09/21/2015 16:00 EDT | Updated 09/21/2016 01:12 EDT

Quebec mayor who went to Supreme Court over prayer to step down in two years

SAGUENAY, Que. — The Quebec mayor who went to the Supreme Court to have the right to say a prayer at the beginning of municipal council meetings says he will step down when his mandate expires in two years.

The Supreme Court ruled last April the reading of a Catholic prayer at council meetings infringes on freedom of conscience and religion.

The ruling ended an eight-year legal battle that pitted atheist Alain Simoneau and a secular-rights organization against Saguenay Mayor Jean Tremblay.

Tremblay, 66, said at the time he would comply with the judgment even though he didn't agree with it.

He was elected mayor of Chicoutimi in 1997 and four years later became mayor of the merged community of Saguenay, about 250 kilometres north of Quebec City.

Tremblay said on Facebook today it will be time to pass the torch in 2017.

"The next two years are the most important for me," he said. "I want to leave the impression of a mayor who succeeded at all levels, of a mayor who proved that he worked for his constituents."


The Canadian Press