Sunday, June 22, 2008

Haldimand "Defacing the Canadian Flag is Just Wrong"

********************UPDATE TUESDAY JUNE 27, 2008************

This morning around 9:50 am the "defaced" Canadian Flag in Caledonia was taken down! Thank you to the individuals that did the right thing today!


Well I had an interesting Sunday morning. It all started when I checked my e-mail. A friend in Dunnville had sent me an e-mail in regards to a Canadian flag that was flying at the entrance of DCE in Caledonia and the flag was "defaced"! This flag had apparently being there since Thursday.

I have a thing about the Canadian Flag! I happen to be proud of the Canadian Flag! There are certain "protocols" to the hanging and disposing of the Canadian flag, but when the Canadian Flag is "defaced" that is another story.

So I made a phone call to someone I know in Caledonia, I didn’t want to go there alone, so we were to meet at DCE around 11:30am.

I decided once I was there, I would speak to someone and request that the flag come down and I would dispose of it properly. Well that didn’t happen!

I arrived at 11:30am and there was the Canadian Flag blowing in the wind. Someone had painted a black circle around the maple leaf and put a black line through it. I have never seen a "defaced" Canadian Flag and I certainly was not impressed!

I sat in my truck on Argyle St. right in front of DCE for about 5 minutes, I could see that someone was watching me and I had hoped that they would come and ask me what I was doing there. About 5 minutes later I got out of my truck and walked across the road. Within in a few minutes someone came out of the house on DCE and started walking towards me. I in return started walking to meet them. I introduced myself, shook his hand and asked if he could take down the "defaced" Canadian Flag that was flying. He didn’t answer me we just starting walking towards the flag. I talked about "protocols" and again asked if I could have the flag to dispose of it properly. This individual told me that he was not responsible for the flags that were flying and he personally could not take it down.

A couple of minutes into our conversation another individual came to see what was going on, I once again introduced myself, shook his hand and asked to have the "defaced" Canadian flag taken down so I could dispose of it properly. I was told no.

We talked back and forth for about 15 minutes. I was told at one point that I could put a flag up if I wanted too. My response was that they already had a Canadian Flag flying and it was "defaced". I offered to replace the "defaced" flag with a new one, and was told no. I also asked how many people so far had come over and asked them to remove the flag and I was told no one, so my response was, I came on my own and my only intent was to have the "defaced" flag removed. It was just that simple!

I also asked what if I just removed the flag myself? I was told that they would have to stop me, and I responded by saying how would you stop me, I didn’t get an answer. I wasn’t in fear of anything happening to me but I didn’t want to push the issue of me taking down the flag myself.

Some may say that what I did was pretty stupid, or petty, but to me this was just the right thing to do. It had nothing to do with land claims, or any other issue, it was simply wrong that the Canadian Flag was blowing in the wind "defaced". I really did believe that the right thing would have been done today, and I am truly disappointed.

I will go back and try again. Flying a "defaced" Canadian Flag in my mind makes no point at all. It dosen't prove anything. What is does is show "disrespect". I showed no "disrespect" today and I am hopeful that the right thing will still be done!


  1. Your personal approach Sunday was the right thing Donna.

    The intention for the defacing is to seek attention.

    That intent is now working.

    Let's hope no one will get hurt over this issue as there is history and passion surrounding the flag, especially now when we are at war in Afaganistan.

    Don't go back!

  2. I saw the flags also Donna, and I don’t really understand the intent of this action. Negotiations were taking place, but halted at the request of native negotiators. So what are they saying? Are they pointing the finger at government negotiators? I doubt it.

    It seems to me that there have been many attempts at negotiation which have been terminated at native request. It appears to me anyway that this type of behaviour comes from a culture of animosity and contempt.

    Defacing the flag accomplishes nothing positive, but it does offend many people. Why the offence? Why the clear intent to offend? Why fly a flag of provocation?

    There is nothing accidental about defacing the flag, and when you expressed your concern for this public display of low regard, no action was taken. Your offence was dismissed.

