Flag Etiquette

"World Cup Flags" Haiku

Car window flags plus
Ignorant soccer fans
Poor flag ettiquette
I'll admit I'm not much of a soccer (football) fan. It involves lots of running (which I'm OBVIOUSLY not into) and is largely a scoreless game. In fact, I'm not much into sports on a whole. I do enjoy watching football (live or televised, NFL or CFL) and hockey (as long as I'm actually THERE), but I don't schedule my life around it nor do I make it a priority.

But I do understand the passion many fans have for their teams. Sometimes to an extreme, like football fans in December painting letters on their torso while attending an outdoor game. So when it comes a competition like World Cup soccer the emotions are even higher. Not only are they excited about their team, but now their national pride is on the line too.

Let's face it, the World Cup is truly a global event, with so many countries competing and watching. It's understandable that World Cup is a big deal to many Canadians since we are a very multicultural society. People are changing their lives so they can watch their favourite games. The city has changed the liqour laws to accommodate fans. I've seen many people take time off work, come in early, & stay late so they can watch a game. My wife, who works in child care, sees entire families wearing the jersey of their favourite team and/or country of origin/heritage. Look around any parking lot these days and you would think we are being invaded by foreign dignitaries. What with all the flags on peoples cars.

But here is my problem, there is a proper etiquette when it comes to flying flags in Canada. In fact, many countries make flag etiquette a law. The basic rules are that if you want to fly the flag of another country you must also fly the flag of the country you are in and fly it in a position of honour (highest or on the left).

It's a simple thing to do & most Canadians are proud to fly their flag. I know this because every Canada Day I see the Canadian car flags all over the place. So what does it take to pull it out a little early? Or buy one from the guy selling them out of the back of his van at the side of the road or in the parking lot? Especially when we've already spent so much on jerseys, parties, drinks, and even time off from work.

Now this is just etiquette. There is no flag law in Canada. Even in the U.S., where flag etiquette IS the law, there is no penalty for failure to comply with it. Demanding or forcing people to abide by it would be both silly and unconstitutional (violating the right to free speech). But it really just boils down to a matter of respect that requires a bare minimum of effort and cost.

So family, friends, & soccer fans,
If you're flying the flag of another country please also fly the Canadian flag.
Because, let's face it, being polite is the Canadian thing to do!


Debbie said...

there are many people who do not know that it is a law. (and one reason why we dont have a canadian flag flying here is that we dont have space for 2

Mark Regis said...

you can't even buy a canadian car flag at this point... they aren't in the world cup, so they aren't in stock.

Rye Guy said...

Well I've seen a couple cars driving around with a Canadian flag as well (I feel like stopping their car and shaking their hand). So I guess somebody is selling them. Otherwise they just pulled out the ones they bought previously.