It's a yet another straight-up victory for sane people who oppose this tiny minority of fanatics in our midst.
In a long overdue move, Kelowna has changed its criteria for issuing proclamations to focus on local common issues and, more importantly, to take into account the human rights issue so often glossed over by these anodyne statements.
"Although the wording of the proclamation may have sounded harmless, anti-abortion groups can and do exploit official declarations," said [Executive Director of the Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada Joyce] Arthur, arguing cities must look critically at the groups behind these requests.Last week, the forced pregnancy gang took their gory fetal pron signs to protest outside a high school. As usual, this upset people and caused controversy.
She pointed to an incident in August when Regina declared European Heritage Week which the mayor immediately rescinded after discovering a white supremacist group was behind the request.
"The underlying intent of the Protect Human Life message is instantly recognizable by women who are aware of right-wing attacks on their rights," said Arthur.
"The main purpose of the Kelowna Pro-Life Society is to oppose abortion. The organization has used proclamations in the past as a vehicle to challenge women's right to access safe and legal abortion, and thereby women's basic legal rights and equality. The mayor was right to deny the group its proclamation this year because it amounted to discrimination against women.
"All cities across Canada need to respect the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and human rights codes by not approving cloaked messages from groups seeking to overturn those rights," added Arthur.
In an earlier statement opposing the proclamation, [local pro-choice activist Dianne] Varga described the society's display graphic photos of fetuses at KSS and other actions as "disgusting, fanatical, offensive and inappropriate."
"While it's legal for them to have done so, it does give a clear indication of the extremist nature of this organization. It's been 40 years since abortion was legalized in Canada and the majority of Canadians support a pro-choice position. Yet the anti-choice movement continues to employ this and other shock tactics to try to move public opinion."
These are the grounds on which to oppose attempts to strong-arm local governments: the groups are fanatical, anti-human rights, and not at all representative of the community. In fact, their message is offensive to the majority and needlessly divisive.
Maybe the good people of Ottawa can offer a similar schooling to Mayor Jim Watson in time to cancel the annual proclamation of "Respect for Life Day" to coincide with the March of the Feti in May.
ADDED: Wingers whinge: Mayor kow-tows to pro-aborts. Hee.