Your mostly unalienable right to fly the flag


Seems the Conservative bill on flag-flying will not apply to the most powerful condo board of all.

Heritage Minister James Moore told reporters on Wednesday that he and his fellow parliamentarians would still have to abide by the rules of the House of Commons that say no flags may be flown in the windows of Parliament Hill offices…

When asked if condo owners should not be required to follow the rules of their building, in the same way that MPs are required to follow the rules of the Parliamentary precinct, the minister turned and walked away.


Your mostly unalienable right to fly the flag

  1. LOL They never think these things through.

  2. Sweet Jeebus, another solution in search of a problem…..

    • Only 4 more years to go Dave. At least you’ve got access to good cheap wine. 

      • Shockingly cheap. 

        I won’t depress you though and tell you what unlimited data and 900 anytime North American minutes costs me on my cell plan.

        (hint: it’s less than 100 bucks)

        Still, most of the savings goes into setting aside cash for healthcare costs not covered by insurance. Averages 600 bucks a month for my family of 5. Private healthcare sucks big time. 

        • Ouch!
          Now that’s two tear health care

    • I don’t really understand the passion of the opposition to this from some people. 

      Yes, of course, the two years in jail notion is ludicrous and should be
      eliminated.  And yes, I knew when I bought my home that I wasn’t allowed
      to fly a Canadian flag here (even on Canada Day).  And I won’t, so long
      as my condo board forbids it.  However, I certainly don’t think it’s a
      crazy notion that my condo board shouldn’t be legally allowed to forbid
      it.  It’s by no means a pressing issue, but I rather like the notion of
      being able to tell my condo board to stuff it the next time they remind
      me that I can’t fly a Canadian flag on Canada Day.

      • So you agree with the govt being able to override a legal contract in the private sector?

        Slippery slope.

        • No, I agree with the government being able to say that I have the right to fly the Canadian flag, and that a clause in a contract that purports to infringe on that right is void.

          There are certain rights that can’t be signed away via contract, and while I agree that this is hardly a pressing issue, I don’t think it’s a terrible idea that my right to express myself through the flying of my nation’s flag should be one of them.  I’m with Bob Rae on this one, “The principle that people should be able to fly a flag I would have thought is a pretty simple principle. To me, it’s a matter of basic Charter rights and recognizing and understanding that”.

          • Then you DO agree with the govt being able to override a legal contract in the private sector.

            PS…there’s a reason Bob Rae is only an interim leader.

          • Not “the government” per se, but I do agree that my constitutional right to freedom of expression can override a legal contract, and I don’t object to the government passing an ordinary statute that makes it such that no one has to actually fight a lawsuit all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada in order to establish that one’s right to fly the Canadian flag is an aspect of our constitutionally-guaranteed free expression that can’t be signed away when one signs a private contract.

          • @Lord_Kitcheners_Own:disqus 

            We have no ‘right’ to fly the flag….especially when we’ve signed a legal contract not to put anything on the outside of the building.

            Pretty soon people would be flying every flag on earth…especially during the Olympics or World Cup…..then come clotheslines and yer undies flapping in the breeze. LOL

            You can always move. No one forced you to sign the contract

      • But you’re not forbidden to fly only a Canadian flag – right?  Probably any flag?  I’m sure you would only display a tasteful sized Canadian flag on appropriate occasions.  What if you have some superpatriot living directly above you who decides to suspend a forty foot Canadian flag which hangs down over your balcony or windows?  What then?

        • I do agree that some super huge flag blocking out the sun from your neighbours’ residence should be unacceptable, and I’d like to think that a) most people aren’t such big jerks, b) this would be considered an “improper use or display” of the flag and c) that a common sense judge wouldn’t issue an injunction protecting such activity, but I also see no reason that the bill couldn’t be amended to more explicitly ban such interference with other people.

  3. LOL!!

  4. These guys might yet come to wish they were in minority again, when they didn’t have the time to come up with any kind of ideas, let alone ones like this one.
    What’s next? Fines for those of us who can’t manage all the words to the national anthem?

    • Which version?

    • Please don’t give them any ideas.

  5. I might even start to feel pity for that fool of a private member who stovepiped this little slam dunk on Steven’s behalf.

    Maybe.  Not yet, though.  Too busy chuckling.

    • Why would you feel sorry for him?  It looks like the bill might pass with support from all parties.  Bob Rae supports it, in principle: 

      Interim Liberal leader Bob Rae said he hadn’t seen the bill but that in principle it sounded pretty straightforward and is something that could be supported on all sides.”The principle that people should be able to fly a flag I would have thought is a pretty simple principle. To me, it’s a matter of basic Charter rights and recognizing and understanding that,” he said.

