A 2018 decision to fly a rainbow flag ended up costing the City of Langley $62,000 in legal fees (Langley Advance Times file)

A 2018 decision to fly a rainbow flag ended up costing the City of Langley $62,000 in legal fees (Langley Advance Times file)

Human rights win in rainbow flag fight cost B.C. city $62,000

“Lengthy and involved” process provoked by complaint

A B.C. city’s victory in a human rights complaint over a rainbow flag cost just over $62,000.

After the flag flew at Langley City hall to mark Pride Week, conservative and anti-SOGI Langley activist Kari Simpson went to the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal in 2018 to argue the banner “panders to sex activism, bully tactics, child abuse and special rights for certain groups.”

In response, the City hired the law firm of Norton Rose Fulbright to defend the matter at a B.C. Human Rights Tribunal hearing.

A report to council filed on Sept. 30 by Chief Administrative Officer Francis Cheung described the process as “lengthy and involved.”

“While the City was successful in defending itself against the complaint, the effort and time required by the City’s solicitor to prepare and submit evidence was considerable, resulting in legal costs totalling $62,058.05,” Cheung wrote.

READ ALSO: Pride Flag flies over Langley City

Unlike a court case, where a successful applicant can apply to have the other party or parties pay a portion of their legal costs, at a Humans Right hearing costs are less likely to be awarded, with the Human Rights Code saying they can be ordered when a party “has engaged in improper conduct during the course of the complaint.”

When the City rejected Simpson’s complaint about the Pride flag, she asked to fly what she called the “Canadian Christian Flag” on what she termed the “National Day of Blessing.”

Simpson identified herself as the “head organizer for the Langley Christian Flag committee and the organizer for the National Day of Blessings” when she launched her complaint to the tribunal.

READ ALSO: Human rights complaint over Langley Pride flag tossed out

“According to publicly available information filed by the City, the City says that Ms. Simpson appears to be the creator of the ‘National Day of Blessings’ and the ‘Canadian Christian flag’ and Oct. 1, 2018 appears to be the first time that Ms. Simpson celebrated this day and flag,” the tribunal’s judgment said. “Ms. Simpson does not dispute this.”

Simpson held a rally outside City hall at which the flag was displayed, but it was not raised on a City flagpole.

In April, the tribunal dismissed Simpson’s complaint.

There was no evidence of any danger to her life, or of how the City might have incited “contempt and hatred for Christians” as she claimed, the ruling stated.

It went on to point out the long history of discrimination against LGBTQ+ people.

“Pride celebrations help to counteract the historical discrimination committed against LGBTQ+ communities and help to bring those communities from a position of disadvantage to a more equal standing with heterosexual and cisgendered individuals who have historically enjoyed societal acceptance,” the ruling said. “The act of flying the Rainbow Flag also serves a similar purpose.”



dan.ferguson@langleyadvancetimes.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Langley CityPolitics

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

Just Posted

Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum. (File photo)
Surrey mayor taking it on the chin during budget public hearing

So far, he’s cut five callers off during Monday’s virtual meeting

A Surrey RCMP vehicle collided with another vehicle in Clayton Heights Nov. 30. (Photo: Curtis Kreklau)
PHOTOS/VIDEO: Police SUV collides with sedan in Clayton

Both drivers transported to hospital

The entrance at Fleetwood Villa in Surrey. (Photo: dignified.ca)
Fleetwood Villa resident tests positive for COVID-19, leading to ‘outbreak’ at facility

Fraser Health says it’s ‘critically important’ for people in the region to use COVID-19 assessment tool

A Surrey protest now in week 12 against a local resident has frayed the nerves of neighbours fed-up with the group’s presence. (Submitted photo)
Surrey neighbourhood fed-up with strange protest

Surrey Mounties say they’re monitoring the situation

A reminder to students at Surrey’s Strawberry Hill Elementary to physically distance during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo: Lauren Collins)
12 Surrey schools report COVID-19 exposures overnight, 8 over the weekend

INTERACTIVE TABLE: Search for schools, organize by exposure dates

A B.C. Ambulance Service paramedic wearing a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 moves a stretcher outside an ambulance at Royal Columbia Hospital, in New Westminster, B.C., on Sunday, November 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. records deadliest weekend of COVID-19 pandemic with 46 deaths; more than 2,300 cases

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry provides COVID-19 update

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
B.C. researchers launch study to test kids, young adults for COVID-19 antibodies

Kids and youth can often be asymptomatic carriers of the novel coronavirus

Paramedics register patients at a drive through, pop-up COVID-19 test centre outside the Canadian Tire Centre, home of the NHL’s Ottawa Senators, in Ottawa, Sunday, Sept. 20, 2020. A new poll suggests most Canadians aren’t currently worried that people in other countries might get a COVID-19 vaccine first. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
Canadians not worried other countries will get COVID-19 vaccine first: poll

Forty-one per cent of respondents say they want the vaccine to be mandatory for all Canadians

Fossil finds at Mt. Stephen. (Photo: Sarah Fuller/Parks Canada)
Extreme hiking, time travel and science converge in the Burgess Shale

Climb high in the alpine and trace your family tree back millions of years – to our ocean ancestors

Menno Place. (Google Street View image.)
32 family members respond to Abbotsford care home’s plea for staffing help during COVID-19 outbreak

Menno Home asks for relief workers for food service, laundry and housekeeping

Kettle bells sit aligned in an indoor fitness studio. (PIxabay.com)
1 COVID-19 case at a B.C. fitness studio leads to 104 more infections, 6 school exposures

According to case data released by Fraser Health, one case of the novel coronavirus carries a big impact

Vehicles drive past a display thanking essential workers in Burnaby, B.C. on Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Marissa Tiel
B.C. changing COVID-19 case reporting as virus spread continues

Manual counting takes more time, leads to errors

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Mask fundraiser helps make children’s wishes come true

From Black Press Media + BraveFace – adult, youth and kid masks support Make-A-Wish Foundation

Christy Jordan-Fenton is the co-author of the book Fatty Legs, which has been mentioned amid the controversy of an Abbotsford school assignment on residential schools.
Co-author of residential schools book condemns controversial Abbotsford class assignment

Children’s book mentioned amid controversy at W. A. Fraser Middle School

Most Read