Right to Life Society treated 'unfairly'
Aug 21, 2012 / 3:00 pm
The Executive Director of the Kelowna Right to Life Society says his organization feels they have not been treated fairly by City Hall.
Marlon Bartram made the comments after City Council unanimously agreed to do away with its courtesy flag policy.
Under the policy, the city would, on occasion, remove its flag from atop City Hall and replace it with a flag provided by a specific organization, usually coinciding with a special week proclaimed by the city.
The last courtesy flag to fly was the Rainbow Coalition flag which flew last week as part of the Okanagan Pride Festival.
"I think we have been treated differently than other groups have been. With other groups it has been almost an automatic stamp of approval to have their flag flown," says Bartram.
"But, in reaction to our request, they shut the whole program down in an attempt to completely avoid the matter. I would say there is a difference in the way we have been treated."
The issue of courtesy flags came to a head last week when the Right to Life Society issued a news release stating the city had agreed to fly a flag it had created as part of Protect Human Life Week at the end of September.
The society requested the city fly a courtesy flag after the city proclaimed the final week of September Protect Human Life Week,
While the city was contemplating the request it denied a decision had been made.
Bartram says the controversy and the resulting national media exposure prompted the city to shut the program down.
While Bartram says his society is being treated unfairly, shutting the entire program down is now fair to all.
He just had an issue with the timing.
"In one way it's fair that they should fly all of our flags or none at all and treat all groups fairly. By eliminating the program in a way they are treating all groups fairly, however, they should have permitted our flag to fly first before they shut the program down because they did allow the other groups to fly their flags for two years now."
Bartram was referring to the Rainbow Coalition flag, however, he stopped short of saying it's an issue of gay rights versus right to life.
"The city is comprised of all sorts of different people, it's very diverse and there are people with different beliefs and different backgrounds," says Bartram
"I think we should all be treated equally and fairly and no group should be singled out or denied a service other groups have had whether it be the gay rights group, our group or the pro choice group, we should all have our equal say."
The Right to Life Society board will meet shortly to decide whether to pursue the matter further or let it go.
Meantime, Bartram says last week's controversy hit his society's offices hard.
Bartram says several emails bordered on threatening.
"We received some emails at our office as well that were very adverse to put it mildly. Bordering on threatening and bordering on hatred. Lots of foul language and explaining in not so pleasant terms what they thought of us."
Read more Kelowna News
City of Kelowna
Kelowna Discussion Forum
Kelowna's Cultural District
Kelowna Road Closures
William R. Bennett Bridge
Central Okanagan Regional District
District of Peachland
District of Lake Country
School District 23
- Play! On Kelowna street hockey gallery May 25
- Bennett bridge opened 5 years ago today May 25
- Hundreds march against Monsanto May 25
- McDonald's CEO chastised by 9-year-old May 25
- Reaction mixed to Gordon truck route May 24
- A 'purrfect' time to adopt May 24
- Water levels lower on Mission Creek May 24
- Brace yourself for higher gas prices May 24
- Fat Cats looking for cool cats May 23
- Victor Walk impacts Kelowna May 23