Mayor stands behind proclamation

Despite pressure from an outside group, Kelowna Mayor, Walter Gray, has no intention of rescinding a pro-life proclamation.

"I'm not going there," a defiant Gray stated during Wednesday's opening of construction on Bernard Avenue revitalization.

"By withdrawing it I would then be discriminating once again - and here we go - rewind the clock back 15 years."

Gray was referring to a Human Rights case brought against him when he removed the word 'Pride' from a 'Lesbian and Gay Pride' proclamation request.

He lost the case and refused to sign any proclamations for his final eight years as mayor.

On Tuesday the Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada demanded Gray rescind the proclamation proclaiming the last week of September 'Protect Human Life Week.'

Gray says he's given the proclamation and, in fact gives anybody a proclamation provided it's descent, in good taste and doesn't contain bad language.

"I'm not the translator, I'm not the interpreter and I'm not in any way the censor for them," says Gray.

"To have one group tell me I should withdraw a proclamation issued to another group they are at odds with - I'm not going there. That's their problem, not mine."

During the run-up to last November's civic election Gray stated, if elected, he would consult his new council to get their feedback before making a decision as to whether to return to signing proclamations.

While council agreed he should, Gray says proclamations in no way serve as an endorsement by he, council or the city.

"When you think about it, how could you come out and endorse pro life and pro choice. How could you do that," asked Gray?

In the big picture, Gray says he would have been just as happy had council advised him against proclamations.

"I think our job as mayor and council is to deal with the big things. We shouldn't be dealing with these distractions that come along," added Gray.

"When you get a distraction like the one currently it's intended to take your eye off the ball."

He says council is focused on the big things and being frugal and should not be sidetracked by petty things that come along. 

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