MAC'S MUSINGS: Maple Leaf should not have been replaced with the Pride Flag

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Claude McIntosh

It is somewhat amazing that so many members of city council voted with so little thought to haul down the Canadian flag from one of the most prominent showcases for national pride in the city and replace it with the Rainbow gay pride flag, in this case in Lamoureux Park at the foot of Pitt Street next to the Clock Tower.

I have no problem with the Rainbow flag flying on a city flag pole. Not at all.

But I do have a problem with it replacing the Canadian flag, even for a short period; in this case for the duration of the Winter Olympic Games in that failed socialist experiment called Russia.

The Rainbow flag flapping in the wind in Canadian cities across Canada is to protest an anti-gay push by Russia's de facto czar, Vlady Putin, the macho, shrewd former KGB boss.

Some protest! It is having zero effect on Russia. Has anybody heard it mentioned in the hundreds of hours of Olympic Games coverage from Russia? And for most of Canada, it has been greated with a huge collective yawn.

And why just Russia?

When stacked up against how gays are treated in some other parts of the world, or in the old Soviet Union, the "new" Russia is fairly tolerant.

There are many countries, particularly in the Middle East and North Korea, where gays are hunted down, imprisoned and sometimes lose their heads. The lucky ones get off with a few dozen strokes of the lash.

A couple of the same councillors who pushed for the protesst Rainbow flag to replace the Maple Leaf railed against "Support Our Troops" decals on city police cars. They fretted that it would indicate that the city supported the war in Afghanistan, which they opposed. Yet this is a war against a ruthless evil force that wants to enslave a nation and has zero tolerance for gays and basic women's rights.

And what about other civil rights violations. It's not only gay folk who are being persecuted around the world. Christians are an endangered species in some places. Has anybody around the council table thought about raising a Christian symbol to the top of the Lamoureux Park flag pole to protest this injustice?

Fact is, if council's knee-jerk logic was followed, some sort of protest flag could replace the Maple Leaf on the Lamoureux Park flag pole every day of the week.

There should be one clear message: Protest fine, but keep your hands off the Canadian flag.

ROUND'N'BOUT At a time when thousands of low-income families are trying to keep their heads above water, the federal Liberals are shamelessly defending the $72,000 it cost taxpayers to move a retired army general a couple of blocks in Ottawa. The retired general, Andrew Leslie, will be a star candidate for the Liberals in the next federal election, thus the Grits interest in massaging the Leslie brand. His riding will be in the new neighbourhood, which might be the reason for the move at taxpayers' expense. Military veterans are eligible for moving expenses when they retire, but the plan was never intended for a two-block relocation. ... Former city councillor and 2010 mayoral candidate Mark McDonald is a step closer to challenging Mayor Bob Kilger in the October sweepstakes. He has picked up his nomination papers but hasn't filed. The mayor is expected to file his papers in May.

TRIVIA This world-famous gospel singer whose signature song was 'How Great Thou Art' was born in Winchester, Ont., the son of a Methodist minister.

TRIVIA ANSWER T.R. Leger Education Centre was named after Rosaire Leger, former SD and G public school director of education. He grew up in Lancaster.

HERE & THERE During my time at the S-F one the many enjoyable calls came from Jack Fry, the retired administrator of Hotel Dieu Hospital. Jack was the quintessential gentleman and a great conversationalist. He passed away recently at age 90. ... One of my regrets is not learning to speak French as a youngster. Of course, in those days English-speaking kids were "encouraged" not to learn French. ... The soon-to-be-demolished high level bridge would make a dandy toboggan slide.

SEEN & HEARD The provincial Liberals were said to be courting city councillor Bernadette Clement to run as their Stormont-Dundas-South Glengarry candidate in the next provincial election. She is a good friend of Prem Kathy but there isn't much chance that she will take the bait. A Liberal candidate up against incumbent Jim McDonell has less chance of winning the riding than Annabelle the Wonder Horse had of winning the Kentucky Derby. ... You have to wonder why we have fewer students and more school boards (four) with each board spending tax dollars trying to attract a shrinking pool of students.

SPORTS STUFF They are experts at keeping air traffic flowing in a safe and orderly fashion but when it comes to keeping traffic from the front of a hockey net, things might be a little less orderly. That may be the case in Cornwall March 4-7 when the 41st International Air Traffic Controllers Hockey Tournament is played out in Cornwall. The tournament will attract teams from North America, Europe and Russia. Last year the tournament was played in Cleveland, next year Slovenia will be the host country. It's classified as a "fun" tournament. ... How time flies: Ted Lindsay, 88; Jean Beliveau, 82; Bobby Hull, 75; Phil Esposito, 72. ... Kudos to members of the Cornwall Curling Centre senior division who take the time to introduce senior elementary and high school students to the game with on-ice instruction at the centre. ... Team Canada forward Natalie Spooner is the sister of Doug Spooner, a former Cornwall Colt.

IN THE REAR-VIEW MIRROR The Coca-Cola plant on Amelia Street and the noses of kids travelling to or from Central Park pressed against the plate glass window to watch an endless line of glass bottles being filled and capped as they passed along on the conveyer. ... Cashing in a cache of glass soft drink bottles at the corner store for a bottle of Kikk Cola or a bag of 'black babies'. ... The Jock Dalbec Sporting Goods store at 143 Montreal Road, one of several locations it had over the years. ... Jimmy Freeman's variety store at 16 First St. E. ... The A&P store on Pitt Street next door to Smith Hardware. ... When there seemed to be a family operated corner store in every neighbourhood, sometimes two. They have gone the way of butcher shop and the 10-cent glass of draft beer. ... Jean MacMillan recalls the large field at Bedford and Third streets (site of Memorial Park school) which had a huge garden with a shack that was occupied by a man. ... And the red box at the corner in which horse buns were deposited by a man who cleaned the streets each morning. These were the days when bread, milk and ice were delivered by wagons pulled by horses. The box wasn't used in the winter. Sometimes the frozen horse buns became improvised pucks used by kids playing street hockey.

Organizations: Hotel Dieu Hospital, Stormont-Dundas-South Glengarry, Cornwall Curling Centre THE REAR-VIEW MIRROR The Coca-Cola

Geographic location: Russia, Maple Leaf, Lamoureux Park Canada Pitt Street Soviet Union Middle East North Korea Afghanistan Ottawa Cornwall Winchester Lancaster.HERE THERE North America Europe Cleveland Slovenia Amelia Street Central Park 143 Montreal Road Memorial Park

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