Thoughts on Prayers: An Analysis of Prayers in the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia, 2003-2019

Article 4 / 9 , Vol. 44, No. 3 (Fall)

Thoughts on Prayers: An Analysis of Prayers in the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia, 2003-2019

This article highlights some of the ongoing work on legislative prayer being conducted by the research team of the BC Humanist Association (BCHA). Since 1984, the BCHA has provided a community and a voice for Humanists, atheists, agnostics and the non-religious in BC. Humanism is a worldview that promotes human dignity without belief in a higher power. Dr. Teale Phelps Bondaroff is the Research Coordinator for the BCHA, and has a PhD in politics and international studies from the University of Cambridge. Ian Bushfield is the Executive Director of the BCHA. Dr. Katie Marshall is a member of the board of the BCHA and an Assistant Professor in the Department of Zoology at the University of British Columbia. Ranil Prasad and Noah Laurence were summer researchers with the BCHA, and their positions were supported in part by the Canada Summer Jobs Program.

Proponents claim that the practice of starting each day’s sitting of the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia (BC) with a prayer delivered by a different member affords more opportunities for representation of minority and non-religious viewpoints in what is otherwise a very Christian tradition. An analysis of 873 prayers delivered in the Legislature from October 6, 2003 to February 12, 2019 demonstrated that the actual practice is otherwise. The prayers are predominantly, and increasingly, religious, and fewer individual members are choosing to deliver one. While the practice was renamed in the Standing Orders to “prayers and reflections” in late 2019, this article posits that the practice, which fails to reflect the diversity of beliefs in BC, should be abolished.

Introduction

In November 2019, the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia (BC) voted unanimously to amend Standing Order 25, which establishes the routine business of the legislature. The amendment changed “the first item of business after the arrival of the Speaker’s Procession in the Chamber” from ‘prayers’ to ‘prayers and reflections.’1 Additionally, in October 2019, the Clerk updated the list of sample prayers that are provided to MLAs, such that it now includes prayers from a number of faith traditions. While it is too soon to gauge the impact of this change on the content of the prayers and reflections delivered in the Legislature, it is clear that this change was made as a means of making this element of routine business more inclusive.

The question of whether the content of the prayers delivered in the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia accurately reflects the diversity of the population was one of the key questions explored in House of Prayers, a recent report released by the BC Humanist Association (BCHA). House of Prayers examined every available prayer (873) delivered in the Legislature from October 6, 2003 to February 12, 2019.2 This study built on the work of Bueckert, Parisotto, and Roberts, published in this journal, who investigated the religion of prayers delivered prior to Speeches from the Throne.3 Here we offer a summary of the quantitative findings of House of Prayers, which represented the first comprehensive investigation into the content of daily prayers in the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia. In so doing, our intention is to contribute to the discussion surrounding legislative prayer in Canada. Those interested in more details relating to the findings and analysis within House of Prayers, the coding and methodology used, recommendations, and an in-depth examination of the various issues relating to legislative prayer should consult that report.

Legislative Prayer Across Canada

The practice of beginning legislative sittings with prayers in Westminster parliaments is believed to have been first adopted by the British Parliament in 1558, during the reign of Elizabeth I, and was adopted in Canada in 1877.4 The Canadian House of Commons and the Senate both begin sittings with the Speaker reading a standard ‘non-denominational’ prayer, followed by time for silent reflection.

With respect to legislative prayer, there exists considerable variation of practices across Canada. We reached out to Clerks and Speakers across the country, examined standing orders, and reviewed Hansard,5 and identified the following practices:

Yukon: The Speaker reads one of four standard prayers.

  • Alberta: The Speaker reads a prayer of their own devising. The current Speaker delivers ‘non-denominational’ prayer similar to that delivered at the UK parliament, while the previous Speaker would write prayers before each session.
  • Northwest Territories: MLAs deliver prayer of their own devising, with the occasional ‘drum prayer’ also being delivered.
  • Nunavut: MLAs deliver prayer of their own devising.
  • Saskatchewan: The Speaker reads a standard ‘non-denominational’ prayer.
  • Manitoba: The Speaker reads a standard ‘non-denominational’ prayer.
  • Ontario: The Speaker reads the Lord’s Prayer. Since 2008, this has been followed by the reading of a prayer from a rotating schedule including Indigenous, Buddhist, Muslim, Jewish, Baha’i and Sikh prayers.
  • Quebec: Begins sittings of the National Assembly with a quiet ‘moment of reflection,’ having abolished the practice of opening sittings with a prayer in 1976.
  • New Brunswick: MLA reads prayers to God and Jesus for the well-being of the Queen and Lieutenant Governor General, followed by the Lord’s Prayer, both in French and English (or blended).
  • Newfoundland and Labrador: Has never opened sessions with a prayer
  • Nova Scotia: The Speaker reads a shortened version of the Lord’s Prayer, which was written by Speaker Mitchell in 1972.
  • Prince Edward Island: The Speaker reads prayers to God and Jesus for the well-being of the Queen and Lieutenant Governor General, followed by the Lord’s Prayer. 6

