Newspaper article The Canadian Press

End of Day of Rest in Saskatchewan Labour Law Worries Regina's Archbishop

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

End of Day of Rest in Saskatchewan Labour Law Worries Regina's Archbishop

Article excerpt

New labour law worries archbishop of Regina


REGINA - The Catholic archbishop of Regina is raising concerns about changes to Saskatchewan's labour law that eliminate a reference to Sunday as a day of rest.

Archbishop Daniel Bohan says the day of rest was a good thing and it recognized that there are working people who have a religious faith and benefit from practising it.

"That's done as a community. It's not totally a private thing, but a community thing, so they need the opportunity to be together with other people to celebrate that faith and benefit from it," Bohan said in an interview Friday with The Canadian Press.

"The Catholic belief would be that a person has a right to that practice of religion and if it's not protected then there are people who will disregard that and not take that into consideration in their employees," he added.

Bohan fears a troubling view could creep in -- one of the working person only as an input in economic production.

For example, he says when businesses were first allowed to open on Sundays, workers were assured that their wishes would be honoured if they chose not to work that day. But Bohan says in many instances, such assurances dissolved into nothing.

"There was pressure put on people and usually people who were in no position to argue that," he said.

Bohan says his purpose is not to attack the government, but to look out for people.

The archbishop says the omission of a day of rest can be understandable if it's an attempt to recognize religious diversity. But he says he would rather have seen the law changed to allow for a day of worship for any faith.

"I'm fully aware of the secularization in our society, the need to be open to all people," said Bohan.

"But I believe the best way to do that is not to sort of push peoples' religious beliefs to the sideline, as if they didn't exist in people in the public forum and rather recognize the presence of all of that. …

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