Appeal court ruling on whether Prince Albert, Sask. violated pro-life group’s charter rights

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Sask. court ruling on whether Prince Albert violated pro-life group’s charter rights
WATCH: A pro-life group was in court arguing the City of Prince Albert infringed on its right to free expression – Jan 22, 2020

The Prince Albert Right to Life Association (PARLA) is hoping three Court of Appeal justices rule in its favour that its freedom of expression was violated when the city didn’t fly the group’s flag.

In 2017, the city did not raise the controversial flag during celebrate life week and lawyers said the association didn’t receive a justified reason.

READ MORE: Controversial pro-life flag flying at Prince Albert, Sask. city hall

Last June, the Court of Queen’s Bench ruled the group’s application was moot because the city removed its community flagpole.

“A court decision declaring that our client’s charter freedoms were unjustifiably infringed would provide guidance for the city and for other cities in the province that are frequently asked to deal with questions about citizen’s rights to public expression,” PARLA’s lawyer Marty Moore said.

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In the previous decision, the judge awarded $6,000 in costs to the association.

The flag in question has an animated picture of a fetus and text that says “please let me live.”

It was raised by the city in 2016 before protests and a petition with hundreds of signatures asked for it to be taken down arose.

“The issue in 2017 was the first time that there was an application after community complaints had been made,” said the city’s lawyer, Zachary Carter.

READ MORE: Saskatoon Ex tells vendor to stop selling Confederate flags

The community flagpoles had raised a flag from the group for the previous seven years before a decision to remove the flagpoles.

Prince Albert said it was working in good faith with the group and didn’t violate its freedom of expression.

The association was having an email conversation with the mayor about how it could be approved to fly a flag for the week but failed to respond back to PARLA in a timely manner.

A decision has been reserved until a later date.

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