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OTTAWA, May 11, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – The City of Ottawa has taken down a pro-life flag put up in honor of the National March for Life today.

After LifeSiteNews reported on this morning’s flag raising at city hall, abortion activists and city councillors lashed out at Mayor Jim Watson’s office.

The pro-life flag commemorated the 20th anniversary National March for Life, which drew thousands to the capital to demand legal protections for unborn life.

But Watson quickly backed down amid fierce social media backlash.

“I am pleased to report that the anti abortion flag has been taken down. I have asked staff for a complete review of the city's flag policy,” Watson tweeted Thursday afternoon.

“My personal opinion has always been that women have the right to choose,” he added.

Francis Barrett, who had worked with the City to have the flag flown, was writing a thank you note to Mayor Watson this afternoon when he learned it had been taken down. He called the decision “ridiculous.” 

“I’m being treated like a nobody. I have my rights the same as the next person. We did everything legitimately, it was signed by the mayor,” he told LifeSiteNews.

“This has got to stop. This is really discrimination. … Could you imagine if they took the gay flag down? And they won’t let us fly that flag for one day, when they gave us permission?”

He said city officials so far have not returned his calls about the matter. “I think we should get an apology from the city.”

This morning, seven city councillors issued a statement demanding its immediate removal.

In an open letter, they said they were “outraged that a flag representing a personal conviction to restrict a woman’s right to safe and legal abortion is flying on the grounds of City Hall for the first time in the City’s history.”

Abortion activists on Twitter and Facebook were livid at Watson.

“Probably an acceptable time to skip review of policy and just take that **** down,” a Twitter user shot at Watson.

“Good!!!! Because that is some bull****!! Who approved this?!?!????,” fired another.

The Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada made a Facebook post with LifeSiteNews’s video coverage of this morning’s flag raising at Ottawa City Hall along with a message stating, “This is totally unacceptable. Could you please Tweet your disgust that the City would officially endorse an anti-human rights cause.”

The post concluded with the statement, “Trigger warning: link goes to anti-choice video describing flag approval.”

Pro-abortion Twitter users reacted in kind to condemn the flag.

One user said it was “disgusting” to fly the flag and that she was “disappointed you're supporting these people who spread lies and force their beliefs on teens.”

Another said she was “Feeling sick to my stomach that” had “raised a “pro-life” flag at City Hall,” then stating that “Pro life ≠ respect for life/”

“Take the damn flag down @JimWatsonOttawa #Ott,” a third tweet stated.

Planned Parenthood Ottawa tweeted a photo of the flag flying stating, “Anti-abortion protest flag really is flying in Ottawa. Why @mayorjimwatson?”

After the backlash first ensued, Watson had issued a statement saying, “I have asked the City's Clerk's Office for a completed review of the Proclamations and Flag raising policy.”

CBCNews reported on the pro-abortion backlash, including LifeSite’s video coverage of the flag raising. Local radio station CFRA-580 covered the controversy as well.

MP Peter Julian joined in criticizing the pro-life flag as well. He tweeted that it is “appalling that an anti-abortion flag is flying above #Ottawa City Hall. It MUST come down immediately #defendchoice #prochoice #canfem #NDP.”

The flag displaying the words, “National March for Life Ottawa” was raised over Ottawa City Hall around 5:45 a.m. this morning, and was supposed to stay up until sundown.

Watson had proclaimed the day as the “National March for Life Day in the Capital.”

In the decree he said that the National March for Life is an event where “thousands of people from across Canada and the United States…come to Parliament Hill” to “bring awareness for the need for life-affirming solutions.”

The City of Ottawa says that the varying flags that it raises over City Hall are meant to help foster community.

“Flag-raising ceremonies enhance public awareness of activities such as national days, multicultural events, and fundraising drives,” the City website states. “They encourage support from members of the public, and benefit and enrich the community.”


Mayor Jim Watson
[email protected]
Twitter: @JimWatsonOttawa