Today, Thursday May 11, 2017, a “National March for Life” flag could be seen flying high at Ottawa City Hall. The raising of the flag coincided with the major March For Life rally that takes place every year in Ottawa.
As part of the march, pro-life activists take to the streets of Ottawa to advocate for laws restricting abortion. The group is often met with protestors themselves, but the yearly event nonetheless remains peaceful and civil. The pro-lifers show up, make their case, pick up their trash, and leave.
Shortly after the flag was raised, city councillors, Ottawa citizens, and pro-choice advocates at large demanded the flag be taken down immediately and an apology be issued from the Ottawa Mayor, Jim Watson. After much backlash, Mayor Watson released the following statement via twitter:
I am pleased to report that the anti abortion flag has been taken down. I have asked for a complete review of the city’s flag policy.
The argument from those demanding the flag be removed is that the flag supports removing the rights for a women to receive an abortion, which is a legal procedure in Canada. Government buildings, which are to be secular and unbiased, flying a flag representing a movement, ideology, third party, or a minority of citizens is wrong.
Seems reasonable enough.
The issue that stands, however, is that many of the enraged councillors and citizens are hypocritical in their stance on third party flags flying from government buildings. The LGBT flag, that is flown for LGBT rights and rallies is no different than a flag flown for the rights of unborn children. Some may argue that their is no rights of unborn children as they are not people according to the law, however one’s perception of the third party’s legitimacy is trivial.
Government buildings should solely fly official government flags, or at least fly every third party flag when the request is made. It is my own opinion that flying any type of exclusive or third party flag is asinine, but if it must take place, the opportunity should be open to all groups. Many Canadians would be enraged if a Christian flag or a Conservative flag or even a Toronto Maple Leafs flag was flown, and rightfully so.
The simple truth of the matter is that it is wildly inconsistent to condemn the raising of a pro-life flag during a pro-life rally, but praise the raising of an LGBT flag during an LGBT rally. Not all Canadians agree on abortion, and not all Canadians agree on LGBT issues. And, as a result, compromises must be made in our public lives and on our government building properties.