Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Ministry of Flags

As ridiculous as the need for a flag policy at City Hall should seem, the urges of Councillors to continue making cosmetic gestures in support of preferred constituencies is still more ridiculous and makes having a policy seem quite reasonable in comparison. And no approach could be simpler, less contentious and non-discriminatory than City Staff's recommendation to confine flag displays at City Hall to "the flags of London, the provinces, Canada, the lieutenant-governors, the Governor-General, the royal family, the Commonwealth, the United Nations and NATO," even if the process of discovering the principle somehow required writing a 52-page report (PDF).

Far too simple, uncontentious and non-discriminatory, it seems however, for Councillors who by now are quite accustomed to the prerogative of keeping matters needlessly complicated, contentious and discriminatory — according to the London Free Press, the proposal is not likely to be accepted and several politicians have already "vowed to fly flags of community groups and causes." It must be noted that this is the same Council that directed administration to waste countless months producing a recommendation in the first place, presumably to keep up with the needlessly complicated part of its strategy at least. No less complicated is Staff's second recommendation in anticipation that Council would not go along with the straightforward approach, which would have flag requests decided by administration instead but requiring even more staff resources than have already been invested into the issue "in order to provide the necessary expertise and investigative capacity to determine the history and political ramifications of each request for the flying of a flag."

Citizens on whose behalf any or all flags are supposedly flown at City Hall in the first place might wonder how this issue could cause so much self-precipitated anguish among politicians, to the point where Cont. Gina Barber confesses to "wrestling" with the "tough choice" of allowing the flags of denominational churches (although we do recall that allowing the gay pride flag was much less demanding on her). We should say instead, however, that one might wonder except that it would be far more useful to remember that Council keeps use of City Hall for its own behalf.

See also:

Not that there's nothing wrong with this
Are we proud now?
A flag solution