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'Disdain and mockery:' Saskatchewan premier criticizes Governor General's speech

REGINA — Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall says Gov. Gen. Julie Payette should avoid denigrating faiths that believe in a creator.

Payette has faced criticism for a speech last week that some say mocked people of faith and appeared to criticize people who believe in creationism and horoscopes.

"We are still debating and still questioning whether life was a divine intervention or whether it was coming out of a natural process, let alone, oh my goodness, a random process,'' she told a Canadian Science Policy Convention in Ottawa.

"I thought there was disdain and mockery for someone's religious beliefs," Wall said Thursday in Regina.

Wall said Payette is well qualified to serve as Governor General given her record of public service and professional achievements. But he said her comments did not meet the standard of conduct that comes with the position.

"As a Governor General, if that's what you believe, that's fair, but I don't think you should present those views because there's an insensitivity to millions of Canadian who don't agree," said Wall.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau didn't seem to have any issue with Payette's speech. He said his government and Canadians understand the value of science. 

In a speech in the New Brunswick legislature Tuesday, Payette did not directly address controversy over her earlier remarks, but praised Canada's tolerance and freedom of religion. The former astronaut spoke about seeing Canada from space without borders and talked of the need to work together.

"It is one planet and we all have a duty to protect it. We have to work together. We have to use our power to work together and make decisions and changes that are needed to preserve our world,'' she said.

"Our values are tolerance and determination, and freedom of religion, freedom to act, opportunities, equality of opportunities amongst everyone and for all."


Jennifer Graham, The Canadian Press

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