Parliament Hill is viewed below a Canada flag in Gatineau, Quebec. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

LETTER – The Canadian flag belongs to all Canadians – let’s keep it that way

Dear editor,

In travelling about the Comox Valley I’ve noticed an increased number of people displaying Canadian flags at their homes and on their vehicles. I’ve wanted to ask what displaying the Canadian flag means to them. But it’s hard to talk with a speeding pickup truck and I’m uncomfortable knocking on a private door to initiate a political discussion.

If someone flys a swastika they are clearly telling us that they support fascist beliefs and practices. If they fly a U.S. confederate flag they are announcing that they are white supremacists. A Q-anon flag tells us they subscribe to various conspiracy theories. I’m sure the vast majority of demonstrators in Ottawa were not fascists or white supremacists. So why did they tolerate the presence of people with their symbols of hate, intolerance and oppression?

And what are they telling us in displaying the Canadian flag?

I have seen the Canadian flag flying since its inception in 1965. To me it represents diversity…. diverse ethnicities, diverse cultures, and diverse political opinions. When someone displays our flag it tells me nothing about who they voted for or which social movements they support.

Canadian society is far from perfect. I am profoundly ashamed of the atrocities committed at our residential schools, of the genocide of the Beothuks in Newfoundland, of the refusal of Canada to admit a boatload of Jews fleeing Nazi death camps and of the treatment of the Canadian ethnic Japanese in the Second World War. But for me, the flag represents at least a willingness to own and an attempt to atone for these acts of cruelty and injustice.

Over the years, I’ve participated in numerous public demonstrations and political movements to promote my various beliefs. I’ve marched in the streets and carried posters and banners. But out of respect for other Canadians who might not share my opinions, I never presumed to carry a Canadian flag.

Our flag belongs to all of us and represents the larger Canadian diversity. Please do not presume to appropriate and display the Canadian flag to promote your particular beliefs.

Erik Taynen,


Comox ValleyLetter to the Editor

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