Minocracy in Canada: “This is not a Christian country” argues Ashu Solo and demands promise there will be no more prayers of any kind at City of Saskatoon events

“This is not a Christian country or a Christian city. It is a secular multicultural country and secular multicultural city with people from numerous religions as well as spiritual people, agnostics and atheists,” Solo said.

Atheist Ashu Solo threatens human rights complaint after Saskatoon councillor’s dinner blessing

Betty Ann Adam, Postmedia NewsApr 21, 2012 – 5:02 PM ET | Last Updated: Apr 23, 2012 10:06 AM ET

Richard Marjan/Postmedia News

“It made me feel like a second-class citizen. It makes you feel excluded,” atheist Ashu Solo complained after a Saskatoon city councillor said grace at a volunteer appreciation dinner.

SASKATOON — A Christian prayer by a city councillor at a City of Saskatoon volunteer appreciation dinner discriminated against non-Christians, says a volunteer who intends to complain to the Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission.

Ashu Solo, a member of the city’s cultural diversity and race relations committee, was among the guests at the dinner Wednesday, where Coun. Randy Donauer said a blessing over the food in which he mentioned Jesus and ended with “amen.”

“It made me feel like a second-class citizen. It makes you feel excluded,” said Solo, who is an atheist.

“It’s ironic that I’ve now become a victim of religious bigotry and discrimination at this banquet that was supposed to be an appreciation banquet for the service of volunteers like me.”
The inclusion of a Christian prayer at a municipal government event violates the separation of religion and government, Solo wrote in a lengthy email to Mayor Don Atchison, which he later distributed to the rest of council.

Solo also takes issue with a prayer that “clearly gives primacy to one religion over all other religions” at a municipal event paid for with Saskatoon taxpayer money.

“This is not a Christian country or a Christian city. It is a secular multicultural country and secular multicultural city with people from numerous religions as well as spiritual people, agnostics and atheists,” Solo said.

Municipal officials should not use their offices to “perform religious bigotry, as this is,” or “to impose their own religious beliefs on others,” Solo said.

Atchison said he is sorry to hear Solo felt excluded.

He suggested in the future, the dinner could feature prayers from different religions on a rotating basis. There could even be a dinner with no prayer at all for atheists, he said.

Solo said the rotation idea will not work because there are thousands of religions.

He wants an apology from the mayor and a promise there won’t be any more prayers at City of Saskatoon events. He said if he does not receive those by next Friday, he will proceed with a human rights complaint naming the City of Saskatoon, Atchison and Donauer.

“That will give us a few days to think about it and see what we need to do here,” Atchison said. “I certainly couldn’t give that (assurance and apology) to anyone right now.”

Saskatoon StarPhoenix



Minocracy is a term used by CIReport to refer to minorities ruling the majority.

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  • Euonymus

    … is this guy for real?!
    If he feels like a “second-class” citizen in the presence of Christians and Christianity, I assume that he is a masochist as the view of a church or a cross must give him splitting headaches.
    What is his country of origin?

    • David

      He didn’t say that he feels like a second-class citizen in the presence of Christians; he said that he felt like a second class citizen when an elected official, in their official capacity, at a public event, publicly endorsed Christianity. If you are still unable to see the difference, then may I suggest you consider how you would feel if one of your city councillors came to an event you were organising, and insisted on starting it off with a prayer to Krishna, or Allah,, for example.

  • http://drprunesquallor.wordpress.com Dr Prune

    Boo hoo hoo :o( Poor Mr. Solo. He sounds like a snivelling, manipulative child.

    The thing that really makes me sad is, we’ve done this to ourselves.

  • Andy Brown

    Mr Solo
    Maybe the next time you can stick your fingers in your ears and quit trying to dictate your views to other people just in case you don’t know it we have rights too. I was born in this country and respect other religious beliefs as long as they don’t try to interfere with my beliefs

  • Euonymus

    I still cannot believe the audacity of this immigrant. Making an affirmation such as his denotes not only a crass lack of knowledge related to our Canadian history, but also a deep disrespect for everyone.
    I am an atheist, but a prayer at a dinner table does not bother me as I am not forced to pray.
    I am also shocked that the mayor got so scared and accepted to be humiliated, insulted and threatened.
    I would have told this Solo guy to make the complaint.
    If Solo is insulted by a prayer, he should also be insulted by living in a Christian country (yes, Solo, Canada IS a CHRISTIAN country, whether you like it or not!), being paid by Christians’ money and being protected by the laws made by Christians.
    He dares to insult an entire country and nobody dares to say anything.
    So, Solo, I have a message for you: learn to be respectful and if you dislike Canada’s Christian customs, you are free to move to wherever you think religion will not irritate you.
    Also, a message for the mayor: Grow a spine and be a Canadian!

  • http://thestarphoenix.com Betty Ann Adam

    Mr. Solo was born and raised in Saskatoon. His degree in computer engineering is from the University of Waterloo and he served in the Canadian armed forces.

