Mississippi Mills releases statement on Humboldt flag snub – Mayor McLaughlin edits blog post to address national media attention

April 17, 2018 by
The Arena, one of the sites where citizens lowered the flag is seen in this undated photo form lanark.goaline.ca

The Arena, one of the sites where citizens lowered the flag is seen in this undated photo form lanark.goaline.ca

After intense public backlash over Mississippi Mills’ refusal to lower flags in Almonte to half-staff to honour the survivors and victims of the Humboldt Broncos, the municipality has released a statement on the subject, and Mayor Shaun McLaughlin has edited his original blog saying the national media "is dragging Almonte through the mud."

The statement sent from the Municipality and not from an individual says, “Like Mississippi Mills, Humboldt is a small municipality with strong ties to their community and a loss on this scale is drastically felt. We as a community and municipality want to send our most heartfelt condolences to Humboldt and to all those affected.”

The statement also says that Mississippi Mills has honoured those who lost their lives by putting out hockey sticks and wearing jerseys. It states that a moment of silence will be observed at tonight’s Council Meeting. In response to the passion expressed within the community, staff will be reviewing the current Municipal Flag Policy and making recommendations to include provisions that would take into consideration tragedies such as this one.

It goes on to say that “We as a municipality would like to reiterate how heartbroken we are and pass on our most sincere and heartfelt condolences to the affected communities in Saskatchewan and to all family and friends of those who lost their lives.”

You can read the full statement here: Media Release Humboldt - Apr 16 18

The township has also included a copy of its Flag Policy.

Mississippi Mills has received national attention for the apparent flag snub. Residents in town took it upon themselves to lower the flag at the arena after a request to do so was refused.

Mayor McLaughlin has taken harsh criticism for a blog post he wrote on the request, saying that he as Mayor can’t arbitrarily alter the flag policy.

That blog post has now been edited. In a new post with the same date as the previous post, McLaughlin says one in five messages is supportive of the move not to lower the flag. About the media attention he wrote, “We do not yet know what damage that will have on our reputation and economy. Time will tell.”

He again politicized the initial complaint saying that “the instigators of this campaign are acting for partisan reasons.”

In his initial blog post on the subject before the edited version, McLaughlin accused the Pakenham Ramsay & Almonte Taxpayers' Advocacy Coalition (or PRATAC as it is known) of making the tragedy political.

He called the group the "RATPAC", and said his answer to that one-to-one communication ended up on their website, where he said, one of their pack shifted into hyperbole-overdrive with statements like 'residents are not only embarrassed but outraged.'

Jan Mayden, a member of PRATAC told the CBC she felt the mayor was denigrating the group by calling them "RATPAC."

The "RATPAC" reference has since been removed.

You can read the original post as part by clicking on the headline below.

Almonte residents upset that Mayor refuses to lower flag to honour Humboldt victims

The following is the edited post.

McLaughlin Blog Apr 17



  1. dan milner

    maybe these people should give this a read.. http://canada.pch.gc.ca/eng/1444133232495/ there are rules to be followed. I do not disagree with the lowering of the flag but some rules need to be looked at before hand.

    • Stu Thompson

      Section 16 would provide for the half-masting of the flag in this situation... given that many other cities, towns, etc. across the country lowered their flags, it would appear that either this section of the rule was invoked, or those other places ignored the rules and just did what they felt was the right thing to do.

  2. Mary Anne Harrison

    This from the town of Almonte’s own flag policy.

    Section 6.1.2 of The Flag Policy reads:

    "The Town will fly its flags at half-mast in the event of a death OR TO COMMEMORATE A SOLEMN OCCASION.

    In CONSULTATION WITH THE MAYOR, the CAO or Clerk will provide instruction to lower the flags at the Municipal Office and ALL municipal locations where appropriate"

  3. Nathan Rudyk

    Mary Anne and others have somehow omitted Section 6.2 of the Town of Mississippi Mills' flag policy that follows Section 6.1.2, stating:

    "The Canadian Flag at municipally-owned facilities shall be flown at half-mast
    under the following circumstances and upon the death of the following persons:

    a) The Sovereign or a member of the Royal family related in the first degree
    to the Sovereign (i.e) husband or wife, son or daughter, father, mother,
    brother or sister
    b) Current or former Governor General
    c) Current or former Prime Minister
    d) Current or former Lieutenant-Governor of the Province of Ontario
    e) Current or former Premier of Ontario
    f) Current or former member of the House of Common representing the
    Town of Mississippi Mills
    g) Current or former Member of the Legislative Assembly representing the
    Town of Mississippi Mills
    h) Special events recognized by the Canadian Government that recognize
    the death of a universal major figure(s)"

    The full flag policy is easily interpreted and Lake 88 has helpfully provided it on its site: http://lake88.ca/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/Flag-Policy.pdf

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