Prayer Procedures in the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia

‘Prayers and reflections’ are delivered immediately once the Speaker calls Members to order. On days when a Speech from the Throne is to be delivered, a faith leader or Indigenous leader or Elder is invited to deliver the prayer. The general daily practice is for a Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) to deliver a prayer or reflection. The current edition of Parliamentary Practice in British Columbia elaborates that typically, “the Speaker will invite a Member to ‘lead the House in prayer or reflection,’ the Member having been previously designated by their Caucus Whip.”7 The Member can deliver a prayer or reflection of their own devising, or read one from a list of sample prayers provided by the Clerk.

Legislative procedures note that content delivered during this portion of the agenda “may be of any faith or denomination, may be reflective of different cultural traditions, may be a traditional land acknowledgement, and may also be a moment of reflection.”8 It is also worth noting that the prayers and reflections are delivered “with both officers and strangers present and are the only proceedings not transcribed verbatim for publication in the Hansard transcript.”9

In October 2019, the list of sample prayers was updated “to ensure that prepared prayers provide a breadth of non-religious reflections, as well as prayers from major religious groups.”10 The five previous sample prayers were edited and re-worded: One was replaced, the word ‘Amen’ dropped from the ending of the remaining four, and one had references to ‘God’ removed. The list was also expanded to include a ‘Traditional Land Acknowledgement’ and prayers representing the Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Jewish, Muslim, and Sikh faith traditions.

Methodology

Recognizing the private nature of prayer, many legislatures across Canada, including the House of Commons and Senate, exclude members of the public from the chambers while prayers are being delivered. Similarly, many legislatures pause live broadcasts during this item and most do not Hansardize the content of the prayers or even record who is delivering them. In BC, the content of prayers and reflections is not transcribed by Hansard, though the prayers themselves are included in the video broadcast of the proceedings.

We therefore began our project by tasking 52 volunteers to transcribe all available prayers. In total, the team transcribed 877 prayers, which included every prayer delivered in the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia from October 6, 2003, when the video archive of proceedings began, to February 12, 2019, the end of the 3rd Session of the 41st Parliament. The transcribed prayers were then coded for a variety of factors including structure, content, and religiosity. In order to ensure reliable results, each prayer was coded by two coders, with a third checking for intercoder reliability. The data was then analysed using a number of analytical tools.

Not all of the content delivered could be classified as prayers; some MLAs delivered poems, quotes, or called for moments of silence. For consistency, we refer to any statement given during the period designated for prayers as a ‘prayer.’ While 877 prayers were transcribed, the total number of prayers analyzed for any category of analysis varies. Two prayers contained significant portions that were either inaudible or unintelligible, and five were delivered entirely in an Indigenous language, which our team was unequipped to accurately transcribe or translate. Our team also transcribed 23 prayers that preceded Speeches from the Throne (what we refer to as ‘Throne Prayers’). As these prayers were delivered by invited guests, they have been excluded from the analyses focusing on prayers delivered exclusively by MLAs (N=843). Additional findings from House of Prayers, as well as tables and graphs, are contained in the full report.

Data

Structure

The study began by determining how often MLAs delivered a prayer from the list of sample prayers as compared to those of their own devising. We found that MLAs delivered one or a combination of prayers from the sample list 50.0 per cent of the time (434 prayers). When delivering sample prayers, MLAs would sometimes deliver them in combination or make minor changes to them. Combinations of sample prayers represented 4.7 per cent (41 prayers) of all prayers delivered, or 9.3 per cent of all sample prayers delivered. Of the sample prayers delivered, 139 (32.0 per cent) were coded as being changed in a minor fashion.

