Canada Ontario residents ‘outraged’ after town refuses to lower flag for Humboldt victims

20:51  16 april  2018
20:51  16 april  2018 Source:   Global News

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A Hudson Valley town is swirling with controversy after officials remove the POW/MIA flag from in front of town hall. According to the Poughkeepsie Journal, word started making its way through Rhinebeck on Monday after some residents noticed the flag was no longer flying.

Hockey sticks, messages and other items continue to be added to a memorial at the intersection of a fatal bus crash that killed 16 members of the Humboldt Broncos hockey team.© Liam Richards/CP Hockey sticks, messages and other items continue to be added to a memorial at the intersection of a fatal bus crash that killed 16 members of the Humboldt Broncos hockey team.

Several residents of an Ontario town are "outraged" by their mayor's refusal to lower the Canadian flag in honour of Humboldt bus crash victims.

Mississippi Mills residents have been pushing for the flag outside their local arena to be at half-mast until all funerals are completed for the 16 who died earlier this month in a Saskatchewan bus crash.

FULL COVERAGE: Humboldt Broncos bus tragedy

Jan Maydan, who is part of the area's taxpayers' advocacy coalition, explained to Global News that the bus accident, which involved the Humboldt Broncos hockey team, hit particularly close to the hockey town.

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I bet these assholes would lower the flag if someone's AR-15 broke and was unable to be repaired. 3. Apparently it's a county, not a town . And they did the same for some other shootings. They' re just idiots.

“ Lowering the flags to half-staff after mass shooting or terrorist event is not a valid circumstance or memorial as specified in the US flag code What CNN and the irate Twitterverse denizens seemed to miss was Dorsey’s full statement, in which he explained why the county refuses to lower the flag .

"We have a couple big hockey teams in the area that are highly supported," she said. "People have children in hockey."

But Mayor Shaun McLaughlin has refused, saying that lowering the flag for such tragedies does not fit the municipality's flag policy.

Maydan explained that the mayor refused a local resident's request to lower the flag over email on Wednesday. But when the controversy gained attention, he wrote about it online.

In a blog post Friday, the mayor said that several other nearby towns also did not lower their flags. He also said residents pushing for the flag to be lowered can't "cherry-pick" tragedies.

READ MORE: Humboldt Broncos bus crash victim Logan Schatz remembered at celebration of life

"I didn’t see RATPAC [sic] calling for us to lower the flag when a man shot 25 Canadian Muslims in their Quebec mosque in January. Or when police turned up seven bodies of gay men murdered by a serial killer in Toronto. Or for the hundreds of murdered indigenous women," he wrote.

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After the nation's deadliest mass shooting in Orlando, President Barack Obama ordered flags all across the nation half-staff to honor the victims . However, officials in Baldwin County are refusing to lower official flags in the county to half-staff, according to Alabama Today.

"You can’t just cherry-pick your misfortunes. You need a policy."

Maydan explained that she and other residents have asked to see the flag policy McLaughlin is referring to, but have not been given anything.

READ MORE: Kindness everywhere after Humboldt Broncos bus crash kills 16

She added that the Canadian flag was lowered on Parliament Hill, and that should be reason enough for municipalities to follow suit.

"I think the federal government sort of takes the lead on that sort of thing," she said.

PRATAC weighs in

Maydan is the director at large for the Pakenham Ramsay & Almonte Taxpayers' Advocacy Coalition (PRATAC), which has taken the lead in pushing for the mayor to change his mind.

On Friday, the group posted a message on its website, saying "residents are not only embarrassed but outraged" by McLaughlin's decision.

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After receiving a lot of backlash, the county reversed its decision and decided to lower the flags for the Orlando victims . Police investigate after 2 teens killed in crash near Piedmont. California fire: Resident says neighborhood looks like ‘war zone’.

"Yes they have their policies but wouldn’t common sense dictate that a national tragedy such as this would take very little effort to make an exception of this policy?" the news release read.

Maydan explained that the mayor's office and PRATAC have butted heads over issues in the past, which is why he may have referred to the group as "RATPAC" rather than "PRATAC" in his blog post.

Global News reached out to the mayor's office but did not hear back by the time of publication.

Flag lowered by local residents

As disagreement over whether the flag should be lowered brews, local residents have taken action themselves.

Maydan explained that the flag was lowered to half-mast by an unknown resident Thursday night, and remained that way until much of Friday morning.

Town officials then set it to full-mast, but someone lowered it again.

WATCH: 12-year-old Whitby, Ont. boy's touching tribute for Humboldt Broncos victims goes viral

"It's sort of out in the open, I guess people can go out and lower it. It's the residents who've been pulling it down, not the town," Maydan said.

"It really upset people, the attitude that he's taking."

Jersey Day and #SticksOutForHumboldt

Meanwhile, several residents of the town took part in other gestures to pay tribute to those affected by the Humboldt Broncos crash.

Many wore hockey jerseys on Friday, while others put hockey sticks outside their doors to remember the victims.

Humboldt Broncos player from Winnipeg survives deadly Saskatchewan bus crash .
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