.- Jean Tremblay, mayor of the Quebec city of Saguenay, has reaffirmed his intention to continue to pray before monthly city hall meetings despite criticisms, a Human Rights Commission (HRC) ruling, and further possible legal action.
"My religion has always been more important than my career. I go to Mass every day. I have no intention of betraying my faith, I'd be too ashamed to show up 'on the other side' in front of God," said Tremblay, according to news reports.
Canada’s Human Rights Commission on May 15 ordered the mayor to stop praying before the meetings after citizen Christian Joncas filed a complaint. A second complaint has been filed by Alain Simoneau on behalf of the Mouvement laïc québécois, which could involve a $100,000 lawsuit.
Tremblay said he has prayed for the two men, but said he will not stop the prayers without a majority consensus from his city’s citizens.
"In a democratic system, it is the majority that imposes its law. I am in politics and a politician, who rules his case in the elections. I will not fold for one individual.”
The mayor claimed that so far his stand has “not cost a penny to the municipality.” He further compared the attempts to end the prayers to the actions of present and former communist countries.
"You could see it in China or Russia, not here. It is currently exceeding the limits with that case," he said.
In the past Mayor Tremblay has criticized the increase of secularism in Quebec and has called for a revival of the Canadian province’s Catholic heritage.