The Town of Strathmore will soon be discussing a potential bylaw which would require explicit mail and pamphlets to be delivered in opaque, warning-marked envelopes. 

A delegation appeared before town council during the July 19 regular meeting, and was presented by Alison Mabbott, a long-time resident of Strathmore. 

Her delegation request to council was submitted in response to a reported increase in the distribution of pro-life and anti-abortion materials to households in Strathmore.

“I strongly believe everyone has the right to have their opinions and beliefs heard, but I do believe these materials need to be distributed in a more sensitive fashion,” she said.

Mabbott, who has previously experienced a miscarriage during pregnancy, expressed her desire for her children to not be exposed to graphic materials such as those often presented in anti-abortion messaging until they are older. 

“Our home is our safe place … as a mother who has carried and lost a child, I do not need to relive my trauma through the fear and anxiety of my children or myself coming home to graphic, anti-abortion materials,” she added. “These organizations can put these materials in envelopes, they can be labeled, and the decision to open this material can be of the individual (receiving it).”

Mabbott’s request of council was to consider a bylaw similar to that which was passed by the City of Calgary in April 2023 in support of the Calgary Pregnancy and Infant Loss Support Centre. 

Calgary’s bylaw now requires flyers presenting graphic images to now be delivered in opaque envelopes, accompanied by content warnings, as well as the name and address of the sender. If those requirements are violated, each can be met with a $1,000 fine against the sender.

Coun. Denise Peterson motioned that council direct administration to bring forth a bylaw guided by the City of Calgary’s bylaw to address graphic image material being delivered to people’s homes in the community of Strathmore. 

Mayor Pat Fule inquired to administration following Mabbott’s presentation as to how long a drafted bylaw may take to return to council, given the town’s current activities. 

Chief Administrative Officer Kevin Scoble clarified it may take until October before the matter returns to council, though that was only a rough estimation. 

Council was emotional in thanking Mabbott for coming forward and sharing her story prior to voting unanimously to pass Peterson’s motion and have a bylaw drafted and returned to council.

By John Watson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published on Jul 26, 2023

This item reprinted with permission from   Strathmore Times   Strathmore, Alberta

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