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Letter: Raising our flag

‘Our once proud federal symbol is half standing, limp and apologetic’

Dear editor,

On Sept., 8, 1990 I emigrated from my country of birth, South Africa, leaving behind its archaic, inhumane apartheid laws for a country that proclaimed “true north, strong and free,” who flew an eleven-pointed red maple leaf on a white background bordered by two red sentry stripes. That flag, flying tall and proud atop its government buildings was a beacon of hope, of acceptance, of an opportunity of growth and prosperity and a sign of a safe haven.

Fast forward to Nov., 5, 2021: Our once proud federal symbol is half standing, limp and apologetic. It has been in this embarrassed state for over five months. It was rightfully lowered, as a sign of respect and acknowledgement of the 215 bodies found in graves in Kamloops, British Columbia. The position of the flag should not be a measure of healing or of reconciliation. It can’t be. The pain and suffering of loss of life is something that lives on long after the media has moved on to the next big news item. And, the flag should not be and cannot be the yardstick of our deep sorrow.

Raising the flag soon after May 30, when it was first lowered, would have been a symbolic action of the federal government rolling up its sleeves and going back to work. The government should have been, behind the scenes, working toward an appropriate and fair reconciliation. It should have created a resolution after the Truth and Reconciliation Commission findings, which, by the way, was first reported in 2015.

The symbolic gesture of keeping our flag at half-mast without addressing the problem was an act of pandering to the new generation of the world’s woke and cancel culture — appearing to do what is required only to dress up the problem with superfluous symbols and no action of substance.

The flag was raised on Nov., 7, 2021. So although nothing has come of appropriately managing the Residential School fiasco, the flag was raised only so that it can be rightfully lowered on Nov. 11. Will it remain lowered until Canada saves the world from the harm we, Canada, are supposedly contributing to the world’s demise through climate change?

I, as a proud Canadian, who loves my new country, hopes not.

Cal David,