Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Human Rights Commission Tosses Complaint on Saskatoon City Councillor's Prayer

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Human Rights Commission Tosses Complaint on Saskatoon City Councillor's Prayer

Article excerpt

Complaint over city councillor's prayer dismissed

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SASKATOON - The Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission has dismissed a complaint against the City of Saskatoon and one of its councillors over a prayer.

Ashu Solo filed the complaint in March 2013 after Coun. Randy Donauer recited a prayer at a volunteer appreciation banquet the previous year.

"Mr. Solo says the prayer was coercive and made him feel marginalized," chief commissioner David Arnot wrote in a ruling released Thursday.

"He told the investigator that he felt he was treated as a second- class citizen. Mr. Solo says eating food blessed by a Christian prayer is contrary to his beliefs so he chose not to eat."

Arnot said witnesses told a commission investigator that Donauer gave a prayer or grace at the banquet. Some witnesses said it was generic. Others said it contained references associated with Christianity. All witnesses agreed it was brief.

Regardless, Arnot said, it wasn't the right time or place for a prayer.

"The recitation of a Christian prayer at this event represents poor judgment," he wrote.

"It was disrespectful and insensitive to a multicultural, multi-ethnic and multi-theist audience. The volunteers attending the dinner, like the citizens of Saskatoon, have varied religious, spiritual and cultural traditions. The decision to incorporate a Christian prayer ignored this reality. …

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