Ask your MLA to end prayers in the Legislature

Thanks to the hundreds of British Columbians who wrote their MLA. We've deactivated our email tool for now but you can still read the report and if you have your MLA's email, you can use the text below to write them an email.



The daily prayer in the BC Legislature is an antiquated and discriminatory practice that has no place in an institution that represents all British Columbians. I'm asking you to support removing prayers from the Legislature's Standing Orders.

In 2015, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that municipal councils that began with a prayer violated their "duty of religious neutrality" by favouring religious residents and excluding non-believers.[1] As representatives of all citizens, MLAs similarly violate that duty when they use their seat in the legislature as a pulpit to express sectarian religious views to the exclusion of others. The Court noted that even a non-denominational prayer "may nevertheless exclude non-believers."

Prayers also exclude individuals from those faith traditions who don't believe prayer should be a public act. The practice of beginning a public ceremony with a prayer primarily comes from a worldview that attempts to promote Christian supremacy. Given our country and our province's history of European Christian colonization, removing prayers can be a step toward disestablishing the privileged status that Christianity maintains throughout many of our institutions.

As a new study from the BC Humanist Association demonstrates[2], the majority of the prayers said by MLAs have been religious and nearly every prayer was Christian (where the religion could be identified). This puts the lie to the claim that these prayers are representative of the diversity of this province, where polls have shown as much as 70% of British Columbians do not practice a religion or faith.[3]

The study also found that fewer and fewer MLAs are actually delivering prayers. This has reached the point where only 24 MLAs have delivered prayers since the 2017 election. Further, the five MLAs who delivered the most prayers have given almost half of those prayers. MLAs who haven't given a prayer are the literal silent majority.

I urge you to support a motion to remove prayers from the Standing Orders. To do so would be to follow in the steps of the Quebec National Assembly that replaced their prayers with a moment of reflection in 1976 or the Newfoundland and Labrador House of Assembly that has never begun with a prayer.




[1] Mouvement laïque québécois v. Saguenay (City), 2015 SCC 16, [2015] 2 S.C.R. 3

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