      I’m not sure how the NDP feel about it – perhaps they’ll try to amend it to extend similar protections to the fleurdelisé.

      • LOL

        People railing against this as some kind of mindless fascist plot may have to re-think their position if it ends up passing with unanimous consent!

      • It’s either pass it or waste time debating it. You consider this a win?

        • I think I’d consider it a minor win if they passed it through unanimous consent and a minor waste of time if they spent some time debating it.  Personally, I’m really not too excited either way frankly, though, maybe it’s just me, but I think that despite the comments around here, if we put this to a referendum it’d get 60-70% support nation wide, so I really don’t have a problem with a law that I think would be that popular passing Parliament.

          As for the “what a waste of time” arguments, honestly, I think some of you people think that Parliament is a much more efficient and useful bunch of people than I do!  Given what they often spend their time on, I at least consider this to be an INNOCUOUS waste of their time, at worst.

      • Bill ‘an attempt to change the channel’: Rae
        Interim Liberal leader Bob Rae said he hadn’t seen the bill but that in principle it sounded pretty straightforward and is something that could be supported on all sides.
        “The principle that people should be able to fly a flag I would have thought is a pretty simple principle. To me, it’s a matter of basic Charter rights and recognizing and understanding that,” he said.
        But Rae questioned the government’s motivation behind the proposed law and said there are many more important issues Conservative MPs should be focused on including the uncertain global economy and job creation in Canada.
        “It is definitely an attempt to change the channel,” he said


        • I question the government’s motivation too, but to a certain extent, if a government proposes a law that I support, I don’t really care WHY they proposed it.  Maybe I’m just biased because I like it personally, but I really think this law would get 60-70% support if we held a referendum, and it’s really not a big deal, so… what’s the big deal?

          Sure, maybe it’s an attempt to “change the channel”, but to a certain extent, so what?  Maybe I’m watching something super important, but if the person I’m watching T.V. with wants to change the channel for 2 minutes to check the weather, why would I get into a two hour debate with them, hold on to the remote with a death grip, and then write a letter to the local paper about how my jerky friend wanted to change the channel but I refused to let him, and I’ll fight him ’til the end?  Shouldn’t I just let him flip the channel to the weather network and back again?

          If one is truly, passionately concerned about protecting the right of corporations to prevent individual citizens from flying the Canadian flag, then fair enough.  However, to my mind, most of the people complaining that this is just an attempt to distract us seem to have missed the notion that it only works as a distraction if people allow themselves to be distracted by it.

      • Because it’s not a slam dunk.  Moore’s created an exception.  Either they back down from that or it’ll end up in court.  It’s not the opposition’s job to protect the government of the day from itself.

  6. What is the rationale for the rules of the House of Commons that say no flags may be flown in the windows of Parliament Hill offices?  In other words, why does this rule exist?  Is it a matter of aesthetics?

      • Aha – on the forwarded email it just says – Rob Anders – without the link.  Geez I thought Cons believed in following rules, not breaking them.

    • I believe it is just aesthetics, the same reason most condo boards forbid it.  (Except it makes marginally more sense in the case of a historic building such as the Parliament buildings, where a Canadian flag is already prominently flying).

      • But that isn’t really consistent. If i own a beautiful condo building[ had to gag on that one a bit] and some dolt wants to fly a 100sq’ flag from the balcony right over the main entrance, i can say no to a oilers logo but i can’t set any rules about flag size or location on my building.

        I don’t know exactly why i’m taking this view since i would never live in a condo development that told me what colour my door should be or what plants i could have on my balcany – or even what flag i should fly for that matter.

        The point being i suppose, if you don’t want to have somebody telling you not to fly the flag or anything else for that matter, don’t live there.   
        Another small gripe[ don’t we have more to deal with then making not flying the flag a criminal matter] for me is that presumeably condos and such restrict ALL flags and assorted sports logos etc from adorning their buildings, it was never a deliberate attempt to restrict flying the fag per se. The owners are just enforcing their lawful proprietorial rights. As i say, i wouldn’t chose to live in such a building or have such a landlord.

        • Fair enough, though I don’t know of a high rise building anywhere in my city where I’d be allowed to fly a Canadian flag from my balcony, so it’s not as though my choices of dwelling are infinite. 

