Town north of Edmonton could ban Pride crosswalks, flags

By News Staff

Voters in a town north of Edmonton will decide if Pride crosswalks can be painted on their streets and if rainbow flags – among others – can be flown in public spaces.

Residents of Westlock are heading to the polls Feb. 22, 2024, to vote on the “Crosswalk and Flagpole” bylaw.

It was brought to Westlock town council after a petition by residents. Town officials elected to send it to a plebiscite.

The petition demands that crosswalks be painted only in the traditional white. It also wants to restrict the town from flying flags other those representing municipal, provincial or federal governments in public spaces and at town facilities.

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“Our community will need to make a hard choice,” said acting Mayor Murtaza Jamaly in a statement. “They will need to choose if removing our community’s rainbow crosswalk sends the right message about who we are.

“Removing this crosswalk would be a first in this province, and likely sends the message that we aren’t an inclusive community – something I know to be untrue. Our community is going to have an opportunity to look inward as this question is placed on the ballot, and I have full faith that our residents will choose kindness and inclusivity over the false premise of neutrality.”

Westlock painted its first Pride crosswalk this summer, despite concerns there would be disruptions from protestors.

Westlock is about 90 kilometres north of Edmonton.

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