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Pride flag not going on Town of Alberton, P.E.I., flagpoles

Alberton Town Council says the flagpoles in front of town hall are for flying the Canadian, P.E.I. and Alberton flags; suggests Pride flag can be flown on a flagpole elsewhere in the western P.E.I. town.
Alberton Town Council says the flagpoles in front of town hall are for flying the Canadian, P.E.I. and Alberton flags; suggests Pride flag can be flown on a flagpole elsewhere in the western P.E.I. town. - Eric McCarthy
ALBERTON, P.E.I. —

Alberton council has turned down a request from Pride P.E.I. and the P.E.I. Transgender Network to fly the Trans Pride or Rainbow Pride flag in front of the town hall. 

In forwarding the request, the organizations indicated they are committed to improving the lives of the Island’s 2SLGBTQ+ community members through education, awareness and community-building events.  

The organizations were seeking to have Alberton join municipalities across the country in raising the Pride flag in celebration of the 50th anniversary on May 14 of the partial decriminalization of homosexuality in Canada. 

Town councillors, however, said the flagpoles in front of town hall are intended to fly the Canadian, provincial and town flags and suggested the organizations look elsewhere in Alberton. 

The rainbow flag was raised at the town hall for Pride Week the previous two years, but maybe not with town council’s approval. 

“So, they took the town flag down and put that flag up without council knowing, correct?” Coun. Connie Bernard asked about last year’s flag-raising, directing her question to the town’s administrator. 

Contacted Tuesday, town maintenance employee Garth Davey acknowledged he raised the Pride flag last year after receiving a request from Pride P.E.I. It was his first year on the job and he didn’t bring the request to council. It was uncertain who approved the flying of the flag the previous year.  

Alberton maintenance worker Garth Davey raised the rainbow flag for Pride Week in 2018. It was taken down after the town received complaints. Town council is not permitting the flag to be flown on the town flagpoles this year. - File photo
Alberton maintenance worker Garth Davey raised the rainbow flag for Pride Week in 2018. It was taken down after the town received complaints. Town council is not permitting the flag to be flown on the town flagpoles this year. - File photo

“I think there was quite a ruckus over that,” Bernard said Monday night, indicating several phone calls opposed to the flag being flown were placed to town hall and the flag was soon taken down. 

Coun. Kelly Williams said she heard opposition to the flying of the flag from two people, including suggestions the three poles on the town hall property are meant for the flying of the Canadian, P.E.I. and Alberton flags. 

“If we fly a flag for this particular cause, then anyone who came could fly another flag and maybe it would be something that we don’t really support,” Williams described the nature of the opposition.  

“If we had the fourth flag (pole), that would be fine, but I think those three need to be the three most important, in my mind,” Coun. Blair Duggan said.  

Coun. Donnie Bernard wondered if the flag could be raised somewhere else in town, such as on the nearby Holland College flagpole.  

“That makes more sense anyway, because Holland College is a facility that is used by all different nationalities,” Mayor David Gordon commented.  

The motion not to allow the flag on the town flagpoles was moved and seconded by Blair Duggan and Donnie Bernard and passed unanimously.  

Asked following the meeting about council’s decision, Mayor Gordon said he knows the decision will not sit well with everyone. 

“We’ll likely get some flak on it, I would think, but, like I said, council made the decision, so we’re not going to be flying it this year," Gordon said.

“I have nothing against these people. Everybody has a right, but I know there was an issue last year. That’s all I can say. I know it was put up and taken down very quickly.” 

The town has no official policy on what flags can be flown in front of town hall.

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