Prayer for Relief: Saguenay and State Neutrality Toward Religion in Canada

(2016) 1 Cambridge Law Review 176-187.

12 Pages Posted: 14 Mar 2018

See all articles by Ravi Amarnath

Ravi Amarnath

Government of Ontario - Ontario Ministry of Attorney General

Brian Bird

McGill University, Faculty of Law

Date Written: February 1, 2016

Abstract

To what extent can the state, in carrying out its functions, profess or favour one religious tradition over another? This question was at the heart of the decision of the Supreme Court of Canada in Mouvement laïque québécois v. Saguenay (City). The Court decided that the Canadian state bears a duty of neutrality in matters of religion, which means it cannot profess or favour one religious tradition over another. This article discusses the consequences of how the Court articulated the duty of neutrality in Canada, and, in particular, how it pertains to deriving a meaning for a "secular state".

Keywords: freedom of religion; secularism; state neutrality; constitutional law

Suggested Citation

Amarnath, Ravi and Bird, Brian, Prayer for Relief: Saguenay and State Neutrality Toward Religion in Canada (February 1, 2016). (2016) 1 Cambridge Law Review 176-187., Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3132845

Ravi Amarnath

Government of Ontario - Ontario Ministry of Attorney General ( email )

720 Bay Street, 11th Floor
Toronto, Ontario M7A 2S9
Canada

Brian Bird (Contact Author)

McGill University, Faculty of Law ( email )

Montréal, Quebec
Canada

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