Rob Ford attempts ban of rainbow flag at Toronto City Hall: LGBT people ‘irrelevant’ at Olympics

By David Edwards
Friday, February 7, 2014 15:31 EDT
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Rob Ford (CTV/screen grab)
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According to CBCnews, the rainbow flag flying at Toronto City Hall was not removed at Mayor Rob Ford’s request.

Toronto City Manager Joe Pennachetti sent a letter to the mayor and councillors  Friday afternoon pointing out that the city’s protocol officer is the only person who decides what flags fly from the city hall`s “courtesy” pole, which is host to many flags during the year — from autism week to honouring the national days of dozens of countries.

The Canadian flag is always flying on several other poles around city hall.

Pennachetti noted the rainbow flag will remain flying for the duration of the Olympics at the request of the 519 Church Street Community Centre, the heart of Toronto’s LGBT community.


Toronto Mayor Rob Ford on Friday ordered the rainbow flag flying at City Hall to be removed, saying that that the Sochi Olympics were “not about someone’s sexual preference.”

According to CBC, the rainbow flag had been raised outside City Hall to show solidarity with the LGBT community because of Russia’s laws outlawing homosexual “propaganda.”

When reporters asked Ford to confirm reports that he had banned the rainbow flag on Friday, he quipped that he had put a Canadian flag in his office window.

“I’m going to go look at it now,” he said. “This is about Olympics, this is about being patriotic to your country, this is not about someone’s sexual preference.”

“No, I do not agree with putting the rainbow flag up.”

“They put up the flag in opposition to what’s been happening in Russia,” one reporter pointed out.

“Let Russia do what they want, we’re Canadians here,” Ford replied while walking to get a salad for lunch. “I support the Canadian Olympics.”

“And so you don’t think it’s appropriate to support LGBT athletes?” the reporter wondered.

“Not at all,” Ford said.

“Do you support LGBT people?” the reporter pressed.

“That’s irrelevant to the point,” the mayor remarked.

“No, it’s not,” the reporter explained. “That’s why the flag is up.”

“Well, it may be relevant to you, I support the Canadians and I’m a patriotic person toward our country,” Ford insisted.

“Mayor Ford, are you homophobic?” the reporter shouted as Ford disappeared into his office.

Watch the video below from CTV News, broadcast Feb. 7, 2014.

David Edwards
David Edwards
David Edwards has served as an editor at Raw Story since 2006. His work can also be found at Crooks & Liars, and he's also been published at The BRAD BLOG. He came to Raw Story after working as a network manager for the state of North Carolina and as as engineer developing enterprise resource planning software. Follow him on Twitter at @DavidEdwards.
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