Over the past couple of months, Strathmore has seen an influx of Anti-abortion material at their front doors causing residents to feel uncomfortable and fearful that their children might stumble upon these disturbing images. 

Last week, Strathmore resident Allison Mabbott addressed these matters in front of Town Council. Town administration has worked toward amending the bylaw to address graphic images that are being delivered to residents' front doors. 

The Community Standards Amending Bylaw No. 23-27 received all three readings on July 26, 2023. Under the bylaw, any materials that contain the image of a mammal fetus must be enclosed in a non-transparent envelope with a warning label and the return address of the sender. Violators will face fines of up $1000.00.

"I want to thank Council for bringing the bylaw forward in such a timely manner and I want to voice my support for the bylaw. Also from the bottom of my heart, I want to thank you for the sensitivity and kindness that truly makes a difference in this community." Mabbott expressed. 

However, another local resident, Jen Chiasson expressed her thoughts about the bylaw stating that she was concerned at how quickly it was pushed through. 

"I'm concerned that this bylaw, while it is well intended and desires to protect families who've experienced pregnancy loss, imposes on our Section 2 Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which includes the freedom of the press and other media of communication, and the reason why I think this is because it is stepping outside the bound of what Canada Post itself, which is federally regulated, has defined to be mailable within Canada."

Chiasson added that there is a Criminal Code that defines what is obscene, so it is surprising to her that the Town feels compelled to place further definitions on what is considered to be legal mail and describe it as graphic content.

"Graphic just to be a fetus, not even a mutated or dismembered fetus, but just to be a fetus is really unsettling for me in a family community." 

Mayor Pat Fuel decided this subject emotional for many and that when residents go door to door that they do not know if that person has experienced a loss, or if those materials could end up in the hands of a child.

"Requiring these types of pamphlets to be enclosed in opaque envelopes adds a layer of protection while still upholding the importance of allowing people the freedom to express their opinions."

The decision to move forward with an amending bylaw aligns with Council’s Strategic Plan for Community Wellness and Intentional Community Development. 

The Town of Strathmore Community Standards Bylaw and Amending Bylaws can be viewed at https://strathmore.ca/

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