September 23, 2013 - 11:25 AM
KAMLOOPS – The coordinator of the Welcoming Communities Program wants the city to know the street banner proclaiming 'Protect Human Life Week' makes it appear they continue to support "discriminatory activities".
The banner went up earlier this month on Tranquille Road and within the week Alyssa Gelding once again sent a letter to council outlining her displeasure.
“Sadly, the need for further discussion on this item continues to exist,” she says about the banner and what it symbolizes.
Last year several individuals and groups, including Gelding, asked the city to remove the banner, saying it was a contradiction of human rights codes. This year Gelding resent her original letter to council and included a letter sent to the City of Kelowna council last year by West Coast Legal Education and Action Fund and a release from Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada outlining the denial for a proclamation in Kelowna this year.
In 2012 Kelowna council decided to get rid of the courtesy flag program altogether and this year they rejected a request for the proclamation of Protect Human Life Week. Kelowna had allowed the flag to fly a few years before the banner began making appearances in Kamloops, where it has been stretching above Tranquille Road and Victoria Street for a couple weeks every September or October since 2009.
Dianne Varga of Kelowna has said she will also continue lobbying the City of Kamloops and has been encouraging members of Kamloops Centre for Rational Thought to do the same.
“We must keep demanding that the cities stop issuing these controversial and discriminatory banners and proclamations,” she says in one Facebook posting to the group.
The group also created their own banner to be hung in the city declaring “Protect Women's Rights.” The banner is hung as a street banner by the city in December to coincide with UN Declaration of Human Rights Day but until then can be seen on a balcony close to Peterson Creek Trail and the hospital.
The City of Kamloops policy on street banners says they must comply with all laws, statutes, regulations and bylaws in force in the city as well as the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Banners promoting or opposing specific theology or religious or political point of view are also not allowed.
The pro-life banner will be hung across Victoria Street the first week of October.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2013