Saturday, November 06, 2021

Canadian flag raisers get a workout

Canadian flag raisers and lowerers are about to get more of a workout than they've had for quite some time. 

Official Canadian flags on federal buildings have been at half-mast since the end of May to honour Indigenous children who were found dead at former residential schools. Most Canadians were on-board with that, although a majority believe it is now past time to raise them again (and it is true that the impact of lowering a flag starts to fade over time, until it becomes all but meaningless). Indigenous groups, though, have been campaigning tirelessly to keep the flags at half-mast, arguing that raising the flag would disrespectful. War veterans, on the other hand, think that not being able to lower the flag on Remembrance Day would be highly disrespectful. What to do?

Anyway, the government has been negotiating with all stakeholders, and believe that they have come up with a solution, albeit a rather labour-intensive one. The plan is that the flags will be raised on the 7th November, lowered on the 8th for Indigenous Veterans Day (which I must confess I've never heard of), then raised again (presumably on the 9th or 10th), so that they can be lowered to half-mast again on November 11th for Remembrance Day, and then raised again on the 12th for the foreseeable future (or until some other group complains).

Wow, what a performance! I don't mean to make light of it all; some people take this stuff very seriously. But after all, it's just a flag. Can we not play politics with it? Apparently there have been no less than six occasions since May when the flag would normally have have lowered - apparently, there are rules for these things - but that was not possible because it was already lowered. Prime Minister Trudeau, though, has vowed to keep the flag at half-mast "until it is clear that Indigenous People's are happy to raise them again". Do we need need a three-quarters level or something? It's all getting a bit ridiculous.

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