Back on July 26th, the Alberta town of Strathmore’s council recently passed a bylaw (No. 23-27) banning advertising within the boundaries of the town that includes an image of a fetus. Violation of this bylaw can result in a fine of up to $3,000.
They declared fetuses as “graphic images” and they define a “fetus” very broadly as any fetus of a mammal.
This means advertisements including an unborn cat or unborn human child are equally illegal, preventing pro-life organizations from even advertising with animals to make their point about the sanctity of life.
This bylaw is obviously aimed at undermining all pro-life advertising as it is blatantly absurd for a group organizing on behalf of unborn children to not show images of said unborn children.
It would be like not allowing World Vision to use images of impoverished countries to raise money for international humanitarian aid.
The Wilberforce Project, the pro-life group that highlighted this bylaw passage, noted that the town council meeting that Bylaw No. 23-27 was passed only took 21 minutes and 35 seconds and no legal review was undertaken to determine if the bylaw violated Canadians’ Charter Right to free expression.
The Wilberforce Project reported that the Strathmore town administrator said “So we haven’t had a legal review done on this,” when asked if the town of Strathmore understood the Charter implications of their decision.
Executive Director of the Wilberforce Project, Stephanie Fennelly, in a press release explained her frustration in the way the Strathmore town council behaved.
This bylaw, which deals with important constitutional questions, was passed with irresponsible haste and without any meaningful public consultation, so why are we surprised that the result is this wacky?
Fennelly went on to say that she sees the most alarming aspect of the bylaw to her is that “Strathmore’s Town Council believes it can regulate what opinions the citizens of Strathmore can have,” and she thinks “Strathmore’s Town Council ought to spend more time learning how to draft a bylaw and less time regulating the beliefs of their citizens”
The National Telegraph (TNT) reached out to the Mayor of Strathmore, Mr. Pat Fule, and received no response after a few days. Other town councilors only responded with either no public comment or directions to reach out to Mayor Fule who apparently acts as the “spokesman” for the entire town council.
Overall disappointing responses, but from the few responses TNT received it did not seem like all the councilors were happy with Bylaw No. 23-27 and with Mayor Fule’s public policy direction on this matter.
When TNT reported the lack of response we received from the Strathmore council, Fennelly sent the following commented the following:
Strathmore citizens should be alarmed at the continued incompetence and cowardice of their Town Council. Scapegoats, petty excuses, and avoidance will not be sufficient to justify such negligence. They must answer for their actions. And remember, if the Councilors can’t do their job, they shouldn’t have their job.