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Vancouver Island city won’t include prayer at next inaugural meeting

Parksville officials respond to group’s threat to sue
The BC Humanist Association recently announced its intention to take legal action against the City of Parksville over prayers at inaugural meetings in 2018 and 2022. (City of Parksville YouTube)

The City of Parksville has confirmed there is no intention of including prayers at its inaugural meeting after the next municipal election in 2026, according to a news release by the city.

The BC Humanist Association recently announced its intention to take legal action against the city over prayers provided at inaugural meetings in 2018 and 2022.

The agenda for the 2026 inaugural meeting will be set by the mayor-elect and the concerns of the BCHA will be addressed by the mayor-elect at that time, according to the city.

Lawyers for the city recently responded to the lawyers representing the BCHA to address concerns related to the inclusion of a “blessing” at the inaugural Parksville council meeting on Nov. 7, 2022, the city said.

“The inaugural meeting included a blessing from Chief Recalma of the Qualicum First Nation and a blessing from a local youth pastor,” the release stated. “The inaugural meeting is a unique meeting which includes ceremonial activities, welcoming a new Mayor and Council to take their oath of office, and appointing members to committees, boards and commissions.”

READ MORE: BC Humanist Association plans legal action against City of Parksville for council prayer

In the letter, the city also confirmed it is committed to acting in accordance with all applicable laws and to support the fundamental rights and freedoms afforded to citizens under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

“The City of Parksville council acknowledges our community is comprised of people with diverse beliefs, abilities, backgrounds and world views and wishes to expressly state that all opinions and perspectives are welcome and valued,” the release stated. “Diversity and inclusiveness make our community stronger and more vibrant.”

— NEWS Staff