Kelowna refuses anti-choice proclamations

The City of Kelowna will no longer make anti-choice proclamations.

The office of Mayor Colin Basran declined the Kelowna Right to Life Society stating that "Proclamations are not approved if they ... advocate against human rights and freedoms under existing Canadian laws."

Ian Bushfield, Executive Director, BC Humanist Association:

Given Kelowna's sordid history of mayors inserting their politics into proclamations, it's good to see the Mayor stand up for human rights and equality. We hope this commitment will extend to ensuring women's reproductive freedoms and patients' right to choose an assisted death.

Proclamations have a long history of political controversy in Kelowna.

Mayor Walter Gray was found by the BC Human Rights Commission to have discriminated against the LGBTQ community for refusing in 1997 to proclaim Gay and Lesbian Pride Day. Following the ruling, Gray stopped issuing proclamations.

Sharon Shepherd defeated Gray in 2005 and started issuing proclamations again, including Protect Human Life Week. In 2011 and 2012 (when Gray had been re-elected), the BC Humanist Association protested that proclamation as a religiously-motivated attack on women's reproductive freedoms.

Gray finally proclaimed Pride Week in 2012 but continued to make anti-choice proclamations until Colin Basran was elected mayor in 2014.

Basran supported painting rainbow crosswalks at one city intersection in support of the LGBTQ community. For this, some angry residents nicknamed him "Mayor Sugarplum" and in response he adopted the name and launched the Sugarplum Ball where he dressed in drag in support of the Okanagan Pride Society.

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