'I'm appalled': Winnipeg City Councillor criticized for flag raising comments
WINNIPEG -- The Kosovo flag is now flying proudly above Winnipeg City Hall to commemorate the anniversary of the country's independence.
"It was absolutely great," said Albiana Bugujebci, the Vice President of the Albanian-Canadian Community of Manitoba. "It's great to see a nice turnout."
However, not everyone who turned out was happy to see the flag raising. A group from Winnipeg's Serbian-Canadian community came out to protest the ceremony.
"Nobody asked us what we think," said Djan Mijouic. "I think this is a bad decision, and the city didn't consider the Serbian community that's been here for the last 50 years."
The concerns were first raised last week. Coun. Shawn Nason appeared with representatives from the Serbian community to say he didn't want the flag raising to happen.
A decision sharply criticised Wednesday by fellow Coun. Matt Allard.
"I have to say, I'm appalled by Coun. Nason's comments prior to this flag raising."
Allard said this should have been a day of celebration and unity, but was instead turned into a day of division.
"The most vile type of politics to get into," said Allard. "To get into really riling up past and sometimes present ethnic tensions."
Nason said it's actually the opposite. He's been trying to prevent tensions.
"One group is upset over another group’s flag," said Nason. "These are much larger than the City of Winnipeg, and these are issues we shouldn't get into.”
Nason said in his opinion, it would be best for the city to move past ceremonial flag raisings. He said this latest one "has damaged our Serbian-Canadian relationship with the city."
Sociologist Mara Fridell from the University of Manitoba said it's not surprising tensions from other countries may play out in here in Canada. However, she said we have to keep changing as our populations change.
"But to do that, we have to be able to talk well together. To be able to listen well together."