Charlottetown and Stratford have joined the list of places across Canada where the rainbow flag is flying in protest of anti-gay laws in Russia.
© Guardian photo by Heather Taweel
Abegweit Rainbow Collective representatives Shawna MacAusland, left, and Sarah Smith stand near the rainbow flag flying outside Province House.
Sarah Smith, a spokeswoman with the Abegweit Rainbow Collective, said it’s nice to see the flags flying in Charlottetown, like they are in other Canadian cities.
“Even though P.E.I. was a little late on the train it’s nice to see them commit to supporting a global issue,” she said.
As Russia hosts the winter Olympics, a law banning gay “propaganda” has drawn sharp criticism from around the world, including in Canada. Since the Olympics began, several cities, including Toronto, Calgary, Regina, Edmonton, Vancouver and Montreal, have all started flying the rainbow flag.
The flags were raised at Charlottetown city hall, Province House and Stratford town hall this week.
Smith said by flying the flags locally, people in P.E.I. can see the support that’s there for an issue happening as far away as Russia.
“P.E.I. being known for the birthplace of Confederation and being kind of the hub of Canada it’s nice to see them participating in raising the flag,” she said.
Charlottetown Mayor Clifford Lee said he had a few requests over the weekend to raise the rainbow flag and many municipalities across the country were doing the same thing. Lee said raising the flag was an opportunity for the city to show it supports all members of the community.
“We’ve always said Charlottetown was an inclusive community and there’s just, quite frankly, no reason why we would not fly the flag.”
Justice Minister Janice Sherry said the move to raise the flag shows solidarity across the country.
“I think it’s very positive,” she said.
Sherry said the decision to fly the flags has brought a lot of attention to the issue.
“That, I think, is the purpose of it.”