June 21, 1994

News: Wiccan candidate ousted over religion

Canada: A candidate for the British Columbia provincial legislature has had his nomination taken from him because his party, the ruling New Democratic Party (roughly equivalent to Labour) found out he is Wiccan.

Samuel Wagar, organiser of Pagans for Peace and a pastor in the North American-wide Covenant of the Goddess Church, secured the nomination to run for Matsqui in a by-election but was forced to resign by the party leader in the province of British Columbia when the party discovered that Wagar is Pagan and worships a horned god, dancing around a fire in the nude

Interestingly enough the party in question has passed a law—Bill 33, the Human Rights Amendment Act—which allows anyone who has been discriminated against for any reason to bring the case to a human rights tribunal, with the power to impose fines of up to $100,000 CDN. The only route of appeal is to the Supreme Court of Canada which requires at least $100,000 in legal fees, and a wait of several years.

Wagar is considering filing a complaint against the party with the BC Human Rights Council for infringing on his constitutionally protected freedom of religion. and has asked for a complete and public apology from Premier Mike 'Bonehead' Harcourt. Harcourt said he would not be making one.

A local television station held a phone-in poll on Friday 28th January to find out if viewers felt Sam Wagar's freedom of religion had been violated. There were 3291 calls and 73% of callers voted "yes". These results were forwarded to the Premier's office.

The NDP leaders insist they are only concerned that Wagar didn't mention his religion during the nomination process. NDP provincial secretary Keith Reynolds told the Vancouver Sun it's the sort of information I think people might consider relevant when they decide whether someone should be a candidate or not.

At this point, this is purely a disclosure issue, It's something we have to examine.

Wagar see things differently, It was my understanding that I should disclose only relevant information, which I interpret as being such things as financial interest, or organisational affiliation that may constitute a conflict of interest, he said in an interview, It wasn't like I had to fill out a form or anything.

My religion is not relevant to anyone but me, it is not a campaign issue, and frankly it is no one's business but my own, he said. This is a tempest in a teapot.

Source: Usenet [alt.pagan]

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This page contains a single entry by Feòrag published on June 21, 1994 10:49 PM.

News: Mayor invites Klan to burn witches was the previous entry in this blog.

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