Opposition councillors snubbed during flag-raising ceremony
By Robert Frank
The city moved briskly last week to hoist the rainbow flag at city hall, where it will remain throughout the Sochi Olympics. The gesture coincided with a call by opposition councillors to follow St. John’s, Newfoundland’s initiative to show solidarity with gays and lesbians in Russia.
“People should be judged on their merit and not by their sexual orientation,” Action Laval Councillor Aglaia Revelakis told The Suburban in an interview.
“It was our idea,” said Chomedey’s city councillor. “We proposed that the city raise the rainbow flag. The mayor accepted, which was good for the cause.”
“Long ago, even in the midst of war, they would stop fighting and compete in the Olympics in peace and harmony. The whole idea of the Olympics is for all countries to get together peacefully to compete at sport.”
“St. John’s, Montreal and Quebec city have already made the decision to do this,” noted Action Laval’s other elected official at city hall, Paolo Galati in a statement, Feb. 6. “It sent a powerful message which conveyed our opposition to all forms of discrimination.”
Revelakis expressed disappointment that Mayor Marc Demers didn’t join with Laval opposition councillors in the same spirit of solidarity. The mayor appeared to claim sole credit for the move, making no reference to the opposition councillors in a statement that he issued, late Friday afternoon, denouncing the “persecution” of the gay community in various places around the world.
“The city decided to join in this show of solidarity the moment that we learned of it,” Mayor Demers spokesman François Brochu told The Suburban. “We’re pleased that the opposition [councillors] support us.”
Though Revelakis and Galati were pleased that the city adopted the measure, they were disappointed not to have been invited to the Feb. 7 flag-raising ceremony.
“The flag went up Friday morning, and I only found out about it when I arrived at city hall and saw it, later that day,” Revelakis complained. “Paolo Galati and I would have very much liked to have attended.”
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