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B.C. municipality won't fly Pride flag at city hall for 2nd year in a row

Councillor's motion to amend Mission's flag policy doesn't get seconder
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A motion from Coun. Ken Herar to amend Mission's flag policy to fly the pride flag at city hall didn't receive a seconder on Monday (June 17) (File photo: Anna Burns)

The Pride flag won’t fly at Mission city hall again this year. 

A motion from Coun. Ken Herar on Monday (June 17) to amend the city’s flag policy didn’t have a seconder, meaning there was no discussion or vote on the matter.  Coun. Jag Gill was absent from the meeting. 

The amendment would allow the Pride flag to fly at city hall during the annual Fraser Valley Pride Celebration. 

The matter was raised by Herar before, but this time he was optimistic. Herar says he initially wasn't going to bring the motion back but checked with the Fraser Valley Youth Society (FVYS), which organizes the annual Pride event. The society supported bringing the motion forward. 

“I was really hopeful that there would at least be a discussion on this matter,” Herar said.

Mission Mayor Paul Horn says he didn’t second the motion because it was already discussed exhaustively in the past. 

“There really isn't anything new to discuss,” Horn said.  

Horn says the city has been supporting Pride in other ways, including hosting the Fraser Valley Pride Festival, creating space for the Fraser Valley Youth Society, and flying the flag where more people go. 

“I think that the whole idea of supporting Pride has been to increase diversity in our community – to expect people to leave space for others,” Horn said.

According to Horn, raising the flag on government flagpoles tends to create polarization, not increase understanding. 

Earlier this month, the City of Mission changed its logo on social media for Pride month to reflect the Progress Pride Flag. The city also had a Pride-themed social media logo last June.  Horn says it wasn’t a council decision. 

“That's a different thing than the flag policy … the logo is not our official coat of arms or official flag,” Horn said. 

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On June 4, the City of Mission changed its logo on social media for Pride month to reflect the progress pride flag. City of Mission

Herar brought the initial motion forward to council in June 2022 to fly the flag during Pride Week. Council referred staff to look into options for revising the flag policy in the future. 

In March 2023, council voted 5-1 to exclusively raise the Canadian flag, provincial flag, and municipal flag at city hall, with the Royal Canadian Legion’s poppy flag during Veterans’ Week as the lone exception. Herar was the dissenting vote and Gill was absent. 

In a letter to the editor last March, Horn said council’s decision was a practical matter “meant to avoid the costly and distracting process of dealing with flag requests”. 

“It was not meant as a gesture to signify any disrespect or to dismiss the LGBTQ2S+ community. The City of Mission continues to stand for inclusion, not division,” Horn wrote at the time.
In August 2023, a group associated with a self-proclaimed Queen of Canada and QAnon-linked followers requested the city display “the world's first non-corporation freedom flag” publicly. The request was denied. 

“The city has recently revised and reviewed its flag policy and is very clear on which flags will be flown at city hall. They're the ones that are out on the flag standards outside right now and those are the only ones that are flown here,” Horn said at the time. 

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In August 2023, a group associated with a self-proclaimed Queen of Canada and QAnon-linked followers requested the city display “the world's first non-corporation freedom flag” publicly. . Video Image/City of Mission

Herar says the benefits of flying the flag outweigh the negative impacts. Communities including Surrey, Maple Ridge, Hope and Coquitlam have raised the Pride flag at respective city halls this June. 

“As council, we have the authority to say yes or no to any other flags that may fly but we could put an amendment that the Pride flag is going to fly every year. This was a very doable situation,” Herar said. 

“I know all my council colleagues believe in diversity, and I truly believe that. I just don't understand why we can't get over this hump here.”

Herar says he's taking the lack of a seconder personally and believes council treats him differently.

He says he will bring the motion forward again in the future if the FVYS wishes it. 



Dillon White

About the Author: Dillon White

I joined the Mission Record in November of 2022 after moving to B.C. from Nova Scotia earlier in the year.
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