Saguenay council ordered to stop prayers and remove religious symbols

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Saguenay council ordered to stop prayers and remove religious symbols

When do we get a Québec forum?


[url= ordered to remove crucifix, stop prayers before meetings[/url]

A Quebec Human Rights Tribunal has ordered the city of Saguenay and its mayor, Jean Tremblay, to remove a crucifix and Sacred Heart statue from city council meeting rooms and stop reciting a prayer before each meeting, saying they discriminate against the freedom of religion and conscience of atheist resident Alain Simoneau of Chicoutimi borough. [...] [Judge Michèle] Pauzé also ordered the city, 200 kilometres north of Quebec City, and Tremblay to pay Simoneau $30,000 in moral and punitive damages.

The complaint was brought forward by Simoneau and the Mouvement laïque du Québec, and heard in 2009. There's more detail in [url= French-language Radio-Canada story[/url].


Catchfire Catchfire's picture

Unionist wrote:
When do we get a Québec forum?



Thanks for the prompt reply!


bagkitty bagkitty's picture

British Columbia called to complain, they don't like being lumped in with us Albertans.

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

We have a Québec forum? Will wonders never cease! Cool


Québec solidaire's co-leader Françoise David has called for the crucifix in the National Assembly to be removed, in the wake of the human rights tribunal's decision for Saguenay. In 2008, the National Assembly voted unanimously to keep Jesus hanging around, but that was before Amir Khadir was elected. Read all about it here (can't find any English equivalent yet):

[url= crucifix restera au Salon bleu[/url]


Henry Patrick

It would be hard for even the antediluvian ACLU to top that one.


Laconic, good. Clear, better.



An evil begun in 325 is being undone. (Laconic and unclear, I fear Wink)


Forgot to post this:

[url=ébec Court of Appeal overturns ban on prayer[/url]

In a decision released on Monday, the Court of Appeal found that reciting a prayer does not breach the city’s obligation of religious neutrality. Referring to the non-denominational character of the prayer and the references to an unspecified God, the Court ruled that the city had not imposed religious views on its citizens, as the prayer did not affect the day-to-day operations of Saguenay.



CCLA wrote:
Referring to the non-denominational character of the prayer and the references to an unspecified God

Right. As long as it's generically monotheist, it barely even counts as religion! Sigh.


The PQ government - which spoke out recently (via Bernard Drainville) against relaxed no-parking rules in effect for about 30 years in CDN-NDG (my borough) accommodating orthodox Jews who can't drive on certain holidays - and which is preparing its so-called "Charter of Québec values" (or secularism charter) for sometime this fall - is having a very hard time deciding what to say or do about this issue:

[url= in city councils a hot potato for the PQ[/url]

Secularism if necessary, but not necessarily secularism.


You'd think that a moment of silence would be the sensible compromise.

Actually, I think these people should read their own damned book, and they can start at Matthew 6:5-7



Here is the text of the (amended) prayer, inserted right into a city by-law:


Dieu tout puissant, nous Te remercions des nombreuses grâces que Tu as accordées à Saguenay et à ses citoyens, dont la liberté, les possibilités d'épanouissement et la paix. Guide-nous dans nos délibérations à titre de membre du conseil municipal et aide-nous à bien prendre conscience de nos devoirs et responsabilités. Accorde-nous la sagesse, les connaissances et la compréhension qui nous permettront de préserver les avantages dont jouit notre ville afin que tous puissent en profiter et que nous puissions prendre de sages décisions.



Almighty God, we give thanks for the great blessings which have been bestowed on Saguenay and its citizens including the gifts of freedom, opportunity and peace that we enjoy. Guide us in our deliberations as municipal councillors, and strengthen us in our awareness of our duties and responsibilities. Grant us wisdom, knowledge, and understanding to preserve the blessings of this city for the benefit of all and to make wise decisions. Amen

If that doesn't denote that the "activité étatique de la Ville" is placed "under religious influence" (see para. 107 of the decision), I don't know what could...

It is also troubling that the Court equates a prayer said at the beginning of meetings in which it is sought that a divine entity guide the proceedings with religious symbols "scattered here and there in public spaces" (my translation) (see paras. 103-104 of the decision).

I hope this will be appealed to the Supreme Court.

Here are some critical reactions to the judgment: columnists Yves Boisvert (whom I often can't stand, but who's right on this issue) and Rima Elkouri (who's generally awesome) and an op-ed in Le Devoir signed by various professors and jurists who work on issues related to the intersection of the state and religion .

(Side note: that prayer is an almost literal reproduction of the prayer that is said at the beginning of each sitting in Parliament. Trouble is, the Charter doesn't apply in that case because the Supreme Court, in 1993, decided that the Charter does not apply to the exercise of parliamentary privilege [which obviously includes the control of its proceedings].)


Bärlüer wrote:

I hope this will be appealed to the Supreme Court.

Ah, I just noticed your hope this morning - so I pulled a few strings:

[url= Court to hear case of municipal council opening meetings with prayer[/url]

Popcorn time!



I hope and pray that they outlaw this discriminatory practice!

And I'd do so even if I were a religious believer. I'd be just as opposed if a government entity were forcing people to proclaim that they are atheist.


Good news!

I expect the Human Rights Commission here in SK will be watching that decision as well.

I can't believe our council dug in its heels and wouldn't even opt for a moment of silence - something that would have satisfied the complainant.



It's good news only if the MLQ wins: remember that the second court ruled in favour of the prayer. I also have no confidence in the Supreme Court's descisions when it comes to religion and religious privileges.

I would wagger on a 50/50 chance either way. After all, where is it written that Canada is a secular state?


I share Matthieu's concerns. But let's agree that it would have been worse had the Supreme Court denied leave to appeal. At least now, if they rule the wrong way, they'll have to explain in writing why the sight of Saguenay councillors making the sign of the Holy Cross on their bodies before according corrupt contracts is an acceptable way to do business in this country.