On the agenda for the Monday meeting of Council is a decision on flag flying policy, a decision which Council was unable to get to at a previous Council meeting.
This is from the documents on the Town website [pdf alert! 62 pages!!!!! *] concerning this issue. For those who don’t really like downloading 62 pages we copy the intro to the draft policy below. Emph ours.
That the council accept the F lag Flying Policy which provides consistency for groups and orgnizations requesting that their event flag be flown from a Town of Wolfille flag pole. The policy will also provide criteria under which those Canadian Flags on Town Property will be flown at half-mast.
CHIEF ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICER COMMENTS:
This draft policy is being presented as requested by Mayor Stead. The policy and standard operating procedure will bring a process to the flag flying protocol. I recommend that Council move this policy forward for formal adoption at the January 19 meeting of Council.
IMPLICATIONS OF RECOMMENDATION:
It shall be a policy of the Town that no flag, other than a Federal Flag, a Provincial Flag, a Municipal Flag and/or a First Nations Flag be flown from a municipal owned flag pole, with the exception of the fourth flag pole at the water front.
The flag will be flown at half-mast to mark the passing of any of the prominent public figures listed in the attached document under Recognition of Prominent Public Figures.
Further the purpose of the policy is to provide consistency, fair and equitable opportunities and a designated area for groups or organizations requesting that their event flag be flown from a Town of Wolfville flag pole.
A reasonable policy draft it appears on the surface except one could ask why the exception for First Nations? Is discrimination in favour of one group not discrimination against all the others? And we also note that the last two clauses of the draft pretty well gives the CAO carte blanche to lower the flag for any event or person he sees fit.
The CAO in Wolfville has a lot of authority it seems. So why have a policy at all? This negates the whole purpose of a policy which is to avoid contention by pointing to the policy. If the flag is not lowered for the death of a soldier say, the mayor and council avoids the issue by saying the CAO didn’t think it advisable? How does this ensure consistency and equity?
* Regarding the documents on the Town website: It would be better if these documents were separately posted. How does one know looking at the pdf title that there are other documents attached and what they are? And do they all have to be pdf documents? Sure they hate us cut and pasting from town documents [which ironically ensures accuracy which other methods do not- ] but do the other documents have to be pdf ‘d?
There are other issues on the table for Monday night. David Daniels has a comment on at least one of them- the proposal by the Union of NS Municipalities to ask the Province for increased latitude in having in camera meetings, which it seems some ( such as the mayor?) want so that they can talk in private about Councillors verbal stoning treatment of other Councillors . Fodder for a subsequent post.