Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty has recommended that daily recitation of the Lord’s Prayer in the provincial legislature be dropped.
“The members of the Ontario Legislature reflect the diversity of Ontario – be it Christian, Jewish, Hindu, Muslim, Sikh or agnostic,” McGuinty said. “It is time for our practices to do the same.”
The change will mean that only two Canadian provinces, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island, will continue to begin legislative proceedings with the Lord’s Prayer, reported Religion News Service.
The move has encountered some resistance. Ernie Hardeman, a member of parliament representing Oxford, has started a petition drive to keep the Lord’s Prayer in government.
“It is important that we respect and maintain the traditions and history of the Ontario legislature,” Hardeman told Sun Media newspapers. “Part of that tradition is keeping the Lord’s Prayer. The focus should be on building upon tradition rather than abandoning it.”
Hardeman also argues that the prayer should be retained because no members are required to be in the chamber when it is recited and in fact the prayer ritual is usually “sparsely attended.”