NORTH BAY — Tyler Kidd has two children that attend Saints Agnes elementary school.
Over the past little while it has bothered him to see two flag poles on the property of the school and the Franco-Nord Board Office flying only Franco-Ontarian on both and no Canadian flag to be seen.
“My kids started school there three years ago and I noticed it at the time and I thought it was something but I will leave it alone, but just over time it started to bother me a little bit more and a little bit more,” said Kidd.
So he did some inquiring and left a message and eventually stopped by the Board office last week to voice his concern.
“I talked to my kids about it and I thought I should put my money where my mouth is,” he said.
“Both of my kids are Franco-Ontarian, I support them and I don’t want them to remove the Franco-Ontarian flag, I want them to keep it but I would like to see a Canadian Flag on one of those two poles,” stated Kidd.
The North Bay man, whose father and grandfather both were in the Canadian Military, along with his uncle, says the board office and all the other schools under the Franco-North umbrella have the Franco-Ontario flag flying out front and the Canadian and Provincial flags displayed in the front lobby.
“We respect that this is a sensitive issue for him as a member of our community,” stated Jacqueline Levesque, who is the communications and marketing official for the local French Catholic board.
“The Franco-Ontarian flag is flown outside of our School Board’s building to draw attention to the unique role of French language schools in Ontario. Flag protocol states that it is improper to fly two or more flags on one mast, especially the Canadian flag, therefore, since we only have one single mast on the property the board has decided to only display the Franco-Ontarian flag.”
Other local french speaking schools, including Odyssee, display more than one flag on a single pole with a Canadian Flag on the top.
Kidd says he even called the Legion about flag protocol.
“I did talk to someone, the Legion President, who told me he had never heard of such a rule,” said Kidd.
“But there is also no rule that you have to fly a Canadian flag either, so it is completely their choice.”
Levesque notes that the board previously flew the Canadian and Franco-Ontarian flags together on the same mast and received complaints about that.
She says right now they are simply following proper flag protocol.
“We have done a lot of research on our end and quite a few years ago before my time, we did have two flags on a single pole and we received complaints from members of the community saying it is disrespectful to the Canadian flag to have more than one flag on a pole,” she said.
However, Kidd heard the argument from the board, but he still believes they should make the change.
“I don’t want a negative connotation towards the board or school, it’s a good school, it is a good school board but it is a bad decision that they have made to not fly a Canadian flag, that just irks me,” he said.