Alberton town council is standing by its decision to fly only the Canadian, provincial and Alberton town flags on the three flag poles in front of the town’s municipal building.
Last month, council turned down a request to fly a Pride flag for one day, concluding the poles are meant for the Canadian, provincial and town flags only. That decision was met with a barrage of criticism, and councillors felt their position was not fairly represented.
“We didn’t mean any ill-will towards anyone, although some of us have received quite a lot of comments,” said Coun. Kelly Williams who described the past month as being a very emotional ride.
“None of this was intended to make anybody feel bad,” she said. “It was trying to keep this spot neutral, and that was not reflected in how it was recorded.”
Coun. Blair Duggan said he was part of a committee that selected a town flag design for Alberton’s centennial year in 2013.
“At that time council decided this is what we’re going to have for flag poles out here,” Duggan said. “In my mind we were just supporting that.”
Duggan said he doesn’t think it was ever worded as a formal policy and he doesn’t know if a policy is needed now.
Mayor David Gordon requested the flag policy be put on the agenda for the June meeting, but he was absent from last week’s meeting due to illness. Acting mayor David Cahill proposed the policy discussion be put off until the mayor is back at the table.
Both Williams and Coun. Connie Bernard suggested the town could look for a location for another municipal flag pole that groups could use.
The town’s new walking track was mentioned as a possible location, but councillors said that is only one possible location and it hasn’t been discussed with the walking track committee.
“Our job is to represent everybody, and we have to respect everybody’s thoughts and wishes," Williams said. “It’s just the flags (at the town hall) represent everybody. Neutral. Everybody.”
Williams insisted the town’s decision is not an attack on any group.
“I’m the same way,” Duggan said.
“I have all kinds of friends and colleagues that are in this community and I think the world of them. I don’t have any problem with any of them, but this is what I feel should be here, as representation, and if we have somewhere else in town, if we decide later on, we will have an area where the Pride flag or the Heart and Stroke Foundation or the Nurses Union or whatever, wants to have up for their week or their day, I support that 100 per cent,” said Duggan.