By Jeff Labine
A controversial flag will continue to be allowed to fly outside Prince Albert’s city hall.
For years, a pro-life flag has flown at city hall in recognition of life week. The controversial flag features a fetus with a caption underneath saying “please let me live.” At Monday night’s city council meeting, Lana Wilson requested the flag be taken down as she argues it is offensive to women.
“The display of pro-life imagery is intended to support the attempt to re-criminalize abortion in Canada,” she told council. “Last year in May, the flag …was prominently displayed on the guest flag pole outside city hall. This was not acceptable, was very harmful, angering and intimidating to many people across Prince Albert.”
She argued imagery like the anti-abortion flag has nothing to do with free speech, because its automatically descriminatory against a segment of the population.
After Wilson spoke, council voted to send the request to the mayor’s office for review. Guest flags are picked by the city’s community services department, not council.
Mayor Greg Dionne, who has been vocal on his position in the past, wasn’t swayed by the arguments.
“I have only ever turned down one group and that was the Hells Angels,” he said. “I am a Canadian and I strongly believe in freedom of speech and freedom of rights. If you don’t like it, don’t look at it. There’s lots of things I see in the world I don’t like and I just ignore it.”
He acknowledge the flag issue is a sensitive subject but supported anyone wanting to promote their cause.
Ward 2 Coun. Terra Lennox-Zepp said the city failed when the flag was flown because it discriminates against others.
“We have freedom of expression for individuals, however, our city is not an individual,” she said. “Our city is a municipality. So it is not a case where we want the citizens of Prince Albert to walk by discriminatory flags and have to turn a blind eye.”
She said the flag is harmful to women in the city who have had abortions and added she has received calls from women who feel ashamed, bullied and intimidated.