Waving the flag for the outdated status quo

Legal and process paralysis.

That’s what continues to be seen during Kitchener Council’s ill-informed and uninspired  flag flap.

At a council committee this week I tried to find enough support for a motion that would allow approved community groups to fly flags on a single, designated flagpole at city hall in order to mark special events and festivals. To avoid a complex vetting system, the groups could be those already financed and supported by the City of Kitchener — groups that already organize and participate  in events and festivals that attract thousands of visitors to our city.

Simple, right?

Wrong if you overlook what can happen once the lawyers and bureaucrats huddle together to advise faint-hearted councillors.

What was intended to produce a flagpole for ALL community groups rapidly turned into a single-topic debacle about the fact gay Pride members would fly their  rainbow flag and appear to be sanctioned by city council. Five members from that community showed up at council to present well-researched information about how at least 12 other Ontario municipalities already fly rainbow flags.

The delegates also pointed out that the City of Waterloo and the Regional Municipality of Waterloo have changed their flag protocols to include a clause that allows councils to make exceptions and, on occasion, fly community flags.

Unfortunately, all but Coun. Dan Glenn-Graham and yours truly voted in support of acceptance and inclusiveness. Terrified at consequences not yet experienced in other municipalities, the mayor and eight councillors found numerous ways to reject my motion and accept a status quo protocol that allows no city hall flag flying at city hall.

Now, it appears there might still be a face-saving attempt by one of the hand-wringing  nine to change wording and bring the embarrassing, myopic decision back to the May 26 council.

To which I would say that if too much water is added to the wine, such a diluted and insipid move is unlikely to win my support.


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