Canadian flags expected to be raised, re-lowered

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OTTAWA —
The federal government is expected to announce on Friday that it will raise, and re-lower Canadian flags on federal buildings and on the Peace Tower, for Remembrance Day.

Government sources have confirmed to CTV News that the government intends to maintain the tradition of lowering the flags on federal buildings on Nov. 11.

In order to lower them, they will have to temporarily be re-raised, after being lowered to half-mast in late May following the first discoveries of unmarked graves at a former residential school site in Kamloops, B.C.

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In the months that have followed the discovery of what is believed to be the remains of 215 children, discoveries of unmarked graves at other former residential school sites have continued. The government’s position leading up to Remembrance Day has been that until further notice, the flags would remain at half-mast in honour of the victims and survivors of the Canadian residential school system.

It is possible that more will also be said on Friday about what will happen with the flags after Remembrance Day.

On Tuesday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said his government has been talking to Indigenous communities across the country about how to raise the flags ahead of the nation-wide ceremonies.

“There is an understanding of how important it is to be able to lower the flags on Remembrance Day to mark our veterans, to mark people, including Indigenous peoples, who’ve stepped up to fight for Canadian values and paid the ultimate sacrifice,” Trudeau told reporters during a press conference from the COP26 Summit in Glasgow.

“I’m confident that the conversations with Indigenous leadership on making sure we are able to lower the flags once again on Nov. 11 will come at the right solution,” Trudeau said.

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Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole has been calling for the flags to be raised ahead of Remembrance Day, and after that “return to normal protocols.”

“This is the most important national symbol… It brings us together here at home, it’s respected around the world and there’s normally protocols,” said O’Toole in an interview on Thursday morning with CP24.

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“We’ve had days where police officers who die in the line of duty are normally honoured, that can’t be done, because we’ve been in this prolonged period that is quite unprecedented. So I think that symbolism is important, but concrete action on reconciliation is more important and I think we need to return to normal with the flag as soon as possible, and recommit to the calls to action that will actually show Indigenous peoples that we’re committed to the long-term well being of all Canadians.”

With files from CTV Ottawa Bureau Chief Joyce Napier and Mackenzie Grey

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