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
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.