Flags at the Ontario legislature will be lowered to half-mast on the days funerals are held for soldiers from the province who are killed in Afghanistan...
While Premier Dalton McGuinty did not criticize Prime Minister Stephen Harper for the decisions, he did say Tuesday that flags at the provincial legislature will be lowered.
"I'll let the federal government make its own decisions in that regard, but the Speaker decided ... that the flags here at Queen's Park would be lowered on the dates of the funerals themselves," McGuinty said.
Apart from showing respect and proper protocol, Harper's misguided decision not to lower the flag is a self-inflicted gaffe. The curious part about the government's decision, lies in the fact that the flag is largely irrelevant to the story. Will the media coverage wane because the flag is high? Will Canadians not feel grief and regret because this symbolism is missing? Harper, the control freak, has effectively out flanked himself with this silly and transparent policy. The man who runs to every military base he can find to look the patriot, is now faced with a public relations nightmare.
Harper made a terrible miscalculation, in not recognizing the obvious bad optics by changing protocol. Nothing to be gained in a practical sense, but lots of potential pitfalls. Now Harper is faced with the embarrassing situation of lowered flags at provincial buildings, while Parliament Hill carries on business as usual. Harper has assured even more media coverage, which is ironic given the initial intention. Another case of the Harper political tin ear rearing its ugly head, no wonder he doesn't like to freelance.