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Canada’s flag will be raised on federal buildings ahead of week of commemorations

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The Canadian flag flies at half-mast over the Peace Tower and parliament buildings in Ottawa on Oct. 22, 2021.Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press

The federal government says the national flag at the Peace Tower in Ottawa and all government buildings will be raised Sunday, months after they were lowered to honour former residential school students.

However, the flags will be lowered at sunrise on Nov. 8 for Indigenous Veterans Day and then raised at sunset, and lowered on Nov. 11 for Remembrance Day.

On Nov. 11, flags traditionally are lowered to half-mast at 10:30 a.m. until 11:02 a.m., and then raised to full-mast for the rest of the day.

“Raising the flag at this time will allow us to honour and remember important moments in Canada’s history,” said a statement issued Friday by three federal departments: Canadian Heritage, Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada.

“Many discussions were held between Indigenous partners and the Government of Canada to seek guidance on how best to honour the victims of residential schools and ensure they are never forgotten in the future.”

At the end of May, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the flags would fly at half-mast until further notice to honour the children who died at the former Kamloops residential school, as well as other residential school survivors and families.

Findings of unmarked graves on the grounds of former residential schoolshave touched off commemorations for children who never returned home from the government-funded, church-run institutions.

In future, the departments said the national flag will be half-masted to mark the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation every Sept. 30.

The government also committed to fly the Survivor’s Flag of the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation at a suitable location in the Parliamentary Precinct, with the centre’s permission.

Asked for comment, the press secretary for the office of the national chief of the Assembly of First Nations cited a statement issued earlier Friday on behalf of RoseAnne Archibald, the national chief.

Ms. Archibald said the AFN was in agreement the flag must be raised before Remembrance Day “so that all veterans will be honoured when lowered to half-mast on November 11.”

Speaking for the organization, she also said the federal government should raise the Canadian flag and attach the `Every Child Matters’ orange flag to the Peace Tower and on all federal buildings starting Sunday, and then the lowering of the flags to half mast on Sunday in honour of Indigenous Veterans Day.

The statement also said the ‘Every Child Matters’ orange flag should continue flying until “all of our children are recovered, named, symbolically or physically returned to their homelands with proper ceremony.”

During the election campaign, Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole called for the flag to be raised after Sept. 30, the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, although some Indigenous leaders criticized his proposal.

Mr. O’Toole said, in a social-media posting this week, that lowering the flag to recognize “our tragic history of residential schools was the right thing to do.”

But he said that as Canada approaches Remembrance Day, the flag needs to be raised so the country can honour veterans and “remember the sacrifices of those who fought for our freedoms.”

With a report from The Canadian Press


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