Kelowna Daily Courier,[14] Crossroad Television,[15] and other outlets.

Trottier appeared on an episode of TV Ontario's The Agenda, hosted by Steve Paikin, to discuss advertising atheism.[16]

The Canadian Atheist Bus ads sparked counter campaigns in response, which Trottier publicly supported, including an ad sponsored by Syed Sohawardy of the Islamic Supreme Council of Canada and another by the United Church of Canada. Trottier was noted for championing free speech rights for all groups that had provocative messages censored in public space. A variety of cities refused to run the ads, although some withdrew their prohibition after a Supreme Court ruling found banning political or controversial ads a violation of the free speech provision in the Canadian constitution.[17] In May 2011, he published a video investigating missing atheist ads in Kelowna, BC, arguing the city failed to protect the ads and to adequately support the free speech of citizens.[18]

Media work[edit]

Since January 2011, Trottier has appeared regularly on the John Oakley Show's Tuesday morning Culture War segment on Toronto Talk Radio AM640 on Corus Entertainment.[19] His debate opponents have tended to be conservative religious leaders, including Reverend Charles McVety, Pastor Scott Masson, and Rabbi Mendel Kaplan.

Trottier was a guest on The Michael Coren Show's Faith Matters panel about once a month from May 2008 until the show went off the air in July 2011.[20] Trottier is a frequent guest on The Rob Breakenridge Show on AM770 Calgary Radio.[21]

In 2014 Trottier became a weekly guest on the "Holy War" debate on The Arena with Michael Coren on the Sun News Network

In 2010 Trottier was the skeptical voice on the pilot episode of The Conspiracy Show with Richard Syrett, airing on VisionTV.[22] He subsequently became a regular guest, speaking on crop circles, the Shroud of Turin and freemasonry.

Trottier has appeared on CBC's The National,[22] CTV's Canada AM[23] Global's 16:9, twice on TVO's The Agenda,[24][25] CH TV news, and CP24. In January 2011 Trottier was featured on the cover of Eye Weekly (now The Grid) magazine.[26] In June 2011 interviews with Trottier were a major component of Vision TV's two-part documentary "Godless" [27]

During 2008 Trottier was the secular humanist columnist for the Globe and Mail's online "Faith and Ethics" panel. In April 2009, he was invited to become a contributor to the National Post's online Holy Post blog.[28]

Science Advocacy[edit]

In 2005 Trottier joined the Board of Directors of the Canadian Space Society and had served as the Society's External Director and as the managing editor of its publication, the Canadian Space Gazette. In 2012 Trottier became the Executive Producer and Host of The Star Spot Radio Show and Podcast.[29][30] The program is aired on The Scope (radio) at Ryerson University.[31]

Canadian Centre for Men and Families[edit]

In 2014 Trottier led the campaign to fund-raise and build the Canadian Centre for Men and Families, the first community space in Toronto for social services, workshops and support groups, directed at boys and men.[citation needed] The Canadian Centre for Men and Families opened in downtown Toronto August 2014 with programs including grief counseling, sexual trauma support, anger management, suicide prevention, fathering, tutoring and mentorship.[citation needed]

Political career[edit]

In 2011, he became the Green Party of Ontario candidate for the Parkdale-High Park riding in the 2011 Ontario general election.[32] Incumbent Cheri DiNovo kept her seat.[33]


  1. ^ "Prayer not necessary". gazette.uwo.ca/Citytv.com. 2006-03-15. Retrieved 2011-08-10. 
  2. ^ "Did you celebrate Blasphemy Day?". usatoday.com. 2009-02-12. 
  3. ^ "One system teaches kids to learn, live together". canada.com. 2014-08-09. 
  4. ^ "End public funding of religious schools: education activists". www.canada.com. 2014-08-09. 
  5. ^ "Catholic School Funding Protest". cbc.ca. 2010-09-13. 
  6. ^ "Justin Trottier-end public funds to religious schools-Part 1". youtube.com. 2007-07-15. 
  7. ^ "Six faiths, many Gods — one peaceful gathering". http://www.thespec.com. 2014-08-09. 
  8. ^ "TAM 2011 Speakers". www.amazingmeeting.com. 2014-08-09. 
  9. ^ "Is there a god?". Office of Catholic Youth. 2014-08-09. 
  10. ^ "'No God' Ads, Soon To Appear On TTC Vehicles, Spark Heated Debate". Citytv.com. 2009-01-29. Retrieved 2011-01-17. 
  11. ^ "Atheists hope (don't pray) to bring ads to Toronto". theglobeandmail.com. 2009-01-16. Retrieved 2011-08-10. 
  12. ^ "Atheists' transit campaign attracting interest". ctv.ca. 2009-01-16. Retrieved 2011-08-10. 
  13. ^ "Atheist bus ads may be crossing the pond". blog.thismagazine.ca. 2009-01-16. 
  14. ^ "Atheist transit ads proposed for Toronto could roll into other Canadian cities". kelownadailycourier.ca. 2009-01-16. 
  15. ^ "Faith Journal". youtube.com. 2009-11-07. 
  16. ^ "Your Agenda: Advertising Atheism". tvo.org. 2009-02-12. 
  17. ^ "Transit ad ban violates free expression: Supreme Court". xtra.ca. 2009-07-10. 
  18. ^ "Stolen Atheist Ads Investigated by CFI Leader in Kelowna". youtube.com. 2011-05-15. 
  19. ^ "John Oakley Show". 640toronto.com. 
  20. ^ "The Michael Coren Show". ctstv.com. 
  21. ^ "The Rob Breakenridge Show". qr77.com. 
  22. ^ a b "The Conspiracy Show with Richard Syrett: Season 1, Episode 1 Pilot (8 Sep. 2010)". imdb.com. 
  23. ^ "CTV's Canada AM, Religious groups counter atheist bus ads". Toronto.ctv.ca. Retrieved 2011-01-17. 
  24. ^ The Agenda, Advertising Atheism http://www.tvo.org/cfmx/tvoorg/theagenda/index.cfm?page_id=7&bpn=779432&ts=2009-02-12%2020:00:35.0
  25. ^ Free Speech: At What Cost? http://theagenda.tvo.org/episode/203575/the-election-agenda-and%2C-go-free-or-go-home%3F
  26. ^ "The war on god (and karma and acupuncture and wizards)". eyeweekly.com. 2011-01-05. 
  27. ^ "Godless". facebook.com. 
  28. ^ "Holy Post". National Post. Retrieved 2011-01-17. 
  29. ^ "The Star Spot explores the unknown". The Varsity. Retrieved 2014-08-09. 
  30. ^ "The Star Spot". The Star Spot. Retrieved 2014-08-09. 
  31. ^ "The Star Spot on The Scope at Ryerson". www.thescopeatryerson.ca. Retrieved 2014-08-09. 
  32. ^ "Justin Trottier Candidate Page". Retrieved 2011-07-22. 
  33. ^ "PARKDALE-HIGH PARK: DiNovo keeps riding orange". Retrieved 2011-10-28. 

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