City demands change before agreeing to fly pro-life flag over City Hall
Kelowna city hall has once again proclaimed the last week of September as Protect Human Life Week in the city.
And this year, it has also agreed to fly a pro-life flag over City Hall during the week.
But approval for the flag flying was withheld until changes were made to the flag’s original design, say Kelowna Right To Life officials.
According to the group, the original flag had the statement “From Conception to Natural Death” printed on it. But that was rejected by City Hall because it did not meet the city’s requirement that such flags reflect the actual event and because it was felt to advocate a point of view.
Kelowna Right to Life agreed to remove the statement from the flag and city officials have agreed to fly it during Protect Human Life Week.
The proclamation for the week reads in part: “It is the intention of this proclamation to promote respect and protection to all human life, especially the infirm, the aged, the handicapped, and the unborn.”
Mayor Walter Gray, who ran afoul of the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal in the late 1990s when he was mayor and arbitrarily changed the wording of a requested Gay Pride Day proclamation, banned city proclamations for the rest of his time in office. But his successor, Sharon Shepherd reintroduced them when she was elected in 2005. Gray has carried on the practice since returning to the mayor’s office last November.
Shepherd proclaimed the first right to life week in Kelowna four years ago.
KRTL executive director Marlon Bartram said his group is grateful to the city and the mayor for accommodating its proclamation and flag-flying requests.
“At a time when pro-life groups on Canadian college campuses are routinely censored and pro-life initiatives get very little positive exposure in the news media, it is certainly refreshing to have our mayor’s office recognize our efforts on such a consistent basis.”
He said Kelowna City Hall’s continuing proclamation of Protect Human Life Week shows the rest of the country that Kelowna truly is an “inclusive place that respects the many diverse communities comprising our great city.”
This year marks the fifth consecutive year the City of Kelowna has proclaimed Protect Human Life Week.
Events planned for the week include a Walk For Life fundraiser Sept. 22 in Mission Creek Park, an screening of the film October Baby on Sept. 28, and the annual Life Chain demonstration to close out the week Sept. 30.
October Baby is a film loosely based on the true story of Gianna Jessen, who survived on abortion attempt by her mother when her mother was five months pregnant with her.
Jessen spoke in Kelowna three years ago at a dinner hosted by Kelowna Right to Life. The movie will be screened at Evangel Church on Gordon Drive at 7 p.m.
KRTL also plans to conduct a postcard campaign during the week, distributing anti-abortion postcards to hundreds of households in the Kelowna area.