The Canadian flag fluttering upside down in the wind on a large building on Beacon Av. (Nick Murray/News Staff)

UPDATED: Sidney fire department repairing damaged Canada flag that sparked outrage from American visitor

The national flag is lower than half-mast, damaged and upside down on the Canada Post building

A note from an American visitor to Sidney sparked a debate about the town’s treatment of the Maple Leaf flag.

The flag in question is on a big commercial building, on Beacon Avenue between 1st and 2nd streets, that houses the Canada Post store. According to the note, signed Pat from Oregon, the flag fell to half-mast in December and is now on the bottom third of the pole hanging upside down.

To the author, this is a grave insult to the flag and country of Canada.

ALSO READ: Peninsula hazmat techs take part in military-grade emergency simulation

“I can’t believe NO Canadians have bothered to bring this to your news photographer’s attention. Does no one care about their flag?”

The note, written in block capital letters, says the author is in town looking after sick relatives, and they love Sidney and hate what they see as a mark of disrespect.

Although official government rules state that the flag is a symbol of national pride and “should not be subjected to indignity,” there is no law against the flag being desecrated, damaged or even burned.

Such acts, while very rare, fall under freedom of expression legislation.

Ironically, one of the most prominent times the Canadian flag was burned was by the American hate group The Westboro Baptist Church in 1999.

ALSO READ: ‘Two chicks by the sea’ saved by their guardian angels

Flag burning is not illegal in the United States either, but since 1991 there have been 40 amendment attempts by Senators to make flag destruction a federal crime.

Don Fisher, Sergeant at Arms of Army, Navy and Air Force Veterans Sidney takes a balanced view of the situation.

“Normally a flag upside down means they’re in trouble,” he says referencing the military system of indicating if a ship needs assistance. “We don’t show our loyalties to our country as obviously as the Americans. We do that in other ways.”

He then adds, “It’s (the upside down flag) unfortunate, someone should contact the owner.”

Canada Post say that the flag is damaged due to the recent snow storms and they think it is the building owner’s responsibility to fix the flag, while they say he thinks it is up to Canada Post.

Since hearing about the state of the flag, Sidney Fire Chief Brett Mikkelsen said his department had volunteered to fix the flag. Three of his firefighters are currently hard at work fixing the flagpole and replacing the flag.

ALSO READ: Holocaust denier leads meeting in Sidney

So the question residents are asking is – should fixing the flag be a matter of national and civic pride or is it an unfortunate incident that’s a low priority?



nick.murray@peninsulanewsreview.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

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

 

The Canadian flag flying forlornly against a blue winter’s sky. (Nick Murray/News Staff)

Just Posted

VIDEO: Neighbours help Sidney woman mark 103rd birthday with surprise parade

Barbara Chorlton celebrates her ‘best birthday so far’

Racism is here too, say Victoria’s black community leaders

White Victorians have role to play in combatting systems of oppression, prejudice

Shortage of foreign workers costs Saanich Peninsula berry farmer thousands

Gobind Farms says hiring local has been difficult during pandemic

Pedestrian, cycling overpass now open at McKenzie Interchange

Bridge connects Portage Road, Galloping Goose Regional Trail

VIDEO: B.C. dentist gets grand welcome home after two months in hospital fighting COVID-19

Michael Chow was given a surprise send off by hospital staff and ‘welcome home’ from neighbours

‘Like finding a needle in a haystack’: Ancient arrowhead discovered near Williams Lake

The artifact is believed to be from the Nesikip period between 7,500 BP to 6,000 BP

Indigenous families say their loved ones’ deaths in custody are part of pattern

Nora Martin joins other Indigenous families in calling for a significant shift in policing

PHOTOS: Anti-racism protesters gather in communities across B.C.

More protests are expected through the weekend

Indigenous chief alleges RCMP beat him during arrest that began over expired licence plate

Athabasca Chipewyan Chief Allan Adam calling for independent investigation

‘I’m pissed, I’m outraged’: Federal minister calls out police violence against Indigenous people

Indigenous Minister Marc Miller spoke on recent incidents, including fatal shooting of a B.C. woman

UPDATED: Pair accused of ‘horrific’ assault at Vancouver’s Oppenheimer Park arrested

Police say Jason Tapp, 30, and Nicole Edwards, 33, did not show up to meet their bail supervisor this week

POLL: Are you sending your children back to school this month?

Classrooms looked decidedly different when students headed back to school for the… Continue reading

Most Read