    It seems to me that if natives want sympathy and allies in the Canadian public, they would have understood that this was offensive and removed the flag if only as an accommodation. When friends and neighbours offend each other, it is by accident, not intent. And it is followed with an apology, explanation and attempt at reconciliation. But that didn’t happen to you. How come?

    The people you shook hands with are clearly telling you that, while they may shake your hand, they are not your friend and they couldn’t care less about how you feel. In spite of the fact that defacing the flag accomplishes nothing for them, they insisted that it remain in place.

    Negotiations are not the solution when culture is the root of the problem. This problem isn’t going to go away no matter what happens at the negotiation table. In fact, successful native negotiations will feed the culture and fuel further discontent.

    It isn’t the natives that should walk away from the negotiation table. The government should instead expend their energy on dismantling the reserve system. There is nothing wrong with natives retaining their heritage, but the culture of chronic discontent, blame assignment and dependency has to end.

    To me, the defaced flag is a symbol of native morality gone awry. A value system that has replaced native pride with outward hostility. There is no doubt in my mind that the reserve system helps cultivate this attitude, and it seems to me that it serves natives about as well as the defaced Canadian flag.

  3. Two very good comments. I would like to add that this act of defacing the Canadian Flag was to intentionally upset people, but at what cost. You are right Donna, this is just a show of disrespect and should not be tolerated!

  4. Donna you are the bigger person here. All that had to be done was for the natives to take the flag down and give it to you to dispose of. A show of a bit of respect would have been commended. I am sure that you would have written a wonderful story on that and it would have been good for all.

  5. Donna your efforts yesterday were admirable. To support your effort I have sent an email to Dalton McGuinty and Michael Bryant yesterday.

    "Dear Sirs,

    As owners of DCE it seems your government has little or no respect for this country.

    At a time when Canadian soldiers are dying in battle for the Rule of Law and freedom it seems your government has little or no respect for the one thing that is vital to Canada, its flag.

    The attached video will show you a defaced Canadian flag that has been flying at the entrance to your property for a few days now. Canada Day is only one week away and citizens of this country are forced to look at this every day since residents must drive past DCE to go to work with the bridge closed.

    The OPP were contacted on June 20, 2008 about this act yet nothing is being done.

    A Haldimand resident went there today to ask the occupiers to remove the flag with the request falling on deaf ears.

    This property now belongs to the Ontario Government. It is the responsibility of the Ontario Government to ensure that the property is clean and that such actions as to insult the flag of our country don’t take place on Crown land.

    I would like to know immediately what your government is going to do to see that this defaced Canadian flag is removed prior to Canada Day and properly disposed of and that those responsible are appropriately charged for doing this act.

    I would also like to know when this government is going to have that site cleared completely, cleaned up and properly policed so these types of actions cease.

    Your immediate attention is needed.

    Thank you."

    Unfortunately, I cannot post the video here that was sent to the Premier and Aboriginal Affairs Minister but it clearly shows the damage to the flag.

    The Canadian Flag is as important to Canadians as apparently the Native Flags are to Six Nations. You don't see a defaced Warrior Flag now do you anywhere in Caledonia? That says it all.

  6. Thanks for your comments. Thanks Lisa for having my back yesterday! It is amazing when you think of it how far a little respect can go. Have we lost the ability to respect each other? I hope not! I still have faith in good gestures, and I still have faith that I will get my hands on that flag and dispose of it properly!

  7. Donna it is obvious that the natives had no beef with you. What I don't understand is the lack of respect for your valid concerns in regards to the defacing of the Canadian Flag. I too am dissapointed that they did not give you the flag to dispose of properly. Are you going over again? If so I am with you.

  8. You are directing your anger at who? The OPP? The Ontario Government? For what?

    Defacing a flag is completely legal in Canada and the USA.

    Do I agree with the gesture clearly aimed at agitating Caledonia . Of course it is.

    Ignore it and you won't empower those who wish to get this exact reaction.