          I’m perfectly willing to never fly a Canadian flag on Canada Day until I can afford a proper house one day though (if I can ever afford a proper house!) it’s just that at the same time I also don’t have any real objection to the notion that the flying of our national flag should be an exception to that type of limit that no private entity can infringe upon.  I guess I’m not thrilled with the “if you want to fly the flag of your nation at home then go get a better job and buy a proper house, or quit whining” line of argument, or the notion that an individual condo owner’s right to display a little national pride on their balcony absolutely must be subservient to the collective owners’ right to be aesthetic snobs, though honestly, as I’ve said, the issue doesn’t really bother me much either way.  I’ll obey my condo board’s silly rules until the day this bill gets passed (if this bill gets passed) and fly a (modest) Canadian flag on my balcony the first Canada Day after it does (again, if it does).

          • http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/ottawa-notebook/harper-spins-a-new-brand-of-patriotism/article2135876/

            Perhaps this goes some way to explaining some of the politics behind this issue. Arguably it is fine to poke a stick in the Official oppositions collective eye. But for me this is pretty much a fatherless issue; it just fits the Tory narrative.Although i wonder how it will all play out in Quebec one of these fine days – not that i’m a fan of appeasing Q nationalists either. I just remember one of the wise things Dion did say: you shouldn’t play games with national symbols, it’s very irresponsible and dangerous.
            And it is a non issue really. Who would dream of restricting the right to fly the flag if say the queen or the Olympics came to town? Condo owners rights or no.

          • Oh God, now you’re just whining.  And you’re doing this soppy nationalism crap I have no time for.  There is much more to be a Canadian than flying the dam flag.  If you really want to display the flag, sit out on your balcony wearing a Canadian flag tshirt and one of those ridiculous Canadian flag hats. 

          • Wow.  I really didn’t think I was taking it that seriously, but some people seem to really dislike our flag.

    • Probably why condos don’t want them – it looks tacky.  One flag outside a building is a serious symbol which commands respect.  A bunch of them – not so much. 

  7. If this stupid thing ends up in the Supreme Court, or any court for that matter, I will tear my hair out.

    • Is that because you think that it’s blindingly obvious that one has the right to express oneself through the flying of one’s national flag, or because you think that it’s blindingly obvious that businesses have the right to curtail an individual’s ability to express themselves through the flying of the flag by adding a clause prohibiting said expression to a private contract?

      ‘Cause on the one hand I can see the NDP potentially fighting this tooth and nail as an unwarranted distraction from more important issues, but on the other hand I can see this bill being adopted in seconds through unanimous consent, because everyone agrees that of course Canadian citizens have the right to fly the flag of Canada, so let’s just pass the law and move on.

      • I don’t care how any of the other parties are responding to this.This is a complete waste of parliamentary time. The government has just restricted debate on that mother of all crime bills to what –  2 days?  There is the economy – a real debate – not the Disney version we get from Harper and Flaherty.  We are involved in two military ‘adventures’ – no time or inclination to discuss that.  There’s this little thing involving the border -I’m sure Harper’s looking after our best interests – no need for discussion on that.  Oh, the F-35’s – what – the largest military purchase ever.  Let’s not discuss that, no matter how many questions arise about the wisdom of signing an agreement to purchase them.  No, it’s condo owners right to fly a flag – surely there’s a Churchill quote to cover this. 


    • Being made an exception to a rule is discriminatory.  Everyone who is not an exception can make the same claim.

      It’s only a matter of time.

  8. Has anyone seen the actual text for the proposed bill.  

    • Bill C-288

      After all the preamble (“Whereas the Canadian flag is totally awesome” and the like…) the meat of the Bill is as follows:

      Short title
      1. This Act may be cited as the National Flag of Canada Act.
      2. It is prohibited for any person to prevent the displaying of the National Flag of Canada, provided that
      (a) the flag is displayed in a manner befitting this national symbol;
      (b) the display is not for an improper purpose or use; and
      (c) the flag is not subjected to desecration

      The bit people have really mocked is the “two years in jail” bit in the punishment section of the Bill:

      The court before which proceedings are commenced and maintained under this section may punish any person who contravenes or fails to comply with a restraining order, injunction or other order granted or made by the court under this section by a fine in the discretion of the court or by imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years.

