Ont. looks at alternatives to Lord's Prayer to open daily legislative debate
TORONTO - Reciting the Lord's Prayer to begin daily proceedings at the Ontario legislature is a dated practice that doesn't reflect the province's modern-day cultural diversity, Premier Dalton McGuinty said Wednesday as he proposed an all-party committee to look for alternatives.
It is time for a more inclusive approach that reflects 21st-century Ontario, where more than one-third of the population was born outside Canada, McGuinty said before his Liberal government's weekly cabinet meeting.
Note how he is assuming that the one third born outside of Canada are not Christian. This isn't entirely true since many immigrants who come here are Christian. In fact, it is immigration that is keeping the Catholic faith alive in this country while most other Christian sects are having a hard time keeping the pews half full each Sunday. This kind of accommodation is to appease Sikhs, Hindus, and Muslims; religions who have no history in this country and played no role in its formation.
"I think it's time for us to ensure that we have a prayer that better reflects our diversity," he said.
Progressive Conservative Leader John Tory agreed it's time to revisit the Lord's Prayer in the legislature, but said that doesn't mean he's ready to abandon the traditions and history of the legislature's proceedings.
NDP house leader Peter Kormos agreed with the idea of an all-party committee reviewing the use of the Lord's Prayer, but warned McGuinty he may face pressure to drop prayers altogether.
New Brunswick still recites the Lord's Prayer, but precedes it with a prayer that blesses the legislature and asks for the strength to allow members to conduct their duties. And they still say the Lord's Prayer before proceedings at the Prince Edward Island legislature, but they do it behind closed doors before the chamber is open to the public.
Newfoundland and Labrador has no prayer in its House of Assembly, while Quebec's National Assembly has only a daily moment of reflection.
Alberta uses a set list of non-denominational prayers that are rotated, while British Columbia also rotates the prayers but allows individual members to select the daily reading.
Manitoba changed the wording of its daily prayer years ago, while the Speaker of the Nova Scotia legislature wrote a prayer in 1972 that is still used today. The Manitoba legislature still uses a prayer drafted by an all-party committee in 1931.
Members of the Nunavut legislature choose their own prayer when it's their turn in a rotation, while in the Northwest Territories they use a non-denominational prayer. Yukon leaves the prayer up to the Speaker, some of whom in the past have asked members to bow their heads in a moment of silence. The current Yukon Speaker rotates three non-denominational prayers.
Is this a good thing or a bad thing? I don't really know and frankly I think they should just abandon opening prayers all together if they are going to pervert Canadian legislative traditions just to appease some Johnny come lately "Canadians". This is another example that makes clear that Canada is expected to pervert or abandon its traditions so that recent arrivals can keep theirs.