Saskatchewan Premier says prayer will remain a part of legislature sittings
REGINA – Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall says the opening prayer at the province’s legislature will remain despite a recent Supreme Court ruling.
Wall says the province’s justice department doesn’t believe the top court’s ruling about a prayer at council meetings in Saguenay, Que. has any effect on provincial legislatures or Parliament.
The Saskatchewan prayer, which Wall has posted in a video on his Facebook page, is from the Anglican Book of Common Prayer and asks for God’s favour and help.
It also asks that their work glorifies God’s name and asks for everlasting life through God’s mercy.
In a unanimous judgment released Thursday, the Supreme Court said the reading of a Catholic prayer at council meetings in Saguenay infringes on freedom of conscience and religion.
Wall says he believes that starting the day with reflection is a good thing and he doesn’t see any indication that non-Christians feel excluded by it.
“I have not had one complaint. Not one concern registered. We’re very fortunate in Saskatchewan to have seen unprecedented population growth and we’re attracting people from all over the world,” Wall said Saturday from his home in Swift Current.
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“They all have certainly different beliefs and I’ve just never heard the concern. And that’s why I don’t think there’s any particular call for it to change.”
Regina Mayor Michael Fougere has already announced that the practice of praying before council meetings will stop. But in Oshawa, Ont., Mayor John Henry said the judgment will not change anything in his city.
The New Brunswick legislature will begin with a prayer on Tuesday, Speaker Chris Collins said, but legislature staff are studying the ruling and will forward their findings to a committee.
Wall said the prayer has been around as long as he can remember, and is general.
He also noted that the Constitution recognizes the supremacy of God.
“Our prayer asks for continual help. If any group of people need that help it’s elected people, politicians of the country,” Wall said.
© 2015 The Canadian Press