The City of Calgary quietly lowered and replaced a “Bell Let’s Talk” flag after locals expressed outrage over it flying in front of a national war memorial in place of the traditional Canadian flag.
On Wednesday morning, a Reddit post sparked controversy after the corporate flag was photographed flying beside the cenotaph at Central Memorial Park.
“I can’t think of a more inappropriate flag to swap out in support of a corporate campaign. I can appreciate the importance of talking about mental health, but this is the only flagpole at the Cenotaph and it doesn’t feel right to me,” wrote Reddit user HamRove.
Media spokesperson for the City of Calgary Kaila Lagran confirmed to True North that the flag had been flying temporarily at the cenotaph prior to being removed.
“The City of Calgary continues to believe that it is important to acknowledge and promote discussions around mental health awareness and supports the annual Bell Let’s Talk initiative. While this temporary flag raising was well-intentioned, we understand that it was misguided to take down the Canadian flag at Central Memorial Park,” claimed an emailed statement attributed to the City of Calgary.
“As a result, we have returned the Canadian flag at Central Memorial Park and we will raise the Bell Let’s Talk flag tomorrow at Olympic Plaza while maintaining the Canadian and provincial flags at that location.”
Other locals on Twitter also pointed out the insensitivity of flying the Bell flag instead of the national flag at a memorial meant to honour fallen soldiers.
The corporate flag, which has been raised for past ceremonies at the memorial is part of Bell’s Let’s Talk mental health initiative.
According to a news release by Bell Canada, the flag was set to be raised at a ceremony to commemorate Bell Let’s Talk Day on January 28th.
“Communities and organizations around the country are showing their support for mental health with Bell Let’s Talk flag raisings, following earlier ceremonies by the Borough of Verdun and the Douglas Foundation in Montréal, RMC Kingston, the Service de police de la Ville de St-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Central Memorial Park in Calgary, the Hamilton Bulldogs, the Ottawa Senators and the City of Timmins,” wrote Bell Canada.
A number of other posts also indicate that the flag was replaced sometime on Wednesday morning or afternoon.