Anti-abortion stunt in Chilliwack accused of disrespecting veterans

"There is no way that you can compare what a soldier and his/her family have experienced to an unborn child," said one outraged poster.

Abortion protesters walk amid some of the 10

Abortion protesters walk amid some of the 10

A little more respect should have been shown for Canadian soldiers and veterans.

That was the sentiment from some Chilliwack residents this week, in the wake of an anti-abortion protest that covered a city property in blue and pink flags Saturday morning.

Organizers said they thought they had permission to cover the Chilliwack Museum grounds in 10,000 flags.

City staff contend they did not in fact have permission, as no formal request was received from organizers to use the civic property, which includes the Chilliwack Cenotaph.

About 25 members of group, made up of local volunteers with Fraser Valley Association for Reformed Political Action and We Need A Law went ahead anyway and set up the anti-abortion display at about 7 a.m. on Nov. 1.

“We are doing this to show to our community the momentous impact that abortion has on our community and nation,” said organizer Emily Van Brederode in a press release before the event.

“Although our political leaders claim that abortion should be safe, legal and rare, these flags show that it is happening 100,000 times every year in Canada.”

But the comments and reactions to the anti-abortion display were scathingly critical that night online, after photos popped up of the event.

“The Cenotaph was not the right location especially during the two week period (Oct 31 – Nov 11) set aside to Honour Soldiers/Veterans,” wrote one poster. “There is no way that you can compare what a soldier and his/her family have experienced to an unborn child.”

Another said he put a call into the RCMP.

“I called the RCMP to talk to them. Any protesters in Canada have to apply for a permit to protest. They did not have one,” he fumed, adding “The only thing useful that they did that day was aerate the lawn around the cenotaph with their flags.”

One of the organizers Mike Schouten said it was more educational than a protest.

“It was a unique way to get attention, but not offensive,” he suggested since their literature didn’t have any horrifying graphics.

“And there will always be people who do not want to see this” type of display, adding the point was there is no legislation in Canada protecting the rights of the unborn.

Getting the event posted on the city’s online events’ page, led them to believe they had permission for the display, said Schouten, who spoke to The Progress Monday.

The flags were gone by 1 p.m. Saturday afternoon. RCMP attended the downtown location near the Museum after getting calls saying the protest did not have a permit.

City of Chilliwack officials have stated in response, due to the misunderstanding, they will not fine the group ultimately.

Placing flags on the civic property without permission is considered a contravention of the Parks, Recreation and Culture Bylaw. Under this bylaw, the group would have needed to obtain written approval before the event. Placing a flag or sign in contravention of this bylaw typically carries a penalty of $100 per sign.

“When Operations staff inspected the property on Saturday afternoon it was free from garbage, flags and damage,” stated City of Chilliwack communications official Jamie Leggatt. “From what we understand the group did not impede traffic or movement into the Museum.”

“Due to the misunderstanding City staff will not fine the organizers and will look into ways to ensure this type of confusion does not happen again.

“Bylaws did receive three complaints due to the content and the choice of location for the event, but did not receive complaints about the event impeding access to the Museum or causing damage.”

It was not the content of the protest, it was the timing and the location, and veterans and soldiers were upset by it.

“I’m not saying that the protest or demonstration was wrong – just the timing and location of it,” the first commented wrote online, addressing the group directly. “Please in future be thoughtful towards others as well.

“And if you think that you didn’t cause much disturbance, you should have been flies on the walls in the local service clubs, ie. ANAVETS, Royal Canadian Legion, Army and Navy club – the people there were shocked and very disappointed in the lack of respect for the soldiers/veterans.”

jfeinberg@theprogress.com

twitter.com/chwkjourno

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Nick Warmerdam and his dog Diesel are inviting locals to check out the Lakeland Farm U-pick Flower Farm this spring. (Ben Lypka/Abbotsford News)
VIDEO & SLIDESHOW: Abbotsford’s Lakeland Flowers opens for spring

Tulip farm attraction opened on April 14, open to the public daily seven days a week

A protester holds a sign on Yale Road near Hodgins Avenue during the Fraser Valley Freedom Rally on Saturday, April 3, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
OPINION: Freedom, yes, but don’t forget about responsibility

‘Freedom makes a huge requirement of every human being’

A man holds a child while speaking with RCMP following an erratic driving incident on Highway 1 in Chilliwack on Friday, April 16, 2021. The child and a woman (but not this man) were in this Jeep Grand Cherokee which hit a barrier and a parked car on Highway 1 and continued driving. The vehicle finally exited the highway at Yale Road West and came to a stop. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Video captures woman driving erratically with child after hitting barrier, car on Hwy 1 in Chilliwack

Smoke seen coming from SUV as it continues to travel eastbound of shoulder of highway

An undated picture of the Hope Station House. (Photo/Save The Hope Station House)
Hope council must consider all options for Station House: B.C. Ombudsperson

Investigation ‘revealed flaws in District’s process,’ statement said

April 16, 2021 is the 130th anniversary of the first edition of The Chilliwack Progress, the oldest community newspaper in British Columbia. The first four-page Progress was printed on April 16, 1891.
PHOTO GALLERY: Today is the 130th anniversary of The Chilliwack Progress

British Columbia’s oldest community newspaper’s first edition was April 16, 1891

Rainbow trouts thrashing with life as they’re about to be transferred to the largest lake of their lives, even though it’s pretty small. These rainbows have a blue tinge because they matched the blue of their hatchery pen, but soon they’ll take on the green-browns of their new home at Lookout Lake. (Zoe Ducklow/News Staff)
VIDEO: B.C. lake stocked with hatchery trout to delight of a seniors fishing club

The Cherish Trout Scouts made plans to come back fishing soon

Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops. (Dave Eagles/Kamloops This Week file photo)
RCMP intercept vehicle fleeing with infant taken from Kamloops hospital

The baby was at the hospital receiving life-saving care

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Former Pitt Meadows city councillor David Murray was convicted of sex assault, and is now being sued by the victim. (files)
Former Pitt Meadows city councillor sued for sex assault

David Murray was convicted in 2017 of sexually assaulting a teen 25 years earlier

Vancouver Police Const. Deepak Sood is under review by the Independent Investigations Office of B.C. after making comments to a harm reduction advocate Sunday, April 11. (Screen grab)
VIDEO: Vancouver officer convicted of uttering threats under watchdog review again

Const. Deepak Sood was recorded Sunday saying ‘I’ll smack you’ and ‘go back to selling drugs’ to a harm reduction advocate

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry prepares a daily update on the coronavirus pandemic, April 21, 2020. (B.C. Government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate persists, 1,005 new cases Friday

Hospitalization up to 425, six more virus-related deaths

Premier John Horgan receives a dose of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine at the pharmacy in James Bay Thrifty’s Foods in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, April 16, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. Premier John Horgan gets AstraZeneca shot, encourages others

27% of residents in B.C. have now been vaccinated against COVID-19

The Nautical Dog Cafe at Skaha marina is getting its patio ready in hopes Mother Nature will provide where provincial restrictions have taken away indoor dining. (Facebook)
‘A lot of instability’: B.C. restaurants in layoff limbo

As COVID-19 cases stay high, restaurants in British Columbia are closed to indoor dining

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau looks on as Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland responds to a question during a news conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Expectations high as Trudeau Liberals get ready to unveil first pandemic budget

The Liberals will look to thread an economic needle with Monday’s budget

Most Read