It appears a Surrey’s man’s battle with ICBC has turned to mush.
CTV News is reporting that Obi Canuel, a self-described “Pastafarian,” has lost his right to wear a colander for his B.C. driver’s licence photo.
Canuel, who is an ordained minister in the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster (which has a contact address in Surrey), said ICBC has denied him the right to wear the pasta strainer on his head and last week, stripped him of his driver’s licence.
In August, the 36-year-old said he believed he would be able to wear the kitchen accessory when he renewed his licence last fall, because ICBC allows the right to religious expression.
But in a letter, the insurer told him “there is no religious requirement that prohibits you from removing the colander for the purpose of taking the photo to appear on your driver’s license (sic).”
ICBC said its religious head covering policy strives to strike a balance between respect for the driver’s religious beliefs and a need to preserve the integrity of the licensing system.
The company told Canuel it would not issue him a new driver’s licence with a photo of him wearing the colander, but he was able to obtain interim paper licences in the meantime while the dispute continued to simmer.
On Friday, he was told that avenue had come to an end and he would need to submit to a colander-less photo.
“We will always try to accommodate customers with head coverings where their faith prohibits them from removing it,” ICBC told CTV News Vancouver in a statement.
“Mr. Canuel was not able to provide us with any evidence that he cannot remove his head covering for his photo.”
Canuel said he gets “the spiritual inkling to wear the colander” and doesn’t believe ICBC should be able to make decisions about what kind of religious headgear is appropriate or not, adding he will meditate on what to do next.
“I know I’ve been accused of wasting taxpayers’ time and resources, and I know there are starchy people out there that don’t agree with his noodliness. I don’t want to annoy anyone further.”
The Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster was created nine years ago by a U.S. man to satirize certain aspects of creationism. It follows a belief that a flying pasta creature created the universe after “drinking heavily.”
The Flying Spaghetti Monster has become a symbol against the teaching of intelligent design in the public education system.
At least four countries, including the U.S., allow “Pastafarians” to wear colanders in their driver’s licence photos.
Canuel documented his struggles with ICBC in a YouTube video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pux7jummtfA
– from CTV News Vancouver