Green legislator calls for replacement of N.B. legislature prayers with silence

A Green Party politician who opposes mandatory Christian prayers in the New Brunswick legislature is suggesting it shift to periods of silence as practised in two other provinces.

Kevin Arseneau says when the house returns in May he'll bring in his motion to end the practice of only speaking Christian prayers for the Queen, the legislature and the Lord's Prayer before business commences.

However, the push for change by the legislature member from Kent North has been swiftly shut down by Tory Premier Blaine Higgs.

He has said he finds it sad that some are attempting to "pick away" at historical traditions of the province's political institutions.

However, Arseneau says the current prayer practice is excluding atheists, agnostics and legislators of non-Christian faith, as well as many citizens viewing the legislature's proceedings.

He is suggesting the procedures committee shift the practice to a period of silence, as practised in Quebec and Newfoundland and Labrador.

The remaining provinces and territories have some form of prayer, though in some jurisdictions, including Ontario, there is now a rotation of prayers from different faiths.