Flag debate causes flap

Request for Salmon Arm to fly Welsh banner sparks concern over political ramifications.

A request to fly the Red Dragon at city hall has Salmon Arm council feeling a little flag-shy.

The Red Dragon adorns the flag of Wales. The request to see the Welsh flag fly at city hall in celebration of St. David’s Day on March 1, came in a letter from Wyn Gittins of the Shuswap Welsh–Cymry’r Shuswap.

Mayor Nancy Cooper suggested that flying the flag might be one way Salmon Arm could be an inclusive community. She added the intent was to fly the flag below the city’s flag. But Coun. Marg Kentel suggested the city tread lightly when it comes to flags.

“I just think we probably need to stay out of a lot of this and that’s my own, personal opinion,” said Kentel.

“There’s lots of places to fly flags like that, and I don’t personally think it shows that we aren’t inclusive. There will be somebody definitely against this if we do it, because there always is, and I’d just as soon not get controversial about flags,” she added.

Coun. Ken Jamieson had a different point of view. He said he liked Welsh people, and would have no problem flying their flag, suggesting a smaller, stand alone pole.

“And I know it does open up a whole different debate, but I think maybe that debate needs to happen, because I think we need to be finding ways to include more people, include more groups,” said Jamieson. “In some ways, I think by not flying any, we are showing a low level of disrespect.”

Coun. Chad Eliason, however, was also on the side of caution. He questioned where and when would the city draw the line.

“I think our job is more so to deal with the politics of the city as opposed to the politics of whose flag we should allow and should not allow to fly on the flag pole,” said Eliason “I think that it could just bury us in something that we shouldn’t be dealing with.”

With Couns. Debbie Cannon and Denise Reimer away, council decided not to make a decision on the request until all of council is present.


Salmon Arm Observer