TRUTH: It’s Not About the Pride Community

A constant lie regarding Westlock’s proposed Neutrality bylaw is the claim that it’s targeting the Pride community.  This is not true, but that hasn’t stopped our own Town Council from joining in on the accusations.  Rather than remain impartial, they’ve worked to reinforce this fiction.

During their regular meeting on January 22, Town Council ratified the wording for the question that will be asked at the town-wide plebiscite.  The first two clauses made sense: one identified what flags could be flown on municipal property, and the other stated that all crosswalks would be in the standard, white-striped pattern.  So far, so good.  But then they added a third clause: that the existing rainbow crosswalk will be removed.  What!?

Why include that?  Neither the petition nor the proposed bylaw mention anything about a specific group or crosswalk.  It’s unnecessary and insinuates that the proposed bylaw is a focused attack on the Pride community, which it is not.  Why did Town Council choose to insert this misleading clause? Nothing would’ve been lost if it were omitted.  The lack of neutral wording only serves to misrepresent what the proposed bylaw is really about.

But misrepresentation is old hat for this Town Council. Each councillor took turns doing so at an earlier regular meeting back on November 27.  Most notably was Councillor Jamaly who claimed the rainbow crosswalk is the only thing that would be affected by the proposed bylaw.  And so, therefore, all the bylaw is doing is targeting the group that the crosswalk represents. Of course, for this to make sense he had to conveniently forget our former mayor’s lamentations of various flags that would no longer be flown (not that they ever were).

There’s a more obvious reason why the rainbow crosswalk would seemingly be the only thing affected by the proposed bylaw: because of how quickly the community came together to undo Town Council’s damage.  Perhaps Jamaly and the rest of Council would prefer we wait until more violations to public neutrality are committed.  But the community has chosen a different strategy: to act now while the iron is hottest.

The proposed Neutrality bylaw is not about the Pride community or any other group. The truth is it’s about restoring neutrality and equality to our public places.  And that means neither demeaning nor promoting any one group.

Don’t fall for the lies.  On February 22, vote ‘Yes’ so that all can continue to feel welcomed in our community.