Rural Alberta mayor tried to prevent rainbow ban

After the people of Westlock, Alta. decided to ban rainbows, the Town’s elected official tried to stop it from happening.

“We understand that many people are disappointed with the results of the plebiscite,” the Town of Westlock posted to its Facebook page. “We want to assure you that Council worked diligently to explore every legal avenue to challenge the petition and its resulting bylaw.”

After a petition forced a referendum in the community of 5,000, locals cast 663 in favour of banning rainbows on crosswalks and the town’s flagpoles, while 639 opposed -- a difference of only 24 votes.

The way the issue was portrayed in the media did not tell the whole story, the Town of Westlock says.

“Despite the outcome, our organization remains committed to serving the community in all its day-to-day duties and tasks. We know that Westlock is a divided community, but we remain dedicated to fostering a welcoming and inclusive environment for everyone.”

Within days of the new rules, rainbow and Pride flags were displayed at the town hall, albeit not on the flagpoles.

Photos of the protest were shared to the Westlock Community Group Facebook page on Monday afternoon.

It’s unclear who put the rainbow and Pride flags there. An email to Westlock Mayor Jon Kramer was not returned.

Dan Walton, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Penticton Herald