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Surrey councillor wants city’s flag policy opened up to ‘other nations and causes’

Coun. Linda Annis presented a notice of motion to council on June 5
Linda Annis, Surrey city councillor. (File photo: Lauren Collins)

A Surrey city councillor wants city hall’s flag-flying policy officially opened up to “other nations and causes.”

Coun. Linda Annis presented a notice of motion to council on June 5 asking it to direct city staff to amend the City of Surrey’s flag policy “in a manner that gives council the option to allowing flags to be flown of other nations, not-for-profit or charitable organizations within reasonable limitations” and bring a report forward for consideration.

She noted the city’s flag policy adopted in 2014 limits types of flags to be flown to the Canadian flag, provincial flag and City of Surrey flag.

“I appreciate the existing flag policy follows federal and provincial practises and protocols and it’s the best way to ensure consistency in the flags that are flown in our many city facilities,” Annis said. “That said, we’re a growing city and have one of the most diverse communities in the country. It is no wonder that I and many of my fellow council members are consistently approached by a variety of cultures and causes requesting that their flag be flown for specified period of time.”

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Annis noted many cities and municipalities allow this. Vancouver, for example, flies guest flags from “other sovereign nations,” not-profit groups and other local government organizations and Toronto permits this as well on a “courtesy” flag pole adjacent to its city hall.

“As Surrey is a shining example of a city that embraces diversity and inclusion, it is my belief that we should consider amending the city’s flag policy to allow the flying of flags that represent other nations and causes.”

Meantime, the Pride flag will fly beneath the city’s colours from June 18 to June 27 at the civic plaza.

“That is a deviation from the policy,” Annis told the Now-Leader, “so what I’m trying to do is get a policy in place so we can honour and celebrate all of our cultures and not-for-profits that are serving in Surrey because we’re really known for our cultural diversity, there’s so many causes, they’re doing good work in our community and if they’re having a special celebration I’d like to be able to recognize it in a more formal way.”

Annis wants a “ceremonial” flag pole erected beside city hall to accommodate this.

“It would be in addition to.”

As for “reasonable limitations,” she said, requests would have to be vetted for taste and legality. “When we draft the policy there’s certain parameters that would be put around that so it’s not automatic anybody can fly their flag.”

Surrey’s next council meeting is set for June 19.

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About the Author: Tom Zytaruk

I write unvarnished opinion columns and unbiased news reports for the Surrey Now-Leader.
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