The Maple Leaf should be lowered on the Peace Tower for soldiers killed in the line of duty and for other special days designated by Parliament
Ottawa (10 April 2008) - The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is appealing to the Harper government to disregard advice from a panel of experts that would seriously restrict occasions when the Canadian flag atop the Peace Tower on Parliament Hill is lowered to half mast.
The panel has recommended that the flag be lowered only on Remembrance Day (Nov. 11) and on other isolated occasions such as to honour certain deceased politicians.
It has specifically recommended that the flag not be lowered for the death of individual soldiers, a practice begun by the former Liberal government in honour of men and women killed in Afghanistan but since ended by the Harper Conservatives.
It has also recommended that the government end the practice of lowering the flag on "special days" designated by Parliament to honour police and peace officers killed in the line of duty (late September), workers killed and injured on the job (April 28), women who are victims of violence (Dec. 6) and the Battle of Vimy Ridge (April 9).
"I have serious concerns that the federal government would not consider lowering the flag for soldiers killed while serving their country," NUPGE president James Clancy says in a letter to Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney.
"I also want to raise concerns that the panel has overlooked the lowering of the flag for other important days," he adds.
"It should not be necessary to remind the government that the flag is also lowered for the Canadian Police and Peace Officer Memorial Day, the International Day of Mourning for Workers Killed or Injured on the Job, and the Day to End Violence Against Women.
"To cease honouring these days in this manner could be seen as the government symbolically turning its back on the individuals and families who have experienced such a loss."
Clancy says NUPGE represents many women and men who work as police and peace officers, including those who work in correctional facilities, youth facilities, probation offices, court houses and in parks and on highways.
"Every day they face serious risk in order to protect the safety of other Canadians and to uphold the laws of the country. It is important that all Canadians are reminded of the contributions they make to public safety," Clancy notes.
"This was the rationale behind the creation of the Police and Peace Memorial (on Parliament Hill) – to honour and recognize the service and sacrifice of officers who are killed in the line of duty. I would ask that you allow this tradition to continue." NUPGE