Canada axes non-Christian chaplains15 October 2012
The Canadian Government has axed all 100 minority-faith chaplaincy positions in the federal prison system.
Public Safety Minister Vic Toews ordered that from next April all demands for religious counselling and other religious activities be met through the 71 state-funded Christian chaplains.
The decision follows a ministerial review begun after the Correctional Service of Canada advertised for a Wiccan chaplain. According to a ministerial statement the move "supports the freedom of religion of inmates while respecting taxpayer dollars".
Jewish, Muslim and Buddhists groups have complained that the move violates religious rights. While 54 per cent of Canada's 15,000 inmates are Catholic or Protestant, 5 per cent are Muslim, 4 per cent follow Aboriginal religions, 2 per cent are Buddhist and 1 per cent are Jewish. Some 34 per cent describe their religious affiliation as "other".
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