The Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission (SHRC) has dismissed a complaint against the City of Saskatoon and Coun. Randy Donauer.
The complaint was filed by Ashu Solo, who became well-known in Saskatoon after an earlier complaint about ‘Merry Christmas’ messages on city buses that was also dismissed by the SHRC.
In March 2013, Solo filed a complaint over a prayer Donauer recited at the opening of a City of Saskatoon volunteer appreciation banquet in April 2012.
The SHRC completed its investigation in August 2014, but delayed a decision until the Supreme Court of Canada heard an appeal out of Quebec that had implications for the case.
In a decision released Thursday, Chief Commissioner David Arnot found that while Solo holds sincere beliefs about state-endorsed prayer, the prayer recited at the banquet did not prevent him from acting in accordance with those beliefs.
“…any interference with Mr. Solo’s ability to act in accordance with his beliefs was insubstantial and did not cause sufficient harm to breach the Code,” wrote Arnot.
While he dismissed the complaint, Arnot emphasized the City of Saskatoon must respect multiculturalism and ensure they don’t favour one religion or belief system over others.
Arnot also stressed that religious practices should not typically form part of the core function of government or social events organized by the city.