I frequently hear others expressing the dismay I feel over the way the Canadian flag has been desecrated by the “Freedom” Convoy. Many of us now regard the flag with suspicion when we see it sported on a vehicle or hanging in a window — and revulsion when we see it draped over various body parts in an inappropriate way.
My niece Darcy had, I thought, the brilliant idea that we should take back our flag by associating it with the causes that we believe in. Causes that reflect the real freedoms that Canadians have and celebrate.
The Convoy crowd expresses freedom by protesting vaccine mandates. They have the freedom to do that, although it’s hard to understand why they continue to do so, even after the mandates have been largely lifted. These individuals seem now to have extended their mission to include a scattering of unrelated protests. For example, the Rolling Thunder rally in Ottawa had people marching while chanting “U…S…A” over and over, which I found puzzling and very worrying.
Maybe it’s time for those of us who are part of the all-too-silent majority to stand up for our rights. I have the right to accept vaccination and the right to wear a mask. I also have the right to admire and respect our governments – they aren’t perfect but in many cases they are much better than the alternative. And, if they aren’t, I know I have the right to work hard at election time to choose another government. I have the right to demonstrate in support of old growth forests, the right to support reproductive rights, the right to support indigenous land claims and reconciliation, the right to insist on climate action now, and lots more. I have a lot of rights. It’s a free country.
It’s time to take back our flag by associating it with the big ideas we like to think it represents: Democracy, Equity, Peace, Order and Good Government and the rights of Indigenous People.
Let’s visibly support those things that we want to define our country and, while doing so, let’s wear hats and T-shirts featuring the maple leaf or the Canadian flag.
Personally, I’ve always distrusted extreme nationalism and I’ve never been a flag-waver. But we’re living in strange times and we need to stand up for our beliefs.
It’s our flag too, and it deserves respect!