      Keep in mind though that said punishment is not for preventing the flying of the flag per se, it’s actually the punishment for violating a restraining order, or other court order or injunction ordering you not to interfere with the flying of the flag.  No one’s going to get arrested for stopping someone from flying the flag. The person thus prevented will go and get an injunction from the court ordering the offender not to interfere with said Canadian’s flying of the national flag, and if that court order is ignored, then they may be punished for ignoring the court order.  So you’re not really being punished for stopping someone from flying the flag, you’re being punished for violating an order from a judge not to interfere with someone’s flying of the flag (not that anyone would ever do jail time for this in ANY case).

      • Gosh this bill is double-negativiting itself into a double-standard.

        Weren’t we supposed to get some super-streamlined justice system or something? I hope that’s not all they get our of their think tank.

        • Strata law is provincial, so here we have the Feds interfering with that.  Surely there’s another way to appeal to crass nationalism?  Maybe free flags if a donation to the Conservative party is made?

      • Well, nobody did jail time for not filling out the census but we all know how much mileage was made out of the -possibility of it happening.  I’m curious about (a)- what is a manner benefitting  this national symbol? 

        • I believe that simply means that you can’t display a raggedy old flag half in tatters and the like.  Basically, even if the way that you’re displaying the flag doesn’t rise to the level of “desecration”, you still have to treat the flag with respect.  Also, there’s etiquette and protocol involved.  So, for example, you can’t fly a Canadian flag below an American flag on the same flag pole….  that’s not “desecration” per se, but it’s not appropriate, so if you’re doing that someone could try to get you to stop without having violated this bill.

          Canadian Heritage has a page on the proper display of the flag, precedent of flags, etc… here.

  9. I hope the bill covers the issue of liability. Our board of directors have the responsibility to insure that flags or anything else not properly fastened do not fall and injure anyone or cause property damage. 

    So if a neighbors flag pole skewers someone sitting on a lower balcony is the bill going to excuse the condo corporation from a insurance company lawsuit ? 

  10. Guess I live in a ‘progressive’ strata.  Did a walk-about and out of 31 units:
    3 rainbow
    2 maple leaf
    1 BC provincial
    1 sign of the fish

  11. OK, this comment is way longer than the topic deserves, so feel free to move along and ignore me, but still, I’m surprised by some peoples’ reactions to this innocuous little bill, so I have to ask…

    Do people who are complaining so vociferously that this is a waste of time and a distraction not realize that to the extent that that is true they’re playing right in to the Tories hands?

    I agree that it’s helpful to them as a distraction, and that that’s partly the point (though I do think they’re sincere in wanting to protect peoples’ ability to fly the flag, I agree that that’s not the most important benefit to them) but isn’t the proper response to an attempt to distract you NOT TO BE DISTRACTED BY IT? 

    I rather like this bill, so I’m biased, but I’m quite sure it would get at least 60-70% support if we held a referendum.  I’m still not convinced it’s not going to pass in seconds through unanimous consent (seems to me that the Liberals will probably support it, but we’ll see where the NDP falls). As a distraction tactic, what the Tories want on this file is lots of people complaining about it.  They want letters to the editor using words like “fascism” in the context of flying the maple leaf.  They want people describing the flying of the Canadian flag as “tacky”.  They want patriotism derided and proud Canadians who want to fly the flag being mocked as mindless automatons.  They want to be cast in the role of the defenders of your right to fly the nation’s flag over the objections of faceless, dispassionate corporations (ironically).  They want to be able to say, “See, we told you this whole place is being overrun by left-wing crazies!  One of our MPs brought forward an innocuous piece of legislation to protect your right to fly the maple leaf, which we thought everyone would readily agree to, and some people actually freaked out about it!”  They want to be seen as the innocent victims who were just trying to pass a harmless bill to make Canada Day a little brighter, and naively failed to anticipate the visceral anti-Canadian flag attitude of the opposition. They want people like me, who would be EXTREMELY unlikely to ever vote Tory, to wonder why so many people have a problem with this.  To think, “Am I really so out of touch with so many Canadians?”.  Perhaps even to think “Maybe the Tories are right…”.  They want, I think, pretty much the response they’re getting from a lot of people here, and it boggles my mind that so many people who oppose them are accommodating them.

    If one is truly, passionately concerned about the inviolability of private contracts, and protecting the right of corporations to prevent individual citizens from flying the Canadian flag, then fair enough. 
    However, to my mind, most of the people complaining that this is just an attempt to distract us seem to have completely missed the fact that it only works as a distraction if people allow themselves to be distracted by it.

    • I found your comment to be distracting.  :-)

      • I told you right at the beginning….


  12. are canadian flags in ottawa ontario allowed in the main lobby of a high rise condominium?

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