Coun­cil votes to keep city’s flag-low­er­ing pro­to­col in­tact

Penticton Herald - - OKANAGAN - By RON SEY­MOUR

West Kelowna will con­tinue to mourn the deaths of peo­ple killed by ter­ror­ists by low­er­ing the Cana­dian flag on June 23.

Coun­cil this week left in­tact most pro­vi­sions of the city's flag pro­to­col de­spite sug­ges­tions the list of times when the Maple Leaf should be half-masted was un­duly long.

“A cou­ple of these (man­dated half-mast­ing oc­ca­sions), vir­tu­ally no­body’s ever heard of,” Coun. Bryden Winsby said.

He specif­i­cally men­tioned the Na­tional Day for Re­mem­brance of Vic­tims of Ter­ror­ism, which is ob­served in mem­ory of the vic­tims of the Air In­dia bomb­ing in 1985 that killed 329 peo­ple.

“I don’t know that (ter­ror­ism) is a sig­nif­i­cant is­sue in West Kelowna,” Winsby said.

West Kelowna's flag pro­to­col also man­dates half-mast­ing the Maple Leaf on events such as death of the sov­er­eign, death of the cur­rent or a for­mer prime min­is­ter, any mem­ber of the Royal Fam­ily, the Supreme Court chief jus­tice, any fed­eral or pro­vin­cial cabi­net min­is­ter, and Po­lice Of­fi­cer’s Na­tional Memo­rial Day (the last Sun­day in Septem­ber).

Winsby sug­gested the pro­vi­sions were too nu­mer­ous and re­sulted in the flag be­ing low­ered too of­ten for oc­ca­sions which didn’t have much res­o­nance in the com­mu­nity.

“We would have to pub­li­cize some of these to let the folks know why we have a flag at half mast,” Winsby said.

“Be­cause they’re bound to ask the ques­tion, ‘Who died?’”

But coun­cil­lors showed lit­tle in­ter­est in de­bat­ing the de­tails of the flag pro­to­col.

“I don’t re­ally want to cherry pick through this, if it’s al­ready pol­icy,” said Coun. Carol Zanon, the only other coun­cil mem­ber to make any com­ment on the mat­ter.

Coun­cil did ac­cept a staff sug­ges­tion to lower the flag when­ever a City of Kelowna em­ployee dies, not just if the per­son was killed on the job. And the flag will now be half-masted when­ever a Cana­dian sol­dier or RCMP of­fi­cer is killed, not just if that per­son was from West Kelowna.

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