Dufferin News Municipal

Amaranth’s Proposed Flag-Raising Protocol – Analysis

Will this help ensure that the pride flag is raised in Amaranth next year?

Concerns have been raised over the proposed proclamation policy and flag-raising protocol that will be presented at Amaranth’s next council meeting on July 15th. This proposal is in response to the fallout from Mayor Currie’s remarks on the pride flag at the council meeting on June 27th. Josh MacEwen goes through the proposed policy to see if there is anything that could prevent the pride flag from being raised in the future.

The beginning of the analysis starts with the notice of motion, introduced by Amaranth Councillors Mark Tijssen and Heather Foster, that corresponds with the proposed flag-raising protocol. These are the same councillors that did not show up, along with Mayor Currie, to vote on raising the pride flag in June 2020. The involvement of Councillor Tijssen and Foster is causing some people to express concerns with the proposal. We explain that the notice of motion states that the responsibility of drafting the flag-raising protocol has been delegated to the Chief Administrative Officer.

Next, we dive into the flag-raising protocol itself, which is contained within a proposed proclamation policy. When looking at similar policies from other municipalities, such as Ottawa and Toronto, this turns out to be fairly standard. Amaranth’s proposed proclamation policy contains criteria for when a proclamation cant, and cannot, be issued by the government. There are some concerns here, but again, all of them are fairly standard and haven’t prevented the Pride Flag from being raised in jurisdictions with similar criteria.

One cause for concern, which many would consider valid given what led to the introduction of this proposal, is that there is a clause that allows requests to be removed, refused, or denied as deemed necessary by Amaranth’s Mayor and Council. Josh states that if this clause is to stay, some may argue that a written explanation be provided to the public when requests do not pass even though they fulfill all the stated criteria. This would help ensure transparency and consistency, and reduce the chances of flags not being raised due to personal views.

Other areas for improvement include additional criteria for what warrants a proclamation that is found in Ottawa’s proclamation policy, an electronic proclamation request form, and making sure the policy and request form clearly state that individual residents can file proclamation requests. None of these measures are necessary to get the Pride Flag raised in Amaranth, as made evident by other municipalities, but they would make requesting proclamations more accessible to residents and reduce the possibility for misinterpretation.

Overall, there is room for improvement with Amaranth’s proposed flag-raising protocol, but it seems relatively standard and is still in its proposal stage. If you still have concerns, or would like to see improvements made, make sure your voice is heard. It is not too late for this policy to be changed. Amaranth’s next council meeting is July 15th, at 6 pm.

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