PRINCE ALBERT, Saskatchewan, May 13, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – A flag bearing a bluntly pro-life message is still flying in front of Prince Albert’s City Hall despite a week of protests from feminists and a petition demanding its removal and an apology.
The northern Saskatchewan city’s Right to Life group has flown a flag to mark Celebrate Life Week for at least 20 years, says the group’s leader, Dorothy Kawula, without much fuss. For the past 10 years the flag has carried the slogan “Celebrate Life” and the image of “Umbert the Unborn,” the wisecracking pre-born child created by cartoonist Gary Cangemi, saying “Please Let Me Live.”
“The flag represents hope,” Kuwala told LifeSiteNews. “It’s a very positive message, not an attack on anyone.”
But this year opponents quickly appeared in front of City Hall to protest and demand not only the flag’s removal but an apology, claiming that it violates city policy and the reproductive rights of women around the world.
The mayor, Greg Dionne, refused to comply, saying, “We are a diverse community, and everyone should have the right to their opinion. Whether I agree with it or not, that’s not my job to judge. We have a flag pole there that people have the right, during their celebration week, to fly their flag.”
The critics then staged a bigger protest that drew two city councillors, a United Church minister and a handful of supporters Thursday.
But Mrs. Kawula notes that the flag raising was attended by the vice president of the PA Ministerial Association and some Knights of Columbus in full dress uniforms. “I’ve received a lot of support.”
Protest leader Lana Wilson claims the city is “endorsing” the pro-life movement “by displaying this imagery and this flag in an official municipal capacity, they are showing endorsement of this movement.” She told the Daily Herald, “It’s particularly problematic because this movement is attempting to restrict human rights worldwide.”
Wilson also noted that the city’s flag policy states: “Flags of organizations which may be considered controversial, contentious or divisive within the community shall not be flown.”
But Mrs. Kawula counters that the city flies virtually any flag they are asked to, including that of Gay Pride. “This is not a promotion of any ideology or any event or anything like that, it’s just a request of the citizens,” she said.
As to whether the pro-life movement oppresses anyone, she told LifeSiteNews, “Once we decide the life of someone has no value, it degrades the value of everyone’s life.”
And Colette Stang, head of the Saskatchewan Pro-Life Association, adds, “We don’t oppress women, we protect them by telling the truth about the impacts abortion could have on them. It causes lots of emotional and physical damage.”
When a reporter asked protester Nitara Kuzak why Gay Pride’s flag should fly but not Celebrate Life’s, she responded, “There is nothing illegal about being gay.There is nothing controversial, federally, about being gay. I don’t think any politician would actually claim that being gay is in any way controversial.”
Mrs. Kawula responded, “We are not advocating anything that is illegal and we are not calling for anything that is legal to be made illegal.” But she added, “If they are going to take down one flag for being controversial they ought to take them all down. One policy for all.”
She expects the issue will be revived next May, if not sooner, during the Fall municipal election.