Conservative leader Erin O’Toole says flags at government buildings should be restored to full-mast, asserting that committing to reconciliation need not come at the expense of celebrating Canada.
Canadian flags have been at half-mast nation-wide for nearly three months after Justin Trudeau ordered them lowered following the announcement of unmarked graves at a former residential school near Kamloops, BC.
At a press conference Thursday afternoon in Ottawa, O’Toole said he is committed to Indigenous reconciliation, but added the time has come to raise the Canadian flag.
“I do think we should be proud to put our flag back up,” O’Toole said.
“It’s not a time to tear down Canada. It’s a time to recommit to build it to be the country we know it can be. Reconciliation is very important and should be important to all Canadians. I think to recommit to Canada, you have to be proud of Canada. You can’t cancel the one day a year that you commit to your country. You need to use that day to recommit to the path of reconciliation.”
The Government of Canada has a standing half-mast order for flags at all government buildings in Canada, including the Peace Tower on Parliament Hill, to mark “discovery of remains at the former Kamloops Indian Residential School.”
The order is in effect “until further notice.”
The flags were initially lowered May 30, and remained at half-mast on Canada Day July 1.