City of Saskatoon wants prayer complaint dismissed

The City of Saskatoon is trying to get a complaint before the Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission thrown out.

The complaint, concerning a Christian prayer said at a volunteer event in 2012, has been before the Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission (SHRC) for months and on Tuesday, the man who filed the complaint received a letter from the commission saying the city has applied for a dismissal.

“I think it’s a shameful legal tactic,” atheist and secular advocate Ashu Solo, who filed the complaint, said on Wednesday.

The letter from the SHRC explained the city filed for dismissal on the basis of two factors.

The first that, "the complaint is made in bad faith or for improper motives or is frivolous or vexatious,“ and that “there has been a lack of procedural fairness afforded the city in the handling of the complaint such that in all of the circumstances, a hearing is not warranted.”

However, Solo said he feels the city applying for dismissal shows it would rather have the complaint thrown out than work to rectify the issue.

“It makes me feel like they don’t take my complaint seriously and they don’t care about the discriminatory practice of having prayers from one religion at city events,” Solo explained.

A statement from Saskatoon Mayor, Don Atchison, said it would be “inappropriate” for him to comment on the matter as it’s before the SHRC.

Saskatoon’s city solicitor, Patricia Warwick, confirmed the city has applied for a dismissal, but did not provide clarification on why the city wants the case tossed.

“The Human Rights Commission’s process grants the chief commissioner the discretion to dismiss a complaint any time after a complaint is filed or initiated,” Warwick said in a statement.

Both parties have until Oct. 25 to make submissions in response or in support of the application.