We then looked at prayer structure and content, which served as a key indicator as to the prayers’ religiosity. This also served to inform whether the fact that MLAs were asked by the Speaker to ‘lead us in prayer’ necessarily increased the likelihood that they would adopt a structure typical of a ‘conventional’ prayer, even if they were delivering secular content. Including Throne Prayers offered at the opening of a new session, 91.9 per cent of prayers delivered in the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia (797 of 867) ended in ‘Amen.’ Interestingly, 88.7 per cent of the prayers that were coded as ‘secular’ (see below) still ended in ‘Amen.’

As part of the process of determining the religiosity of prayers, the study examined whether a prayer contained the name of a deity. Coders developed a glossary of names of deities and identified a total of 466 prayers delivered by MLAs and Throne Prayers (53.8 per cent) that contained the name or names of a deity. Working from a glossary of religious language, a total of 566 (65.3 per cent) prayers delivered in the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia were found to contain religious language, this included throne prayers. Note, coders were careful when encountering polysemous words – words, such as ‘grace’ or ‘praise,’ with similar origins and roots, and often usage, but which could have significantly different connotations when used in a religious or non-religious context. This was one of the reasons why human coders were employed, rather than relying on automated word counts. One noteworthy finding was that the Lord’s Prayer was only delivered nine times, which offers an interesting point of contrast to other legislatures where this is part of the daily routine.

Religiosity

One goal of the study was to assess the religiosity of the prayers delivered by MLAs. To accomplish this, four categories were developed:

Not a prayer: Anything that could not be classified as a prayer or invocation; it does not adopt a prayer structure or contain elements of a prayer (such as appealing to the divine or transcendent), does not employ religious language, and does not end in amen. These included recitations of secular poetry, quotations, and moments of silence/silent reflection.

Secular invocation/prayer: An invocation or call of thanks not specifically invoking or directed towards a deity or the transcendent. These include prayers ending in ‘amen,’ but otherwise do not include reference to the divine or transcendent, the supernatural, a deity/power, and do not include other religious language.

Non-Sectarian Prayer: Any prayer that invokes the divine or transcendent, a deity, power, or supernatural entity, or includes religious language, but could not be easily identified with a specific religious tradition.

Sectarian Prayer: Any prayer that could be identified as belonging to a specific faith tradition. Prayers included in this category were also coded with the specific religion. Coders were instructed to look for a number of indicators, including the names of specific deities, references to religious texts or holidays, language closely associated with a specific tradition, or specific prayers (the Lord’s Prayer, Shema Yisrael, Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem, etc.).

Coders were instructed to be very conservative when coding prayers as ‘sectarian,’ and to only include a prayer that unequivocally belonged to this faith tradition. For example, the structure and content of a prayer delivered in the form of a personal dialogue, spoken directly to a god, with multiple references to ‘Lord’ could point to it being a Christian prayer. However, the term ‘Lord’ is used to refer to a deity by a number of faith traditions. As a result, absent any other language specific to Christianity, such a prayer would have been classified as ‘non-sectarian.’ We recognized that this would likely result in under-selecting prayers that seemed to be ‘Christian’ but which used terminology that could belong to different faith traditions.

Including Throne Prayers, 49.5 per cent (429) of prayers delivered in the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia were ‘non-sectarian’ and 21.7 per cent (188) were ‘sectarian.’ Given the religious nature of both of these categories, this led us to conclude that 71.2 per cent of prayers delivered in the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia were ‘religious’ in nature.

Table 1: Prayers in the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia by religiosity

Prayer TypeCountPercentage
Sectarian18821.7 per cent
Non-Sectarian42949.5 per cent
Secular23827.5 per cent
Not a prayer121.4 per cent

Of those prayers classified as ‘sectarian,’ we found that 93.1 per cent (175) were Christian. Meaning that 20.2 per cent (175) of all the prayers delivered in the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia were identified as explicitly Christian. The next largest percentage was Jewish prayers, of which there were four (1.6 per cent of all sectarian prayers, 0.4 per cent of prayers overall).

Other Content

Given the importance of truth and reconciliation, it was instructive to determine the extent to which Indigenous language and content was incorporated into prayers. Prayers were coded if they included a single word, sentence, sentences, or were delivered entirely in an Indigenous language, or if they included Indigenous content delivered in English. Including prayers offered at the opening of a new session, 4.8 per cent (42) of prayers used a single word from an Indigenous language – typically declarations of affirmation, or ritualized conclusions, used in a fashion similar to ‘amen’ or ‘thank you.’ The most common term was ‘SABAK,’ a Gitxsan word often used by the MLAs for Stikine and Skeena.

