The pride flag won’t fly at City of Mission facilities for the foreseeable future.
At Monday’s (March 20) council meeting, the council voted 5-1 to exclusively raise the Canadian flag, provincial flag and municipal flag at city locations.
The lone exception will be the replacement of the municipal flag during Veterans’ Week with the Royal Canadian Legion’s poppy flag.
Coun. Ken Herar was the lone dissenting vote on the motion, with Coun. Jag Gill absent for the meeting. Herar previously motioned to fly the progress pride flag at city hall in June, and council directed staff to review its flag policy.
“I feel disappointment with the outcome regarding council’s choice of a new revised policy that would prevent other flags from flying at city hall,” Herar said. “Human rights and visibility connects people to the flag. When you examine the history of the creation of the flag you see the struggles and challenges of the past and those that still exist today.”
During pride week in 2022, the progress pride flag was displayed at the Mission Leisure Centre during Fraser Valley Pride Week instead of a municipal building.
City of Mission staff provided council with three options to clarify its flag policy on Monday. The first option was to maintain the status quo, the second was to allow for council to raise a flag for a nationally-recognized holiday or event, and the third was to allow council to consider requests to raise other flags at city locations.
An edited version of the first option passed through a motion from Mayor Paul Horn. Horn says it’s not up to cities to provide places for people to fly their flags.
“I think what we needed was a neatening up of our policy, but not much more than that,” Horn said. “We will continue to support anything to do with diversity in our community and I am very strongly in support of inclusiveness, including the LGBTQIA2S+ population, and any other group. But I don’t think that changing our flag policy increases dialogue. Instead, it just increases controversy.”
The council did amend other aspects of its flag policy on Monday with unanimous votes.
With the new amendments to the policy, flags will be half-masted at the passing of current and past mayors or members of council. Additionally, the mayor can consult with the chief administrative officer and approve the half-masting of flags in exceptional circumstances on occasions not provided for in the policy.
The flag policy was last amended in April of 2022 to include the half-masting of flags to mark the passing of a Freedom of the City award recipient.
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