  9. I don't know where you got the impression that I was "angry". I did not go over there in anger, I went over there because for me it was just the right thing to do. So therefore I am not directing any anger anywhere. What I did was simple. I asked for the "defaced" flag to dispose of it in the proper manner. I was respectful, friendly and certainly voiced my opinions on how I felt about this situation.

    I was over again today but I guess no one was interested in talking to me. They were aware I was there and they know who I am. I will not make anymore attempts.

    As far as "ignoring" an issue that I believe in is not my style. If we all just "ignored" things that happen around us what kind of society would we be.

    I have no doubt today that the purpose of the "defacing" of the Canadian Flag was to intimidate people like myself, but in saying this and knowing this will not stop me from attempting to do the "right thing".

    It is just a shame that the respect isn't mutual. A little respect can go a long way! A little compassion for your fellow man also goes a long way.

  10. I agree with what you have said Donna. Too many people ignore what is going on around them, our society is turning into nothing more than what can I do for me syndrome. As far as the poster that states ignore it and you won't empower those whow wish to get this exact reaction, are counting on just that. They want to make there point and have us do nothing about it.

  11. Count me in to Danna!!!
    Jim Smith

    Donna it is obvious that the natives had no beef with you. What I don't understand is the lack of respect for your valid concerns in regards to the defacing of the Canadian Flag. I too am dissapointed that they did not give you the flag to dispose of properly. Are you going over again? If so I am with you.

  12. Donna contact Toby Barret!!!

    Toby braught up the AK-47 and much more in Queen's Park.

    Toby is a man with hounor and carring: we are lucky to have him!!!

    Jim Smith ;-)

  13. Thanks for your comments. Thanks Jim for your support. As I stated in my update the flag came down respectfully. It was the right thing to do and I thank those individuals for what they did yesterday.

  14. This is an article by Karen Best that was in the Dunnville Chronicle today;

    Defaced flag removed

    A defaced Canadian flag was taken down from the entrance to Douglas Creek Estates after open communications between Ontario Provincial Police and members of Six Nations.

    The small flag had a black spray painted circle around the leaf and a single diagonal line across the leaf.

    On June 19, the flag was sighted hanging on a small wood post at the entrance to DCE.

    A few days later South Cayuga resident Donna Pitcher walked onto the former subdivision property in Caledonia and asked two people if they would remove it or if she could. They turned down both options, she reported.

    Later in the day, Pitcher filed an official complaint asking OPP to act and if they did not, she planned to contact the RCMP.

    A couple hours earlier, open communications had been initiated and by noon on Tuesday, the flag was gone, said McLean.

    While defacing a flag is disturbing, disrespectful and inappropriate, it is not illegal because there is no victim, he noted. "As far as we are concerned, it was freedom of expression," said McLean.

  15. Donna good for you!

  16. Hi Donna;

    I notice you haven't reported on the two native flags that were defaced since.

    They were hung on the front lawn of an Argyle St. resident's home by the owner.

    This was way after the defaced Canadian Flag was removed and the incident was clearly over and dealt with.

    Some people are trouble making idiots don't you agree? It seems to me they actually enjoy the fight.

  17. I heard about the defaced native flags. My understanding is that they flew for about 3 hours and they came down.

    I took a drive to Caledonia and by the time I arrived the flags were gone.

    I do understand that it is classified as "freedom of expression" to deface a flag, any flag, but I personally would never disrespect anyone by doing such a thing.

  18. I live in Regina,sask. And recently saw two flags flying outside a gay and lesbian bar off there outside deck. The flags are altered to depict the gay and lesbian symbol on the sections where the red is supposed to be. I don't have a problem with the gay and lesbian people. I do have a problem with flag being altered in clear violation of the laws regarding the defacing of the Canadian flag that clearly state that the flag the symbol of my country that I as a Canadian am very proud of. What bothers me the most is the federal government has sanctioned this and allow these flags in clear violation of there own laws regarding the altering and defacing of our Canadian flag.