By Cal Braid
Westwind Weekly News
At the Sept. 6 council meeting in Raymond, a request from the Truth and Reconciliation committee to fly their survivor’s flag above town was met with mixed responses from those at the table.
Kurtis Pratt, CAO for the Town said, “Sept. 30 is Truth and Reconciliation Day. There was discussion about having the survivor’s flag (flown). There’s a gathering that’s going to be coming up here at the town office at 10:00 a.m. An elder will be here and will be giving some remarks and a prayer. Mr. Day Chief will be here, and he’ll be singing a song. We’ll be looking for a member of council to come and say a few words.”
“There was a request to fly the survivor’s flag somewhere here in the community,” he said. “We were thinking short term that we could take down the Raymond flag and put the survivors flag up for however long you want. The federal government is choosing to fly it for two years. That doesn’t require us to do that, but that’s just a step towards that conversation.”
“We’re looking for some feedback, for someone to attend and say some words, and what your thoughts are on flying the survivors flag.”
Mayor Depew asked, “Where is it going to be at, right here out front?” Pratt indicated that the survivor’s flag could be flown in front of the Town office on one of the three poles and would replace the Raymond flag for a period agreed upon by council.
Coun. Tollestrup said, “I’m of the opinion that we don’t ever fly any other flag, just the town of Raymond.”
Coun. Kindt asked, “Could we fly it at the school?” The school was ruled out because it flies the Canadian flag.
Cummunity development director Greg Robinson said, “One of the things you might want to consider, especially given that it is a nationally recognized holiday, it does give it some separation from special interest groups that have their own flags.”
Pratt agreed, “That was one of the reasons why the survivor’s flag was being recommended versus the Blood or the Metis flag. It’s directly related to a cause that’s nationally recognized versus a group of people.”
Robinson said, “Our offices will be closed (that day), but we are looking for some representation from council. I would love to see even more than just one of you.”
Four council members volunteered to attend the event.
Coun. Evans weighed in, saying, “I feel like this is a little bit different from other requests for flags. Just given some of the hardship and implications that led to this, I feel like this is something we should consider.”
Coun. Jensen proposed, “What if we fly it for the week previous and up to that day, for two weeks (total)?”
“I think we can put the flag up before Sept. 30 and leave it until they come and present to us, and then get an opinion from the committee,” Coun. Sieben said.
Coun. Coppieters made a motion for flying the flag from Sept. 26 to Oct. 3. Council voted in favour.