Supreme Court of Canada rules Saguenay council must drop prayers

May 5, 2015


By The Canadian Press

The Supreme Court of Canada has ruled the municipal council in the Quebec town of Saguenay cannot open its meetings with a prayer.

In a unanimous decision today, the country’s top court said reciting a Catholic prayer at council meetings infringes on freedom of conscience and religion.

The ruling puts an end to a nine-year legal battle that began with a complaint filed by atheist Alain Simoneau and a secular-rights organization against Saguenay Mayor Jean Tremblay.

In 2011, Quebec’s human rights tribunal ordered an end to the prayers, demanded that a crucifix in the city council chamber be removed and awarded damages to Simoneau.

But the outspoken mayor fought back, raising money from supporters through the city’s website. Tremblay said it was a battle for Quebec’s Roman Catholic heritage.

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9 comments on “Supreme Court of Canada rules Saguenay council must drop prayers

  • But the outspoken mayor fought back, raising money from supporters through the city’s website. Tremblay said it was a battle for Quebec’s Roman Catholic heritage.

    The sheeples will follow their leading sheeps’ guidance on the requirements of their imaginary shepherd, and pour money into the missionary cause of promoting the meme!

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  • OP:

    Tremblay said it was a battle for Quebec’s Roman Catholic heritage.

    Or as Hitchens put it:

    “No child’s behind left”.

    Some bloody “heritage”, – and not one to boast about either. Bloody bully ) bhoys, (or worse), the Catholic clergy.

    (Just my opinion Ewan.)

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  • 3
    NearlyNakedApe says:

    This is kind of old news (Apr 15) but it’s good to see it mentionned here since it is relevant to secularism. I am happy about the Supreme Court ruling, it is an important step forward even though many Quebecers, sadly, can’t see it.

    @Mr DArcy

    Some bloody “heritage”,– and not one to boast about either.

    Indeed. And in more ways than most people know. From 1945 to 1959, the period during which Maurice Duplessis was firmly in power as Prime Minister, he was also in bed with the Catholic Clergy and a nefarious deal was struck: the Catholic Church would have complete control over education in schools and the publication of books in exchange for political support – particularly in the rural areas (where most of Duplessis’ electoral base was).

    Priests used sermons as a political campaign platform to exhort the population to vote for Duplessis. In exchange, the Catholic Church was free to apply the Vatican’s Index librorum prohibitorum as it saw fit.

    In a nutshell, the Index was a list published by the Vatican, of prohibited books or authors, notably famous philosophers (Kant, Descartes, Hume, Spinoza, Locke, etc…), scientists, writers and thinkers of the Enlightenment (Voltaire, Rousseau, Diderot, Montaigne, Milton) and many others (strangely enough, Darwin was not on that list). All books had to pass the scrutiny of the Church before being released to the public.

    So the Roman Catholic “heritage” in Quebec is not only one of sexual and psychological abuse of children and women. It is also one of censorship and institutionalized ignorance. This “heritage” effectively set back the evolution of our society by almost half a century. People like Mayor Tremblay are the direct product of this shameful culture of ignorance and insularity that sadly still prevails in many parts of rural Quebec.

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  • The RCC just doesn’t get it. In Canada, it’s prayers in school. In California, they are about to canonize Junipero Serra to sainthood. This guy was a religious nutter. The Vatican has just released this statement. The native American Indians are up in arms over virtual genocides conducted by Father Serra. From the Vatican.

    Pope Francis’ decision to declare Father Junipero Serra a saint in recognition of his work as “the evangelizer of the West in the United States” represents a profound insult to Native Americans and an injustice to history.

    Fairly typical of “Missionaries” out saving savages from damnation, but Serra was particularly brutal.

    The epidemic of premature fatalities under Spanish colonialism was facilitated by an authoritarian and brutal mission system, enforced by irons and the whip. Life “under the bell,” as prescribed by Junipero Serra, was disastrous for native people.


    Functioning as forced labor camps, the missions imposed baptisms and conversions, fiercely policed the boundaries of Christian sexuality and punished infractions with flogging. Cut off from their homelands, deprived of cultural traditions and exposed to unfamiliar viruses, 1 in 3 babies born in missions did not make it to their first year; 40% of those who survived died before their fifth year; and 10% to 20% of adults died each year.

    Is the RCC living in a time warp. Are they incapable of realizing that maybe, just maybe stuff they did in the past can now be seen as a genocidal atrocity. Father Serra is not a shining example of a person the RCC should be handing out a sainthood to. But they just don’t get it. Their get out of jail free card, absolution of sin, lets them bury their history.

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  • 7
    fadeordraw says:

    I must say guys, this ruling is very significant, and will spread beyond our borders; may be even to the USA. The Globe and Mail letters to the editor on the decision noted, (and as we all know the words of the Canadian anthem), that the Oh Canada lyric, “God keep our land/ glorious and free”, might be reviewed. Replacing “God” with “We’ll” was one unpublished recommendation. Re – RD and the secular, this decision is good and needs to be built further.

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  • 8
    fadeordraw says:

    Quebec has been a secular society since the 1980s, following the Quiet Revolution (60 years ago), leading to the election of the PQ. Many RC Churches in many a small parish have been looking for a purpose which would allow building maintenance (and many municipalities are seeking to economically salvage wonderful stone, now irrelevant, masterpieces). I would think that Quebec is the most secular, sub-national, jurisdictions in North America.

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  • Replacing “God” with “We’ll”

    I always sing “Let us keep our land…”, which is an extra syllable and often times seems I’m singing about salad, (lettuce keep our land…)

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