Only one prayer contained a sentence in an Indigenous language and one prayer included more than one sentence. The five prayers delivered almost entirely in an Indigenous language were all prayers offered in conjunction with the opening of a new session. Three of these prayers were delivered by Elmer George Sr., an elder of the Songhees Nation. In total 5.6 per cent (49) of all of the prayers delivered in the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia contained at least one word from an Indigenous language. Three prayers were coded as containing Indigenous content delivered in English, which, when combined with the previous category, totaled 6.0 per cent (52) of all prayers containing Indigenous content.

Prayers were also coded if they included languages other than English or an Indigenous language. Similar to coding for Indigenous languages, coders were asked to differentiate between a word, sentence, or sentences. All but one of the instances of other languages spoken were in the form of individual sentences/expressions. In total, 1.2 per cent (10) of prayers contained sentences in other languages, and three of these were included in prayers offered on an opening day.

During the transcription process several volunteers noted the presence of what they described as ‘subtle barbs’ or ‘partisan attacks’ where the MLAs delivering the prayer referenced issues before the House or included veiled praise or condemnation of another actor. One obvious example was a prayer delivered on October 19, 2011, that stated in part: “And we thank the people of Canada for the shipbuilding contract.” A less obvious example was a prayer quoting Cesar Chavez’s ‘Farm Workers Prayer,’ delivered on November 16, 2011, around the time that minimum wage increases that did not apply to farm workers were being implemented. This content was often subtle; as a result only ten prayers were identified as containing overtly partisan content. Of these, one of the most partisan was a ‘prayer’ for Health Employees’ Union (HEU) members, who on April 29, 2004 were advised “to carefully appraise their opportunities and make choices that will be the right ones for themselves and their families.” This was reported on in the HEU strike bulletin at the time.

Analysis

We started our analysis by examining the number of prayers delivered per MLA. When ‘league tables’ were constructed for every parliament covered by the study, we found that as time went on, fewer MLAs were delivering prayers. The frequency of prayers delivered by MLAs varied considerably, with some MLAs (30 out of 117) delivering a single prayer and three delivering over 30. Leonard Krog, MLA for Nanaimo, topped every table, suggesting that parties do not follow set rotations to decide who delivers prayers, but rather participation tracks MLA’s interest, with those most interested in delivering prayers volunteering more often than others.

The Legislative Assembly of British Columbia has been dominated by two parties during the period under review, the BC Liberals and BC New Democratic Party (BCNDP). While the BC Green Party elected three MLAs, only one delivered a total of two prayers. As a result, we chose to exclude the BC Greens from analyses based on party affiliation.

Compared with BC NDP MLAs, BC Liberal MLAs were significantly more likely to read one of the sample prayers than to deliver a prayer of their own devising. BC Liberal MLAs delivered a sample prayer 64.0 per cent of the time (vs. 35.0 per cent of the time for BC NDP MLAs). When they delivered sample prayers, BC NDP MLAs were more likely to alter these prayers, doing so 55.1 per cent of the time, compared to BC Liberal MLAs who altered sample prayers 22.5 per cent of the time. The use of the sample prayers has been on a steady decline, with more MLAs opting to deliver prayers of their own devising. There was no significant difference in this trend between parties.

We found that BC NDP MLAs were marginally more likely to deliver secular prayers as compared to BC Liberal MLAs (31.4 per cent vs. 26.0 per cent of prayers respectively). BC Liberal MLAs were significantly more likely to deliver sectarian prayers (the vast majority of which were Christian), with 26.0 per cent of prayers delivered by BC Liberal MLAs being classified as sectarian, compared with 10.3 per cent of prayers delivered by BC NDP MLAs. Given these numbers, it was unsurprising that BC Liberal MLAs were significantly more likely to deliver Christian prayers, with 25.4 per cent of BC Liberal MLA prayers being Christian, compared with 9.2 per cent of BC NDP MLA prayers. For both parties, the number of sectarian and Christian prayers has been steadily increasing over time. Secular prayer use by MLAs from both parties has been on a general decline and the proportion of Christian prayers has been steadily increasing for both parties, more than doubling over the past decade.

With respect to Indigenous content, BC NDP MLAs were significantly more likely to use Indigenous language in their prayers (11.7 per cent vs. 0.2 per cent). Despite the overall small number of prayers containing Indigenous content (6 per cent), a steady increase in Indigenous content was observed.

