Canadian fathers son dead: asked for lowered-flags


Jersay
#1
Just two weeks ago, Lincoln Dinning wrote Prime Minister Stephen Harper asking that federal flags be flown at half-mast in the event of future combat deaths.

That bit of civic lobbying became cruelly prescient - and emotional grist for a growing debate - when the Wingham, Ont., policeman's son, Cpl. Matt Dinning, became one of four Canadian soldiers killed by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan on the weekend.

In the aftermath, the Conservative government has invoked a return to military protocol and refused to lower the Maple Leaf on Parliament Hill.

"Mr. Dinning had written a letter to the prime minister on April 7 asking that when we did lose a soldier representing Canada, that the flag be lowered to half-mast," MP Robert Thibault, the Liberal veterans affairs critic, said outside the Commons on Monday.

"Since then, Mr. Dinning's son was lost. We are bringing that to the attention of Parliament and our party will be putting a motion before the House to honour Mr. Dinning's request."

The flag decision is just part of a government effort to lower the temperature on official mourning as Afghan casualties climb.

For the first time since the Afghan mission began, media will not be permitted into Canadian Forces Base Trenton, Ont., on Tuesday when the remains of Cpl. Dinning, Bombardier Myles Mansell, Cpl. Randy Payne and Lieut. William Turner are returned to Canadian soil.

That mirrors a U.S. policy that has barred any pictures of the caskets of returning American war dead since the beginning of the Iraq war.

The flag protocol is proving to be a political embarrassment for Harper's government as other jurisdictions, including the Alberta legislature, Toronto City Hall and federal post offices in Edmonton, lowered the Maple Leaf on Monday to honour local war dead.

The Ontario legislature had a moment of silence Monday, something the House of Commons did not do.

Thibault called Lincoln Dinning's quiet campaign "amazing."

"He had talked to Heritage Canada to say 'why aren't we doing this to honour our people?' How could he have ever thought that it would be his son some day?"

The Conservatives have decided to drop the ad hoc Peace Tower practice, begun by the previous Liberal government with the first Afghan deaths in 2002.

Flags are lowered, however, at the soldier's operational base, home bases and at National Defence Headquarters in Ottawa, in accordance with long-standing military protocol. They'll remain lowered until the funerals.

But some MPs argued Monday the government is being cold.

Liberal Borys Wrzesnewskyj, a Toronto MP, accused the Tories of "callous intransigence."

New Democrat Dawn Black told reporters that when a protocol calls for the Peace Tower flag to be lowered for the deaths of Senators and former cabinet ministers, "it seems rather bizarre to me that you wouldn't show that mark of respect and mourning to the loss of lives of young men who put themselves in harm's way at the behest of the Canadian government."

Yet some soldiers and military analysts argue that Canada may be the only country in the world that's lowered all national flags for military casualties. They say the signal of national loss is not appropriate for combat deaths.

The Canadian Legion issued a release Monday giving qualified support to the government's flag decision.

It said the intermittent practice to date has been "discriminatory."

"It is the organization's belief that if the flags on all government buildings, including the Peace Tower, are to be lowered to half-mast for one military person who has died on active duty then it must be done for all who have died on active duty."

The Conservatives insist it be done for no soldiers.

MP Jason Kenney, Harper's parliamentary secretary, said the emphasis should be on Nov. 11 when all Canada's war dead are honoured.

"We should do it like Canadians used to," Kenney said outside the Commons.

"Every car and bus and every shopping mall should come to a halt on Remembrance Day on the 11th of November. Maybe this will remind people to do that."

"It's too easy to play politics with the flag," added the Calgary MP. "This should be a national commemoration that every Canadian remembers
http://start.shaw.ca/start/enCA/News...c=n042491A.xml

And I just found out it was the cons who asked for the lowering of the flags when the submarine caught fire and the guy was killed. A conservative policy and a flip-flop. What kind of shit is the conservatives doing here.

Just political fallout coverage.
 
