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Shofar FTP Archive File: orgs/canadian/league-for-human-rights//press/Saskatoon-discrimination.990727

Finding of Saskatchewan Human Rights Board of Inquiry -
League for Human Rights of B'nai Brith cited for its contribution


Today, the Saskatchewan Human Rights Board of Inquiry released its
decision regarding the practice of allowing Bible readings and the
recitation of the Lord's Prayer in Saskatoon public schools. The Board of
Inquiry was formed in response to a complaint of discrimination by a group
of parents to the Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission.  

According to Lawrence Hart, President of B'nai Brith Canada, "We were
pleased that the Board of Inquiry found that current practices of the
School Board were in fact discriminatory in a public school environment. 
We were doubly pleased that, as noted in the decision, Dr Karen Mock,
National Director of the League for Human Rights, was able to give expert
testimony that was crucial to helping the Board of Inquiry with this
complex matter."

Besides finding in favour of the complainants and awarding costs, the
Board of Inquiry ordered that current practices with respect to Bible
reading and the Lord's Prayer cease immediately.  However, it also found
that the discriminatory use of the Lord's Prayer is in fact permitted
under the Constitution, under certain conditions.  For this reason, the
Board also recommended that the Saskatchewan Legislature repeal s 182(3)
of the Education Act, and that the Board of Education not exercise its
right to discriminate.

As noted by Marvin Kurz,  National Counsel and Co-Chair of the League for
Human Rights, "it is  troubling, that under Canada's Constitution, the
Board of Education could apparently continue the repetition of the Lord's
Prayer in schools by simply ordering all schools to begin their day with
it. The Board of Inquiry rightly recommended that this course not be taken
but that, instead, a multicultural religious policy be developed and
introduced.  The League for Human Rights has already offered to assist the
Board of Education with this effort."

For further information
D. Karen Mock, National Director of the League for Human Rights (416)
633-6224, cell (416) 802-1105
Rubin Friedman, Director of Government Relations (613) 569-1647

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