MEDIA ADVISORY: Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission Affirms Separation of Religion and Government
SASKATOON, SK, Apr. 14, 2016 – Although the Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission (SHRC) has dismissed Ashu M. G. Solo’s prayer recitation case against Councillor Randy Donauer and the City of Saskatoon, they affirmed the separation of religion and government. Donauer tried to lead a diverse audience in a Christian prayer on April 18, 2012 at a Volunteer Appreciation Banquet organized by the Mayor's Office.
SHRC found that a one-time prayer recitation did not cause sufficient harm to breach the Saskatchewan Human Rights Code, but that ongoing prayer recitations would. Judge David Arnot, chief commissioner of SHRC, wrote, “The adoption of a general practice of reciting prayers at municipal events is contrary to the Code.” His full decision is available at
“Regardless of Judge Arnot’s decision on my civil rights case, I’m glad that filing this case caused the city to stop prayer recitations at civic events,” Solo said. “Other municipalities should heed the chief commissioner saying that a general practice of prayer recitations is contrary to the Saskatchewan Human Rights Code. Donauer said that he was just expressing his beliefs. He was abusing his government office to get other people to pray according to his beliefs.”
Justin Trottier, board member of the Canadian Secular Alliance, said, “The Canadian Secular Alliance is thankful that the Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission recognized it’s inappropriate to have prayer recitations at city events and that the city has discontinued this discriminatory practice.”
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Ashu M. G. Solo
Canadian Secular Alliance