Right to life group files flag appeal Group arguing Charter rights were infringed upon

The Celebrate Life Flag is pictured prior to being run up the flagpole in May 2016 (Herald file photo)

Bailey Sutherland, Daily Herald

Lawyers for the Prince Albert Right to Life Association (PARLA) have filed an appeal for the June court ruling that dismissed a review of the city’s decision not to fly their pro-life flag. The group was awarded $6,000 in legal costs, but believe since their charter rights were infringed upon, the small victory was not enough.

John Carpay, lead council for the defence and president for the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms, says that although the group is appreciative of their substantial win, they are seeking an admittance of wrongdoing from the city. “In a way, the flag raising issue is no longer relevant. However, it is our perspective that because there was that violation of the charter rights and freedoms, there should still be a declaration stating the rights were violated.”

In 2017, the city declined to fly PARLA’s flag, which depicted a cartoon foetus and the words “please let me live.” Petitions circulated around the city in April of that year asking for the mayor to decline PARLA’s application. Mayor Greg Dionne was quoted as saying he would be open to a different flag not showing a fully-developed foetus, but admitted that a new application would not be approved in time for the 2017 flag raising. In November of that year, PARLA filed for judicial review of the city’s flag decision. In May 2018, the city ended the courtesy flag practice.

The appeal was served to the city on Monday and they will have 15 days to cross appeal. A hearing is expected by late 2019 and a decision by 2020.

Mitchell Holash, City Solicitor, says, “The city is respectful of the court process and the judgements and we will respond to the appeal. The city will in full consideration put all of the issues before the court of appeal and not just the ones that are outlined in the right to life appeal; we look forward to the outcome.”