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