The occupation of Ottawa by the “Freedom Convoy” has soiled the Canadian flag

A friend in Ottawa was driving downtown the other day when he was passed by a car with two small Canadian flags tied to the roof. He found himself wondering who was behind the wheel: a proud ordinary Canadian? Or a die-hard supporter of the so-called Freedom Convoy?

This is one of the legacies of the occupation of our nation’s capital this winter. Our flag — which has always represented the best Canadian values ​​and achievements — is now associated with the belligerent antics of a hostile group that laid siege to Ottawa with no regard for the rights of residents or the laws of the land.

But not for long.

In just over two weeks, we will be celebrating Canada Day. This is the perfect opportunity for true patriots to reclaim the flag from those who used it to protect their illogical and illegal activities.

True patriots know the truth: Canada consistently ranks among the best countries in the world. It is also one of the freest. Based on political rights and civil liberties, Freedom House recently gave Canada one of its highest rankings – fourth overall and first among G7 countries, including the United States.

In other words, we already have the freedoms this vocal crowd claimed they wanted.

As an immigrant, I have always held the Canadian flag in high esteem. I keep one in my office and make sure it’s visible on my Zoom calls. I treat the flag with care and respect, as it is a small way to express my affection and appreciation for Canada.

The flag does not only serve as an emblem of our country. It is a symbol of who we are and who we aspire to be. In our country and in the world, it represents something: for peace and prosperity; for diversity and inclusion. It represents a respect both for freedom and for the laws that protect it.

We can’t let the aggressive misconduct of a few far-right fanatics change that.

Canadians generally don’t feel obligated to wave the flag and call attention to their love of country. Former prime minister Paul Martin called ours “quiet patriotism.”

But not this year.

Canada Day 2022 calls for a thunderous display of pride and a collective raising of the maple leaf. Let’s take back our flag from those who sullied its reputation and perverted its meaning. Let’s remind the world – and ourselves – what it truly stands for.

Get your flag now. Display it prominently outside your home. Place it in a window. Mount it on your car. Raise it by the lake. Over the next few weeks, we’ll see more and more flags every day – culminating in our nationwide celebration on July 1st.

Together, let us rally under our flag and rejoice in the country we share.

Mohamad Fakih is founder and president of Paramount Fine Foods.

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