FiveParadox
Liberal
#2
Language, Jersay ... be good. :P

In terms of the Government of Canada deciding not to lower the National Flag throughout the country for the loss of members of the Canadian Forces , I think that the Government (and in particular, the Department of Canadian Heritage ) should keep in mind that conventions have tended to evolve in Canada over time, and this issue seems, to me, to be no different.

I would suggest that the practice initiated by the previous Government of Canada has come to be expected by the population of the country in terms of a method for mourning the loss of these honoured persons; I would suggest that perhaps the Government should consult the opposition, and members of the Forces, to determine a way in which this issue can be concluded with the advice and support of everyone concerned.

Perhaps, for example, the National Flag on the Peace Tower could be the only one lowered (on the part of the Parliament of Canada ); this would show that all of Canada recognizes and mourns the loss, yet the other flags, at full-mast across the rest of the country (except for those mentioned above which have continued to be lowered today) would represent that Canada intends to continue to move on with a strong resolve.
 
Colpy
Conservative
#3
And so, if this thing tiurns into a real fight, should Canada symbolically go around withher head hanging permanently?

We lost 44,000 people in World War Two. That is about 20 persons a DAY, from the begining of the war until its end. Should the flag have dragged through the entire process?

No.

I say fly it high and proud.

Let us not be cowed, let the flag flying at full mast be a symbol of our determination not to be turned from the correct path, show no hesitation, show no sign that the enemy has hurt us.

Carry on.

And, I certainly don't feel that is any insult, or any loss of honour to the dead soldiers.
 
#juan
No Party Affiliation
#4
During the VietNam war, Americans were losing three to five hundred soldiers a month. Can you see the idiocy of lowering the flags for each and every soldier killed? Canada won't lose that many but we could lose five or ten a week. Leave the lowering of flags to the home towns of the soldiers killed.
 
Curiosity
#5
Juan

During VietNam, flag positions at funerals were the least of the families' worries as I understand it from what I have read down here.

Returning vets were careful not to let people know or they would be insulted and worse - and there were few military services at funerals unless they were high ranking and had few choices as to the protocol.

We are desperately trying to keep a high level of regard here for those who are in Iraq and Afganistan as well as in other posts around the world. We do not wish another reactive "group thugging" such as people did to the Vietnam Vets - ever.

Sounds as if you think protocol is too much trouble for your service people. I am surprised. I thought you would be more concerned the "right thing" was done for the families who have to bear loss and uncaring remarks.
 
elevennevele
#6
Personally I feel the removal of the policy to fly the flag at half mast is due to the shift in the amount of causalities we will continue to have.

I agree that having a flag at half mast all the time would symbolically weaken the image of the country. Again itís a policy change, because they expect many more causalities to come. The conservatives did ask for the flag to be lowered for the naval officer in 2004 so itís hypocritical to attack others for feeling value in lowering the flag for a fallen Canadian soldier.

We were able afford such lowering of the flag as a way of honoring during a time when our country is in a relative state of peace.

HOWEVER, changing this policy in conjunction with hiding returning military coffins from the media is simply disgusting.

http://ca.news.yahoo.com/s/25042006/...s-caskets.html

That makes us into a nation of cowards. Are we not strong enough and noble enough to recognize the return those who sacrificed? The families will have their private mourning. This tactic simply makes the loss of life more invisible and the consequence of the war more invisible.

How can Canada be behind a war if the Prime Minister shelters us from the reality of it? From the truth? It dishonors Canada to mute such sacrifices. To put the nation at war with a level of secrecy toward the general aspects of it.

That is playing politics with the troops and a war and being a coward at that.
 
Curiosity
#7
I would say the confusion re the proper protocol and the symbolism of the flag in ceremonial events for the miliitary.... is only symbolic of the confusion of the government people at the present time.

Perhaps your highly-paid officials can make some sense of it - with respect and good feelings for all concerned.

