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Pro-life flag will not fly at Kelowna City Hall

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Kelowna city councillors have voted to stop flying any "courtesy flags" in front of city hall after an anti-abortion group applied to fly their pro-life flag.

Kelowna's Right to Life Society had applied to have their pro-life flag flown on a city hall flagpole for a week at the end of September, which the city has officially proclaimed "Protect Human Life Week."

The blue and white flag, with red stripes and three silhouettes — a toddler, an adult and an elderly person — had the words "pro-life" printed in capital letters across the centre.

But news of the flag-raising sparked public outcry and on Monday night city council decided that no flags would fly at city hall other than the Canadian flag, the B.C. flag and the city's flag.

The ban on courtesy flags was proposed by Coun. Luke Stack.

"I just don't think city hall should be used for flying promotional flags," said Stack.

"Moving beyond a proclamation to actually flying a group's flag over city hall is a step further than I think is appropriate. And I think that's for all groups, whether it be a fundraising event, or whatever.

"I think the government office should represent the Canadian, provincial and city government."

Stack's motion was approved unanimously by Kelowna's mayor and council.

The city's original flag policy had said groups are forbidden from giving the impression the city endorses the cause behind a courtesy flag.

At the time, the Right to Life Society's executive director Marlon Bartram said he felt there was "nothing particularly political or religious" about the pro-life statement on the flag.

The society had submitted two designs to the city for approval.