KELOWNA, British Columbia, September 5, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - The Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada launched a campaign on Tuesday demanding the mayor of Kelowna, British Columbia rescind his proclamation declaring Sept. 23-30 to be Protect Human Life Week.
In an open letter addressed to Mayor Walter Gray, Joyce Arthur, the executive director of Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada, made the assertion that the sponsor of Protect Human Life Week, Kelowna Right to Life, “is a radical political and religious group primarily concerned with opposing and re-criminalizing abortion, not with protecting the infirm, aged, handicapped, or even babies.”
“We demand that the Mayor of Kelowna immediately rescind this proclamation, because it strongly implies that Kelowna does not respect women’s legal and constitutional rights,” said Arthur, adding that there is “no valid reason to issue the proclamation” for a pro-life week that she declares is “deeply offensive.”
This is the second skirmish in the battle over this year’s Protect Human Life Week, which has been held in Kelowna for the past 4 years.
Two weeks ago controversy erupted when the city council voted to eliminate altogether the practice of flying courtesy flags marking officially proclaimed events, rather than allow Kelowna Right to Life’s pro-life flag to fly above city hall during the week.
“Just as the “PRO-LIFE” flag will not be flown, all public support for “Protect Human Life Week” must now be withdrawn,” Arthur said in her letter.
Kelowna’s Director of Communications Tom Wilson told the media that city council does not intend to rescind the proclamation, noting that Mayor Gray has signed more than 50 proclamations since the beginning of the year.
“As the BC Human Rights Commission has established, a proclamation is a service provided by the office of the mayor, not an expression of the personal views of the mayor,” Wilson told the Kelowna Daily Courier.
“Council acknowledges the potential for contradictory or controversial proclamations, but these are not intended as an endorsement of one view over another,” Wilson said, adding that abortion rights activists were free to ask the city for their own proclamation.
Marlon Bartram, executive director of Kelowna Right to Life, said the pro-life group is prepared for a fight and may take a decision against Protect Human Life Week to the B.C. Human Rights tribunal claiming discriminatory and selective proclamation practices.
“I think it would be almost a clear-cut case of discrimination,” Bartram said.
Bartram told LifeSiteNews that the bullying tactics employed by abortion advocates are a sign of intolerance of any message contrary to their own.
“It is apparent that Joyce Arthur and the rest of the Canadian abortion cabal is once again resorting to bully tactics in an attempt to silence opposition to their agenda,” Bartram said. “In their world, any murmuring of the pro-life message in any corner of Canada must be immediately quashed, and all who proclaim a message contrary to their own must be silenced.”
“But guess what Joyce,” Bartram said, “even though you think that you are being tolerant by chumming around with those who share your view on child-killing, tolerance is respecting the right to free speech of those with opinions that differ from yours. Maybe this time you just ought to accept that Protect Human Life Week is going ahead. Maybe it is your turn to tolerate us!”
Despite the controversy, events scheduled for Protect Human Life Week will go ahead as planned, Bartram assured those planning to attend.
Those events include a Memorial Service for the Unborn, a Walk for Life fundraiser September 22 in Mission Creek Park, an exclusive screening of the new film October Baby on September 28 at Evangel Church on Gordon Drive at 7:00 pm, and the annual Life Chain to close out the week on September 30.
Kelowna Right to Life also plans to conduct a postcard campaign during the week, distributing pro-life postcards to households in the Kelowna area.
Click here to view the City of Kelowna proclamation of Protect Human Life Week for 2012.
Mayor Walter Gray
City of Kelowna
1435 Water Street, Kelowna, BC V1Y 1J4
Mayor’s Office Phone: 250 469-8980