Michael Mitchell must have been stunned to receive a notice from his condo board demanding that he remove a supposedly unsightly object from the front of his Ottawa home — especially when that offensive object was none other than… A Canadian flag?!
Yes, the Maple Leaf was flapping just above Mr Mitchell's garage. So, does one salute, or call 1-800 GOT JUNK?
Apparently, it is the latter, according to Ottawa-based AXIA Property Management, because flying a flag at this condo has run afoul of their precious condo rules.
How awful is that?
But it gets worse. Michael Mitchell is a Major in the Royal Canadian Air Force. He's served all over Canada and had an 8-month tour of duty in Afghanistan. His father and grandfather were also military men. The irony is both perverse and profound. Major Mitchell can put his life on the line defending our country while toiling under this flag, but AXIA Property Management would prefer it if he wouldn't fly this flag on their property.
Again, how weird is that?
The saga began last Dominion Day when Major Mitchell decided to show his patriotism by affixing a flagpole to his property in order to display his Canadian flag. It remained there for eight months!
But according to media reports, the condo management company received a complaint that the flag was in violation of the rules. Yes, someone for whatever reason was offended, or triggered, or perturbed, or even slighted by the sight of the Maple Leaf flapping in the wind.
And as for the condo board, well, they must uphold the complaint because it's right there in the Rule Book:
“No structure or appearance shall be erected on or fastened to any unit.”
So, in other words, it wasn't so much the flag but the flagpole that was running afoul of AXIA's sacred condo rules. Just one hitch, though: how does one respectfully display a nation's flag without the use of a flagpole?
As for Major Mitchell, he says he feels "sad" that he can't put a flag up on the front of his house. It is sad that someone would complain about the Canadian flag and it is nothing short of tragic that a management company would uphold that complaint. We are talking about the flag of our great nation; it is a symbol of what our nation stands for. It is not a pirate flag or a flag depicting the likeness of Mickey Mouse. It is the Canadian flag!
Major Mitchell, like the military man he is, is not retreating though. He's open to a compromise and hopes such a compromise can be reached; but in the meantime, the flag is staying put. He had this to say to CTV:
“I'm not going to back down from this. I'm going to fight this to the very end.”
Besides, there seems to be some glaring inconsistency in terms of how AXIA enforces its rules.
Major Mitchell notes how he and his wife took a walk around the condo community and noticed there were approximately 30 other houses with stuff attached to the front of their houses.
We reached out to the property management company. But we suspect that hundreds if not thousands of Canadians have done so, too. For when we called, we received an automated recording noting that the number was temporarily unavailable and no email address is listed on their website.
In any event, we think this is an outrage. And AXIA can run, but they cannot hide. Which is why we've started this petition. Please sign it to let AXIA know that the Canadian flag is more than a mere piece of fabric; it is something that Canadians have died under in numerous conflicts around the globe in order to protect the rights and freedoms that individuals and even corporations like AXIA enjoy today. Is it too much that a military man with more than 25 years of service under his belt display a Canadian flag from his own home? We don't think so; we doubt you think so, either.
Even if it means driving to Ottawa to present this to the people who are ducking and covering at AXIA right now, we shall do so.
Sign the petition!
We, the undersigned, demand that AXIA Property Management allow their residents the right to fly a Canadian flag on their property.