Canadian city council's plan to fly anti-abortion flag causes widespread outrage

Jon Sharman
The Celebrate Life Week flag in Prince Albert, Saskachewan:

Campaigners in Canada are trying for the second year in a row to prevent an anti-abortion flag from being flown outside council offices.

City Hall in Prince Albert, in Canada's Saskachewan province, sparked protests last spring by flying a flag that featured a fully-grown cartoon baby attached to an umbilical cord above the words, "Please let me live".

The city's "courtesy" flagpole is reserved for charitable groups or similar organisations selected by community services workers, not by councillors. But its flag policy states that "requests to fly flags of commercial, political or religious organisations require the approval of the city council".

Prince Albert intends to fly the anti-abortion flag again this May as part of Celebrate Life Week, organised by Prince Albert Right for Life and the Jubilation Program, according to local media. A petition said: "City hall must not appear to promote the causes of groups working against women and gender diverse people's fundamental human rights."

According to PA Now, campaigner Lana Wilson told councillors this week: "The display of pro-life imagery is intended to support the attempt to re-criminalise abortion in Canada."

Last year's display "was very harmful, angering and intimidating to many people across Prince Albert", she said.

Mayor Greg Dionne said: "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."

The flag is not thought to have attracted a significant backlash in the six years prior to 2016's protest.