boat-calmsthestorm2The Supreme Court of Canada has ruled the municipal council in the Quebec town of Saguenay cannot open its meetings with a prayer.

In a unanimous decision [in mid-April], the country’s top court said reciting a Catholic prayer at council meetings infringes on freedom of conscience and religion.

The ruling puts an end to an eight-year legal battle that began with a complaint filed by atheist Alain Simoneau and a secular-rights organization against Saguenay Mayor Jean Tremblay.

The court ordered the City of Saguenay and the mayor to stop the prayers. It also ordered the city and Tremblay to pay Simoneau a total of $33,200 in compensatory damages, punitive damages and costs.

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