It seems to have to do with everyone "trying to please" eveyrone else that you are not at war (when you are) and your military are not dying (they are) and the people did not sign on to engage in anything more than peacekeeping duties (which often turn into military engagement and battle where injuries and death occur).

Shouldn't be too hard. Consistency might be a good keyword to observe and then stick to it. Might reconsider what "peacekeeping" actually means. These days I doubt it has meaning at all.

Bless all the forces in hostile lands .... be safe, be vigilant and know your people are behind you.
 
#juan
No Party Affiliation
#8
Quote:

We are desperately trying to keep a high level of regard here for those who are in Iraq and Afganistan as well as in other posts around the world. We do not wish another reactive "group thugging" such as people did to the Vietnam Vets - ever.

Sounds as if you think protocol is too much trouble for your service people. I am surprised. I thought you would be more concerned the "right thing" was done for the families who have to bear loss and uncaring remarks.

"We", do not have to "desparately try" to keep a high level of regard for anyone. I worry about both our troops in either of those two illegal actions.

The "protocol", if you bothered to look it up, is not to have the national flags in Ottawa dropped to half mast for soldiers killed in war. The "right thing", is to respect the surviving family members and send our condolences.

These of course, are my personal opinions, and nothing else.
 
Jersay
#9
The family wants the flag down, and that is what matters. You can do all you want and send all your condolences that you can hand out, but if it looks as if your own parliment doesn't care about you then don't do it.

And I propose another idea then, when an unelected senator or another politician dies, why not keep the flag at full mast then scrap the whole idea of lowering the flag at all. Then no-one will be more important than the other.
 
Curiosity
#10
Quote: Originally Posted by #juan

Quote:

We are desperately trying to keep a high level of regard here for those who are in Iraq and Afganistan as well as in other posts around the world. We do not wish another reactive "group thugging" such as people did to the Vietnam Vets - ever.

Sounds as if you think protocol is too much trouble for your service people. I am surprised. I thought you would be more concerned the "right thing" was done for the families who have to bear loss and uncaring remarks.

"We", do not have to "desparately try" to keep a high level of regard for anyone. I worry about both our troops in either of those two illegal actions.

The "protocol", if you bothered to look it up, is not to have the national flags in Ottawa dropped to half mast for soldiers killed in war. The "right thing", is to respect the surviving family members and send our condolences.

These of course, are my personal opinions, and nothing else.

Juan

On April 23 I wrote this post - it is in the first notice on this forum of the 4 Soldiers Killed:

Quote:

April 23rd, 2006 5:15 pm ::
Re: Breaking News:4 Canadian Soldiers Killed in Afghanistan

Mogz

Thank you - I was reading about that yesterday in the Canadian Military Protocol and the Flag Observances.

I started in because I wasn't certain if Canada defines "mast" and "staff" when discussing flags. Mast has always meant sea and staff meaning on land.... never did find my answer because I think Canadians use "mast" for everything.

Lots of things people don't pay much attention to - I still get stuck saying "21 gun salute" when most services fire off 7 guns 3 times.

Lots to learn.... Confused WC

The "we" I refer to in the post you object to is the American public - and they are trying desperately to keep the military morale up in spite of what the media are trying to do in bringing down the current administration. The spitting and insults and "group thugging" did go on as I have since learned from people who lived through it. There are many Vets who will share their hurt about the reception they received when returning home.

Your advice to me to read the protocols and your assumption I did not was incorrect. "If you cared to look it up .... " was already done because I tried to find out the answer re the half-mast/staff
flags at individual military funerals. I didn't know the Canadian rules.

The "right thing" is of course respecting the family members, and further, not to politicize their grief.

Personally I think there are great discussions to be had regarding military matters and what Canadians really want from their military - but the threads here all seem to be concerned with the burial of the slain men - which I felt should be kept as such.

I can't apologize for your dislike of my flowery writing Juan - I don't plan on changing soon as I find the words express my feelings.

I can apologize however for irritating you so much. WC
 

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