LETTER: Country is formed around freedom of debate

Does the 'pride' flag deserve the same celebration and implication of acceptance as the Canadian Flag?

Council members have voted to raise the “Fraser Valley Pride” flag along with our Canadian flag from July 13 to 20. The comment  that they have ” no policy ” on flag raising causes one to believe that the mayor or council members have done no research concerning this matter.  However, the Government of Canada website gv.ca under “Heritage Day”  reports that  from 1980 to ’83, the federal government appointed a national committee to encourage and financially support local celebrations across Canada.  Start-up money is still provided to support activities and performances in hundreds of communities by making requests to the Celebrate Canada Program (CCP).  Canada Day celebrations are supported through tax payer dollars all across Canada .

Concerning our flag, the goal stated by the CCP under “Who can obtain funding’ for 2015 reads: “June 15 marks the 50th anniversary of the National Flag of Canada, an important anniversary in Canadian History. Additional consideration (to obtain start-up money) will be given for projects that incorporate themes based on this anniversary.”  Thus, our flag and celebration of Canada Day is national (and in celebration, its image is now on the new 25 cent coins).  These government agencies set the goals and give to ‘start-up programs’ with our tax dollars so we can all take pride in the national celebration of the formation of our country, and our flag.

Our national day is also representative of other nations and those of national honour, i.e., Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth has visited and taken part in the celebration on the 100th anniversary in 1967, as well as the 143rd anniversary in 2010.  The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, William and Catherine, came in 2011. Also, On July 1, 1917, on the 50th anniversary of our country, the Parliament buildings (under construction) were dedicated to the Fathers of Confederation and the courage of Canadians who fought in World War 1.  By inserting another flag, we imply that these representatives also agree with raising the “Fraser Valley Pride” flag along with the  Canadian Flag and the others at Abbotsford City Hall. Does the ‘pride’ flag deserve the same celebration and implication of acceptance as the Canadian Flag?

Why do our Abbotsford mayor and city council members not understand that this is divisive – not just to us locally, but to the rest of Canada as well?  It is an intrusion to many of the ethnic peoples who have come to Abbotsford, as well as to our churches and others who do not agree with this confusing situation. Do we now just accept that whatever lobby or special interest group may propose, that may seem “politically correct,” can no longer be debated freely in this land? Or, are they afraid of any harassment that may ensue?

This country is formed around freedom of debate. Indeed, that is how our Parliament works and I am also certain there was plenty of debate in England when they passed the British North American Act to give Canada license to become a Confederation in 1867. Debate is what often comes closer to reaching the truth. After debate, these people are still friends – they do not ‘hate’ one another because they disagree; they are helping form what is just for all of us.  Don’t the council members want to help create a celebration that all of us can enjoy?

If you agree that our council is in error, please phone, fax or e-mail Abbotsford city council  (their website) and look under “mayor and city council;”  each of their names, phone numbers and fax numbers are listed along with a link to write an e mail to their department.

Judith Newland

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