MEDIA ADVISORY: Solo Files Civil Rights Complaint with Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission against City of Saskatoon (Saskatoon Transit Services) for Christmas Messages on Programmable Bus Signs
SASKATOON, SK, – Ashu M. G. Solo has filed a civil rights complaint with the Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission (SHRC) against the City of Saskatoon (Saskatoon Transit Services) for Christmas messages on programmable bus signs. Solo filed the complaint after Saskatoon City Council decided to retain the messages and not add messages for any of the other over 10,000 religions.
Solo believes that these Christmas messages discriminate on the basis of the prohibited grounds of religion and creed contrary to section 2 of the Saskatchewan Human Rights Code, violate freedom of conscience in section 4, and violate section 12 by discriminating against people who aren’t Christian with respect to the services provided by Saskatoon Transit Services.
“There are over 10,000 religions not including branches of each religion, so they can’t have messages for all religions on the buses and should have messages for no religions,” Solo said. “The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees religious equality.”
March is the City of Saskatoon’s Cultural Diversity and Race Relations Month. “On one hand, they spend a lot of money on events promoting respect for cultural diversity. On the other hand, they retain Christmas messages on buses and don’t include holiday messages for any of the other over 10,000 religions,” Solo said. “Government actions like this make people mistakenly think that this is a Christian city and Christian country.”
Solo is attempting to amalgamate his prayer recitation complaint and Christmas message complaint into one case to reduce costs. He believes that this can be done because both complaints are against the City of Saskatoon, both complaints are for religious discrimination, and both complaints allege violations of the same sections of the Saskatchewan Human Rights Code, but SHRC will decide if the complaints can be amalgamated.
An attempt at mediation will not be made with the prayer recitation complaint until after SHRC determines if Solo’s complaints can be amalgamated. The City of Saskatoon won’t receive any correspondence about either of these complaints from SHRC until there is an attempt at mediation. Solo doesn’t believe that mediation is possible for either complaint because he won’t change his positions and he doubts if the respondents will too. If mediation fails, SHRC can refer a case for a hearing by the Court of Queen’s Bench.
Solo believes that he’ll eventually win with both complaints. “He who is clad in the armor of a righteous cause can defeat the armies of intolerance,” Solo said.
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Ashu M. G. Solo