Skip to content

Secular group petitions B.C. municipalities to stop prayer at meetings

‘We’re asking for specific commitments that these communities will end the unconstitutional practice’
(File photo)

The BC Humanist Association (BCHA) has written to seven municipalities that it identified as including prayers in their 2022 inaugural council meetings, asking for confirmation the practice will not happen again.

Despite a 2015 ruling by the Supreme Court of Canada, the BCHA claims some communities across the country continue to open their council meetings with prayers.

The seven municipalities are Vancouver, Delta, Colwood, West Kelowna, Parksville, Belcarra, and Tumbler Ridge.

In 2018, the BCHA identified 26 B.C. municipalities that included prayer during their inaugural meetings. The association advocated for the end of the practice and by 2022 only seven included prayers.

The findings were documented in a BCHA report, We Yelled at Them Until They Stopped, released earlier this month.

The BCHA has written to the seven communities asking for a “commitment to refrain from including prayers” in future inaugural meetings.

Municipal staff were asked to reply by Dec. 31 or the BCHA will refer the matter to legal counsel for further consideration and remedies.

“We’re not going to wait three years to see if the next council decides to listen to the Supreme Court of Canada,” said Ian Bushfield, executive director. “We’re asking for specific commitments today that these communities will end the unconstitutional practice.”

READ MORE: Does prayer have a place in the B.C. Legislature?

Gary Barnes

About the Author: Gary Barnes

Journalist and broadcaster for three decades.
Read more