The average prayer was 89 words long and prayers delivered by MLAs of both parties have been getting longer over time. Similarly, religious prayers (non-sectarian or sectarian) were generally found to be longer than secular prayers. Religious prayers delivered by BC Liberal MLAs were 2.09 times longer than secular prayers delivered by their caucus colleagues. Religious prayers delivered by BC NDP MLAs were 1.52 times longer. Overall, despite Christian prayers making up only 20.2 per cent of the total prayers delivered, they composed 25.6 per cent of the 70,079 words used.

Discussion

Demographic data for BC can be used in order to determine the extent to which the prayers delivered in the Legislature reflect the beliefs of British Columbians. The 2011 National Household Survey identified 44.6 per cent of the population as Christian, 44.1 per cent as having no religious affiliation, followed by 4.7 per cent Sikh, 2.1 per cent Buddhist, 1.8 per cent Muslim, 1.1 per cent Hindu, 0.5 per cent Jewish, and 4.1 per cent as ‘other religion.’ These numbers are in stark contrast to the findings of this study. Where the religion could be identified (sectarian prayers) every non-Christian religion, with the exception to Judaism, was under-represented. There were no apparent Sikh prayers, despite Sikhs making up nearly five per cent of the population of BC. A lack of diversity is further indicated by a paucity of Indigenous languages and content, which comprised a mere six per cent of prayers, and was largely relegated to the inclusion of a single word. It was, however, promising to see a gradual increase in the use of Indigenous languages over time.

Given the large proportion of religious prayers (71.2 per cent), it is also clear that prayers in the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia do not reflect the views of a significant and growing number of non-religious people, at least 44.1 per cent of the province. Furthermore, simply because religious content is removed, minimized, or obscured, does not imply that a prayer reflects the beliefs of the irreligious, given the diversity of such beliefs. It would also not be reasonable to conclude that the 27.5 per cent of the prayers delivered in the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia identified as ‘secular’ reflected the views of non-believing British Columbians.

The idea of allocating time for prayer strongly influences how this time is used. Far from being an ecumenical time allocated for a diversity of faith traditions to share their beliefs, the data indicates that this segment is generally perceived as a time for Christian prayer. As a result, other beliefs and traditions are perceived as guests in this space, and as guests they tend to adopt the structure of the space. This is reflected by the fact that 88.7 per cent of ‘secular’ prayers ended in ‘amen,’ an ending typically associated with Christian prayer. Even if 27.5 per cent did accurately reflect the views of the irreligious, non-believers would remain, along with many other faith traditions, severely underrepresented. This leads us to the conclusion that prayer in the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia excludes people of no faith and people from faith traditions other than Christianity.

Fewer MLAs seem to have an interest in delivering prayers, as evidenced by the fact that only a handful of MLAs delivered the majority of prayers and that the percentage of MLAs delivering prayers has diminished over time. We suspect that this indicates an increasing number of MLAs either oppose the practice or are, at the very least, ambivalent towards it. When we surveyed MLAs about their position on the practice of legislative prayer in BC, we found that those who opposed the practice also expressed a desire not to deliver prayers themselves. One MLA explained that “I do not support the practice as I believe there should be real and perceived separation of religion and state,” noted that “Yes I have had the opportunity to deliver a prayer but declined.”

Conclusion

The study identified a number of thought-provoking trends with regard to prayer in the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia. We found that fewer MLAs are delivering prayers and the prayers are becoming longer and more religious. The proportion of prayers that were identified as Christian more than doubled in the past decade – a trend that holds for both major political parties.

Prayers delivered in the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia do not reflect the diversity of beliefs of British Columbians. Far from promoting diversity, the practice has tended to favour one faith tradition over others and religious beliefs over irreligious beliefs. Ultimately, prayer in the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia excludes non-believers and members of minority faith traditions.