    • Euonymus

      Thank you, Ms Adam.
      Unfortunately, the fact of being born in Canada to immigrant parents does not atuomatically qualify someone as Canadian.
      To be Canadian means more than a passport or a birthcertificate and Solo is a living proof of it.
      He should probably visit his parents’ country and meditate on the great country Canada is and thank Christians for building a country like this.
      He should be humble as he and his parents are nothing but users of what Christians built in this country centuries ago.

  • Jane

    If he doesnt like christians or our beliefs why does he come to canada! Canada was made by christians, the rule of law, the courts, the school system, our kind and generous healthcare system, our farmers. Has he ever taken a ride down a road out west, all one can see are christian churches. All the small towns are christian, there may be a few minorities there but the vast majority are christian. What planet is he from.

    I happen to be chrisitan, canada is a christian country with a christian heritage and we are the majority still being 84 %. I hope that insults him because if someone takes away my christmas I will be insulting alot of people and so will many others!

    Hes upset about a christian prayer. Well Im upset every day I go outside and see people who dress in ethnic clothes, who do not converse in my language which is english and is the language of canada, who wear headgear, who are rude, who take our jobs away, who use our welfare system, who commit crimes.

    • David

      “canada is a christian country with a christian heritage”

      No, Canada is a secular country, with a heritage which includes Christians, as well as members of other religions and of no religion. The fact that Christians happen to be the majority in no way justifies any branch of government being seen to favour Christianity over any other religion, or over non-religion.

      See section 27 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Section_Twenty-seven_of_the_Canadian_Charter_of_Rights_and_Freedoms

      “If he doesnt like christians or our beliefs why does he come to canada!”

      I don’t think ‘emerging from your mother’s womb’ counts as a conscious choice to come to the country she happens to be in at the time.

      “Hes upset about a christian prayer. Well Im upset every day I go outside and see people who dress in ethnic clothes, who do not converse in my language which is english and is the language of canada”

      The difference is that there is no constitutional guarantee that promises you the right to live in a society where nobody is different from you, whereas there is, in the charter already linked to, an explicit guarantee of respect for the multicultural heritage of Canadians.

      Also, as an aside, in what sense is English the language of Canada? Are not French, Cree, Inuktitut and many other languages also the languages of Canada? English is the majority language to be sure, but if you’re really suggesting that the majority should have the right to trample everyone else, you should at least have the right to say so – and to agree that if ever any other language became dominant, you in turn would be happy to be expected to speak it instead of English.

      • David

        Sorry, that 4th-from-last line should have read “…you should at least have the honesty to say so…”

        • Euonymus

          Come on, David, give me a break with the Charter…
          Instead of creating cohesion, that piece of garbage divides us into ghettos.
          If I understand well, you do not admit the existance of an official language/national language in Canada.
          So, would you rather have 150 socially accepted languages in the country?
          Even so, a common language would be required, in order to communicate.
          As it is the case of English in India, used as a common language in the ocean of dialects and languages.
          China also has numerous regional languages/dialects, but Mandarin is the official language of the country.
          I doubt that you say that Mandarin is not the language of China…
          Sad to see that so many Westerners have no respect for anything that defines their own identity.
          It is as if self-efacement gives them pleasure.

  • Jane

    The armed forces are christians too!

  • http://Google Jim

    Mr solo should return to his own homeland and start complaining about religion and see what the consequences are in the meantime leave our country and our beliefs alone. I don’t recall his ancestors being here with mine or others forming this great nation. Be thankful you were allowed to come to this nation and quit trying to make a name for yourself with garbage news

  • Hesiodos

    Interesting array of thoughts. I might suggest that regardless of one’s origins of birth, referring to both cultural/religious and geographic that one’s faith (including atheism which requires all kinds of beliefs in order to choose none) should at least withstand the rigors held within the test of self-doubt. If it is true and good then one should not be blown about so erratically by the winds of others. I might further suggest that Mr. Solo’s public outcry aligns him others who publically display their complete insecurity in their religious choice and give voice to a cry for help in the guise of complaint – and practice which I am sure dates back to early, early humanity.

  • Meh

    As an atheist myself, I really don’t see the problem with a government official professing his / her faith. Just because a person is elected doesn’t mean they stop being people. P.S. If a bus, store or holiday card says “Merry Christmas” it doesn’t mean you are not welcome if you believe differently – it just means “go buy me a present”! :)

  • Gordon

    Mr Solo. I read with interest your interview on Crommunist Manifesto. I don’t really understand why you are so upset with The Mayors Prayer Breakfast in Saskatoon. I live in Red Deer and there has been a Mayor’s Prayer Breakfast for many years , with many excellent speakers. If people don’t want to attend, that is their choice. It’s never been an issue here.
    Another comment I don’t understand is your analogy about the restaurant which only serves one item. I would expect if the patrons didn’t want to eat that one meal, they would go to another restaurant. My analogy being, if people didn’t like the Mayor and council in Saskatoon, they would not vote for them. I expect the majority of citizens in Saskatoon prefer the Mayor in place now, or he would not have been elected.
    I don’t wish this as a criticism , only questioning your motives and trying to understand your thought process. I think you might be making a mountain out of a molehill. There are many worthwhile causes to become involved in , many which could help instead of polarize people…perhaps getting involved in a charity or assisting the homeless. Your time might be better spent.