Council puts an end to flag flap
Aug 21, 2012 / 5:00 am
Kelowna City Council has put an end to the controversy over what flags can fly at City Hall.
Council passed a motion Monday stating only the Canadian, BC and city flags will be flown at or atop City Hall, putting an end to the so called 'Courtesy Flag.'
Over the years, the city has flown courtesy flags to commemorate special events (BC Summer Games) and on the heels of proclamations (Gay Pride Week).
To accommodate the additional flag, the BC flag is removed, the Kelowna flag moved to its pole and the courtesy flag is flown on the city pole.
After running head first into a controversy last week over whether it should fly a courtesy flag provided by the Kelowna Right to Life Society to commemorate Protect Human Life Week, Councillor Luke Stack asked the practice be ended immediately.
"I've been troubled by this for some time because I really think that City Hall should be focused on city business. We have our Government of Canada flag which we should be proud to fly, we have have our provincial flag which we should be proud to fly and have our city flag which we should be proud to fly," says Stack.
"I don't think we should be taking any of those flags down to put up other flags. This would then mean that, from this point forward, we would fly the Canadian flag, our provincial flag and the city flag."
The flag flap began when members of the Kelowna Right to Life Society claimed, in a news release, that the city had agreed to fly its flag during Protect Human Life Week at the end of September when, in fact, the city had yet to make a decision.
The head of the Kelowna and District Pro-Choice Action Society stated it was not only time to end the flag debate but also do away with the entire week.
Councillor Gail Given pointed to those events and the controversy they brought throughout the community as being divisive within the community.
"As elected officials we need to reflect all of our citizens and not just a portion on one day and a portion on another day," says Given.
"If we go back to a more traditional sense of heraldry and protocol, we are far more reflective in representing all of our citizens and not take this divisive position."
Councillor Colin Basran also agreed with the motion, saying Kelowna made national headlines last week for all the wrong reasons.
"We had a good news story coming out with our IHA partnership and it was completely overlooked and we were making headlines all across the country over flags," stated Basran.
While a new policy still needs to be written and put in place, the passing of Monday's motion means the city will no longer process requests to have courtesy flags fly atop City Hall.
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