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Saskatoon pro-life group denied proclamation by city hall

Alliance for Life Saskatoon had its appeal refused by a city committee because they aren't a charity or non-profit group.
Carole Tokaruk, president of Alliance for Life Saskatoon, spoke to a city committee before councillors refused her appeal. Nathaniel Dove / Global News

Saskatoon city councillors denied an appeal by Alliance for Life Saskatoon to proclaim “Respect for Life” week.

The city’s governance and priorities committee unanimously refused the appeal by the pro-life group on the grounds that Alliance for Life Saskatoon is not a registered charity or non-profit group. The decision to deny the request was made by city clerk Joanne Sproule in December.

The group was asking the week of Jan 21 – 28, 2020, to be proclaimed “Respect for Life Week” to “promote the beauty and value of human life and respect for each individual’s right to life,” according to the group’s request.

READ MORE: Pro-life group appeals Saskatoon’s proclamation denial

“I’m disappointed, of course. I didn’t know [anything] about the non-profit, charitable status. I never heard anything about that before,” said Carole Tokaruk, the group’s president.

Ward 5 Coun. Randy Donauer said he was voting against the group’s appeal because they weren’t a charity or non-profit group. He also asked city administration to make the requirements more clear during the application process.

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In October, the city changed the guidelines regarding flag raising and proclamations, which include preventing causes that are controversial, political or religious from being endorsed.

The new policy leaves the decision about what flags should be flown and which proclamations should be made to the city clerk instead of city council.

READ MORE: Saskatoon changes way on deciding flag flying outside city hall

The new policy came after Alliance for Life Saskatoon requested a week dedicated to “respecting life” in 2018.

Tokaruk said she wasn’t “totally” surprised by the latest decision.

She also said she didn’t believe it was any more controversial “than certain other people that they allow flags.”

In her written appeal to the city in December, she stated that “[i]f the gay/homosexual lobby group can get a whole month of publicity and support surely a week can be granted.”

She said the group would apply again in the future and would consider seeking non-profit status but not charitable status, which she said they lost “about 20 years ago.”