100,000 flags fly over Steinbach park to mark lives 'taken' by abortion
Provencher MP Ted Falk helps put up flags, but refused to attend 1st ever Steinbach Pride parade
The flags may be gone, but the controversy is still brewing over the sudden pop up in Steinbach of 100,000 blue and pink flags in marking lives "taken" by abortion.
The flags blanketed a park in the rural Manitoba city on Saturday as part of a national campaign by WeNeedaLaw.ca, a Canadian anti-abortion website.
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Organizer Matthew Klassen said he got a permit from the City of Steinbach to hold the one-day event, which included an appearance by Provencher member of Parliament Ted Falk.
Falk posted photos and a video on Facebook and said Saturday's event is a "sobering" reminder that Canada needs a law to protect unborn children.
"Each one of these flags represents a life that is taken before it's born here in Canada each and every year.... It's an incredible sight. It's very moving to see this many flags here," Falk said in the video.
"If Canada is going to continue to be a nation that is blessed, I believe that we must draft and pass legislation that puts in place protection for unborn children," Falk added in a statement.
[It] feels like an egregious misuse of his position.- Michelle McHale
"I think that we need to start a national conversation and I believe that we as Canadians are capable of discussing this issue with open hearts and informed minds, ultimately coming up with the right solution. No law is not a solution."
But Falk's appearance is being questioned by Michelle McHale, one of the proponents of the first-ever Steinbach Pride parade that took place in July.
Falk and other local politicians refused to attend the Pride celebration and the City of Steinbach would not issue organizers of the parade a permit.
McHale said she was stunned to see Falk with the flags online.
"At first I had to check the headlines to check whether it was real because there is a satirical [news site] that is done about Steinbach," McHale said. "Then I was reading and it was [real] and my heart just sank."
Klassen said there was a positive response from passerby who saw the flags, which covered a hill in the park.
'People moved to tears'
"People can't believe how large this number is when they get to see a visual representation of it," Klassen said.
He said it's the first time the flags have come to Steinbach and is happy with the response from locals.
"There were a number of people moved to tears by it just because of what each flag represents," he said. "People agree that Canada is in a shameful position by being in the western world that has zero abortion regulation at all."
Klassen said it took about 150 volunteers to get the flags up, but they had to come down at the end of Saturday.
"It's a little more risky because these types of displays tend to get vandalized," he said.
'Threatens the rights of women'
McHale said she feels Falk shouldn't have attended the event, noting he's the vice-chair of the standing committee on justice and human rights.
"Someone in a position like that just flat out refuses to attend something like Steinbach Pride, and then stands up and attends something like this, where this is directly threatening the rights of women," she said.
"That feels like an egregious misuse of his position, it really does."
With files by Thibault Jourdan