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Nonreligious vow to continue fight to end Parliamentary prayers following Opposition Motion defeat

Today, Members of Parliament (MPs) voted against a motion that would have abolished the practice of opening daily sessions of the House of Commons with prayer. Nevertheless, secularists are pledging to continue the fight to end the practice of legislative prayers.

Since 1877, the Speaker of the House of Commons has read a prayer at the beginning of each day’s sitting. The current prayer begins “Almighty God” and ends in “Amen.” It was last updated in 1994.

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BC Humanists Urge MPs to Support Motion to Abolish Prayer

The move would make Parliament an inclusive and welcoming space

Members of the BC Humanist Association are asking their Members of Parliament (MP) to vote in favour of a motion to end the practice of beginning each day’s sitting of the House of Commons with a prayer.

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MAID Statutory Review: Dignity in Life - Dignity in Death

A special parliamentary committee reviewing medical assistance in dying (MAID) has the chance to advance the hard-won rights of Canadians to choose a dignified life or death according to submissions made by the BC Humanist Association today.

The Special Joint Committee on Medical Assistance in Dying, consisting of Members of Parliament and Senators, is in the process of completing a statutory review of MAID following the passage of Bill C-7 last year. That bill, which was prompted by a Quebec court ruling, expanded MAID eligibility beyond those at end of life.

The bill tasked a committee with a comprehensive review of MAID issues, "including but not limited to issues relating to mature minors, advance requests, mental illness, the state of palliative care in Canada and the protection of Canadians with disabilities."

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Parliamentary Prognostication Performance Proves Prayers are Past their Prime

Reviewing the predictions made one year ago today in the gaia shattering report, Separation of Religion and Government in Retrograde, the spiritual researchers of the BC Humanist Association have concluded that they achieved a 98.2% accuracy with their astrological prognostications. This unrivaled success puts all other forms of divination to shame and suggests the practice of beginning sittings with 'prayers and reflections' is clearly outdated.

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Humanist values in response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine

The Board of the BC Humanist Association has released the following statement in response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine last month.

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Seven Manitoba municipalities defy law, continue prayers at council meetings

In its latest report, the BC Humanist Association (BCHA) documents seven municipalities that have opened council meetings with prayers, seemingly in open violation of an edict from the Supreme Court of Canada. Three of those municipalities, including the City of Winnipeg, begin every council meeting with a prayer. One additional municipality, the Rural Municipality of West St Paul, discontinued its practice of daily prayers following a request by the BCHA.

In its 2015 decision in MLQ v Saguenay, the Supreme Court of Canada unequivocally determined that prayers at municipal council meetings violated the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Specifically, prayers said at city council breached the state's duty of religious neutrality and violated the freedom of conscience and religion of non-religious residents. The Court found that "even if [a prayer] is said to be inclusive, it may nevertheless exclude non-believers."

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It's time to end prayers in the BC Legislature

To coincide with the release of the second edition of its Legislative Prayers Across Canada report, the BC Humanist Association is launching a renewed call to end the practice of starting sittings in the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia with prayers.

The new edition of the report reflects a change made by the Nova Scotia Legislature in October to begin each day with a 'moment of silent reflection.' Previously the Speaker read a version of the Lord's Prayer before MLAs began the day's proceedings.

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Legislative Prayer Across Canada

In the second edition of Legislative Prayer Across Canada, we update our original report to include the move in October 2021 by Nova Scotia to replace its practice of beginning sittings with the Lord's Prayer with a moment of silent reflection. We will continue to update the report in the future as other legislature amend their practices.

Canada is often viewed as a diverse and multicultural country. Multiculturalism and ‘freedom of conscience and religion’ are enshrined in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. From this, the Supreme Court of Canada has established that Canada is a secular country through what has been called the state’s duty of religious neutrality. Nevertheless, legislative assemblies across Canada continue to begin each day’s sitting with a prayer, which is most often Christian in nature.

Here we provide an overview of the diverse practices that surround legislative prayer across Canada today.

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Conversion practices ban becomes law in Canada

The BC Humanist Association is joining members and allies of the LGBTQ2S+ community in celebrating the historic passage of a ban on conversion therapy and practices.

After multiple previous bills failed to clear the legislative hurdles in Parliament, Senators today unanimously granted the bill second and third readings. This followed a similar unanimous motion in the House of Commons that allowed the bill to be fast-tracked through the usual processes.

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Canadian Secular Alliance joins interventions in White Rock Pride human rights case

The BC Humanists are congratulating the Canadian Secular Alliance on their successful application to intervene in a BC Human Rights Tribunal case that pits the White Rock Pride Society against the Star of the Sea Parish.

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