In a decision that has disrupted the community, Merrickville town council has decided against flying the pride flag and declaring June as Pride Month.
The motion by deputy mayor Anne Barr to fly the flag was defeated Monday by a vote of 3-2.
“Which was unfortunate because we’re kind of left wondering the reasons and the values behind the decisions that were made,” Barr told CTV News Ottawa.
Merrickville mayor Michael Cameron voted against flying the flag. He says only the three government flags should fly at town hall in an effort to remain neutral.
“My thought is that, the Canadian flag and the municipal flag and the provincial flag should be the forefront of the building, and to me that represents representation for everyone,” said Cameron.
However, the Ukrainian flag currently flies out front of town hall, a decision Cameron said was made by the previous council.
“Merrickville-Wolford has a flag policy,” said Barr, “and in that flag policy, it says that we will fly third-party flags with the approval of council, of course. And the key phrase here is for matters that are important to the community.”
The issue is important enough that many local businesses display pride-themed “Merrickville” stickers on their storefronts.
A petition is also available at Pickle & Myrth for residents who are interested in signing.
“We have 130 signatures so far from concerned businesses, residents, and supporters that would love to see this in our community,” said storeowner Erin Kergen.
“So far, we aren’t hearing anyone that says they don’t want to have this flag flown. So I’m not really sure who these three are representing in the village of Merrickville-Wolford.”
Cameron says the town is currently undergoing a review, which includes the flag policy. He says he would celebrate the pride flag if it were to be flown.
“My son is married to a man whom I love, and who I support and support that decision 100 per cent,” says the mayor.
Kergen is worried the message that not flying the flag sends could harm the attraction to Merrickville’s tourist-centric downtown.
“This is a historic village, but our viewpoint is not historic.”
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