Be still my fluttering heart.
Kitchener councillors this week finally approved overdue changes to our outdated flag protocol by designating two locations for flagpoles that will hopefully meet the needs of local groups including our gay community.
The poles will be at Speakers Corner (King and Benton) as well as in the community garden at the Duke Street side of city hall. On the latter location, I would have preferred a pole at the front of city hall but agree with suggestions the Duke Street location will eventually be viewed by those travelling along part of the future Light Rail Transit route.
I’m grateful to Couns. Berry Vrbanovic and Dan Glenn-Graham for research done to advance and support my earlier efforts to have Kitchener follow the lead of at least 18 other Ontario municipalities that already have community poles that occasionally fly the rainbow flag. It was extremely refreshing to see the two candidates in the upcoming mayoralty race exercise this type of leadership.
It’s also worth noting that the final flag motions passed in 9-2 votes despite predictable and shallow opposition from Couns. John Gazzola and Zyg Janecki.
During the council meeting I urged that we do the right thing by exercising leadership and vision in order to facilitate an outlet for community groups. At the same time, I asked that we move with the times and help create a city that respects differences, diversity and social justice.
I predicted the sky would not fall if we showed a little courage, pushed aside institutional discrimination and reworked our flag policy to encourage municipal inclusiveness.