British Columbia

Kelowna city hall considers flying 'pro-life' flag

Kelowna could become the first city in British Columbia to fly a "pro-life" flag over city hall.
The controversial blue, white, and red flag depicts three figures and the word "pro-life" in capital letters. (Kelowna Right to Life)

Kelowna could become the first city in British Columbia to fly a "pro-life" flag over city hall.

The flag would fly during the last week of September, which the city has proclaimed "Protect Human Life Week," as it has done for the past five years.

Marlon Bartram, executive director of the Kelowna Right to Life Society, said the city hall rejected the flag’s original design, which included the words 'From conception to natural death' along the bottom of the flag.

"That statement apparently violated their policy that the flag cannot advocate a certain point of view, be it political, religious or ethical," Bartram said.

The second flag design, which is being considered by city staff, is blue and white, with red stripes and with three silhouettes — a toddler, an adult and an elderly person — and with the word "pro-life" printed in capital letters across the centre.

"I think 'pro-life' is a very — I mean, it maybe has some history to it, for sure, but if you break it down, it's just we're for human life. There's nothing controversial there's nothing particularly political or religious about that statement," Bartram said.

A very different flag is flying over city hall this week.

For only the second year ever, a rainbow flag has been raised to mark Kelowna's gay pride celebrations.

City hall developed a policy last year, when it was asked to fly the rainbow flag for Pride Week.

The policy says that groups are forbidden from giving the impression the city endorses the cause behind a "courtesy flag."

While such a flag would be a first for a B.C. municipality, similar flags have been flown at city halls in Guelph and Whitby, Ontario.


  • An earlier version of this story said that Kelowna's city government had decided to fly the "pro-life" flag. In fact, the city is still considering the second flag design and has not yet made a decision.
    Aug 17, 2012 4:30 AM PT

With files from the CBC’s Jackie Sharkey