Reform is clearly needed. The fact that the Standing Order 25 has been amended from ‘prayers’ to ‘prayers and reflections’ represents a beginning, but further action is required to ensure that the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia becomes a more inclusive chamber, one where all British Columbians feel welcome. The update of the sample prayer list represents a further progress of a kind, however, the fact that MLAs chose to read one of the sample prayers 50.0 per cent of the time and that their choice of these prayers was not uniform suggests that altering or adding to the list represents no guarantee that the newly added prayers will be read in the Legislature with any degree of consistency. Furthermore, the process of amending this list is fraught with practical, and potentially constitutional, difficulties, such as requiring government officials to decide which religions and prayers to include on the sample list.11

If the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia wishes to continue this exclusionary practice it might consider adopting an approach similar to that practiced by the Scottish Parliament, whereby their “time for reflection” is delivered by a guest and the “pattern of speakers reflects the balance of beliefs in Scotland (based on the Census).”12 Following such a practice on a daily basis would present a significant administrative burden, which likely explains why the Scottish Parliament takes time for reflection on a weekly basis. Likewise, the challenge of achieving an adequate representation of the populous is also significant.

Other options that could be considered by the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia would be replacing ‘prayers and reflections’ with an Indigenous territorial acknowledgement, with the procedures and protocols surrounding this practice being developed in consultation with Indigenous stakeholders. The latter part of this recommendation is critical in order to ensure that the practice represents the diversity of Indigenous peoples and traditions across the province and that the practice forms a meaningful part of reconciliation, rather than lapsing into perfunctory practice.

The prayers could be replaced with a time for silent reflection, similar to the practice in the Quebec National Assembly. There are so many religious traditions in the world with considerable diversity of beliefs and practices that crafting a single ‘non-denominational’ or ‘secular’ prayer is impossible. A time for silent reflections would provide an opportunity for MLAs to prepare for the upcoming sitting in whatever way they deem fit.

The most straightforward step would be to abolish the practice of legislative prayer completely. Those MLAs wishing to pray before a session could do so on their own time, and in a manner of their own choosing.

Notes

1 See Ryan-Lloyd, K., Sogomonian, A., Sourial, S. & Wall E. eds. (2020). Parliamentary practice in British Columbia. 5th Ed. Victoria, BC: Legislative Assembly of British Columbia, 97; and see also MacMinn, E. G. (2008). Parliamentary practice in British Columbia. 4th Ed. Legislative Assembly of British Columbia, 56.

2 Phelps Bondaroff, T.N., Bushfield, I., Marshall, K.E., Prasad, R., & Laurence, N. (2019, September). “House of prayers: An analysis of prayers in the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia, 2003-2019.” BC Humanist Association, 1-138. Retrieved fromhttps://www.bchumanist.ca/house_of_prayers_report.

3 Bueckert, C., Hill, R., Parisotto, M., & Roberts, M. (2017). “Religion, faith and spirituality in the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia.” Canadian Parliamentary Review, (Spring), 25-29.

4 Sandford, M. (2013). “Traditions and customs of the House: House of Commons background paper.” Retrieved from https://www.parliament.uk/about/how/business/prayers/; and Fizet, C. (2010, June 2). “Reopening the discussion on the use of ‘the Lord’s Prayer’ in the Ontario Legislature.” Paper presented at the 2010 Annual Meeting of the Canadian Political Science Association, Concordia University, Montreal, Canada, p.2.

5 And see also Bueckert et al. 2017:25; Lanouette, M. (2009). “Prayer in the Legislature: tradition meets secularization.” Canadian Parliamentary Review, (Winter), 1-7, 6; Fizet 2010; and Boissinot, J. (2015, April 17). “The end of prayer in the councils of the nation.” The Globe and Mail. Retrieved from https://www.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/editorials/the-end-of-prayer-in-the-councils-of-the-nation/article24010902/.

6 See Phelps Bondaroff, T.N., Prasad, R., Laurence, N., Darveau-Morin, A., Bushfield, I., & Thom, A. (2020). “Legislative prayer across Canada.” BC Humanist Association, (August) 1-8. Retrieved from https://www.bchumanist.ca/prayer-across-canada.

7 Ryan-Lloyd et al. 2020:97.

Ibid.

Ibid.

10 K. Ryan-Lloyd, Acting Clerk of the House, correspondence with authors, August 21, 2019.

11 For a detailed exploration of these difficulties, see Bushfield, I., & Phelps Bondaroff, T.N. (2020). “Arbiters of faith: Legislative Assembly of BC entanglement with religious dogma resulting from legislative prayer.” Secularism and Nonreligion, 9, 1-16.

12 Scottish Parliament. (2019, June 27). “Scottish Parliament fact sheet: contributors to time for reflections: sessions 5.” Retrieved from https://www.parliament.scot/ResearchBriefingsAndFactsheets/Factsheets/Contributors_to_Time_for_Reflection_Session_5.pdf ; and see Lanouette 2009:6.

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