The BC Humanist Association (BCHA) is reiterating its call on the council of the District of Clearwater to drop its planned invocation from tomorrow evening's inaugural council meeting.
In 2015, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that prayers at municipal council meetings were unconstitutional as they violated the state's duty of religious neutrality. In 2020, the BCHA identified Clearwater as one of 23 municipalities in BC that began its 2018 inaugural council meeting with a prayer or invocation. At the time the District invited a representative of the Clearwater Christian Church to deliver the prayer.
Twice in advance of the release of our report, we wrote to Clearwater asking the prayers be abolished in future meetings. We wrote again two weeks ago but also received no answer.
"According to the latest census data, three quarters (75.2%) of Clearwater's residents have no religion and only 23% are Christian," said BCHA Executive Director Ian Bushfield. "Yet here the Council looks set to exclude the overwhelming majority of its residents through the unconstitutional promotion of a sectarian worldview."
The BCHA is again asking the District to remove the planned invocation from its inaugural council meeting agenda.