Waters: Kelowna Right to Life runs it up a different flag pole

After striking out with the city, Kelowna Right To Life has succeeded in getting four schools to fly its flag.

If at first you don’t succeed, try try again—and this time, use young people.

That appears to be the tack Kelowna Right to Life is taking after it failed to convince the city to fly its flag over City Hall during next week’s Protect Human Life Week—a week the city’s mayor has agreed to proclaim.

So now, instead of one flag flying over one city building, the local anti-abortion organization plans to fly four pro-life flags over four area schools. The schools, described as all being “Christian” schools, including the Immaculata Catholic Regional High School on KLO Road. While it’s not likely to be taken up, the group is also inviting any school in the public system that wants to, to fly the flag as well.

Yesterday, as he awaited word of the pro-life flags’ arrival in the city, Kelowna Right To Life spokesman Marlon Bartram confirmed the school flag-flying plan, saying schools are not only a good place because they have flag poles, spreading the anti-abortion message to young people is a good move.

But the group is not stopping there. It is also linking a general school enrolment decline across B.C. with the issue of abortion.

According to KRTL, there are now 20,000 fewer students in B.C. schools than there were a few years ago and the reason for that, you guessed it, is abortion. That’s becuase there are 15,000 abortions in B.C. each year, it says.

Now, demographers may take issue with the reasoning, and in Kelowna, where the public school system is actually going through a bit of a boom at the kindergarten level, its hard to see abortion playing a part in the planning for new school spaces.

But with such a hot-button issue, connecting abortion to something as sacred as the education of children, the claim is bound to grab attention.

And isn’t that what this is all about? Attention That’s why groups fly flags, hold special days and weeks and have proclamations issued. They want to raise awareness and attract attention.

But should children be used to do that? It’s one thing to fight the fight over abortion on university and college campuses, at the city level and among adults. But using kids? That’s not right.

Regardless of the beliefs of the groups that run these schools, flying the flag of this, or any other special interest group, is something the schools themselves should not agree to do.

Alistair Waters is the Capital News’ assistant editor.


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