OTTAWA, Mar 1 (  In a letter to the federal Justice department, Brosi Nutting, chief justice of the Saskatchewan provincial court requested the removal of a reference to God and the use of the Bible in taking oaths in Canadian courts. Nutting’s request dated April,1998 was made public by a freedom of information request by the Ottawa Citizen.

The Citizen reports that a 1995 federal-provincial working group on multicultural and race relations in the justice system recommended that judges dispense with God and make witnesses promise to tell the truth. Apparently some maverick judges have already dispensed with the traditional oath on the Bible by simply asking witnesses: “Do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God?”

Some critics point to the recent Clinton debacle in the US as a warning about the relationship between a person’s commitment to telling the truth and their recognition that they are accountable to a greater being.