Eastern Ontario town can't fly Pride flag due to 'fair' policy
Municipal resolution prevents Pride and other flags from being flown at municipal buildings
The town council in Petawawa, Ont., failed to pass a motion this week to reconsider a decades-old resolution that prevents the municipality from flying the Pride flag, or any other flag that shows support for a cause.
Resolution 11, originally passed in 1998, says council can't declare any "public proclamations" unless they "pertain to matters which are solely and completely within the immediate mandate of council."
In other words, the town can't fly Pride and other flags at municipal buildings.
The resolution was initially approved to avoid potential controversy by simply saying no to every request for proclamations, according to Deputy Mayor Gary Serviss.
Serviss brought forward a motion on Monday that called on the town council, which consists of seven members, to debate and reconsider the resolution.
The motion could only pass if five of the seven members voted in favour, but only four supported it.
That included Coun. James Carmody, who says the vote doesn't reflect what his consituents want.
"What I'm hearing from community members is that it's more important that local government support marginalized segments of the community than it is to avoid controversy" Carmody told CBC Radio's All In A Day.
"We could come up with a policy that would be fair and equitable and would not result in any trouble."
Mayor calls resolution 'equitable'
Petawawa Mayor Bob Sweet was one of the three council members to vote against the motion. Before the vote, he said he struggled with the wording of the resolution for weeks, but he chose fairness.
"I don't think we're going to be able to improve on [the resolution]," Sweet said. "It's fair, it's equitable and we have been consistent."
Due to municipal rules Serviss said council can't revisit the motion for another 12 months, but he does intend to reintroduce it next year.
"We're a little bit handcuffed in a way but that hasn't weakened our resolve. We will continue to advocate for this resolution to be amended or changed," he said.