Mayor Al McDonald says, in his personal opinion, the Canadian flag is seen in a different light due to the freedom convoys of this past winter.
"It's unfortunate," that the flag's meaning "has been blurred through those protests," says McDonald while clarifying that he respects the rights of citizens to peacefully gather and protest.
See related: Maple Leaf flies at protests, the flag is a collective symbol with individual meaning
"Absolutely, I'm concerned about the perception of the flag through those protests — and hopefully, the general public recaptures that flag," as a source of pride, he adds, Monday, from North Bay City Hall.
See also: Small group at Honk City Hall anti-mandate protest
Whether flown as symbols of the convoys that protested mandates related to the COVID-19 pandemic in various Canadian border locations and the nation's capital or flown upside down as a statement of political unrest, the Mayor acknowledges there are now multiple meanings behind flying the red maple leaf.
"Is it because of a protest or is it patriotic?" McDonald laments.
See also: Politics of convoy protests 'here to stay,' as are movement's leaders, say experts
And: $306M Freedom Convoy lawsuit names Sudbury election candidate
McDonald maintains, "The flag should never be used in a political way. It's a symbol and we all stand when the national anthem is played, it's something we take great pride in."