Tuesday, June 19, 2007 Ottawa Citizen
Despite complaints the move is an insult to Canadian soldiers, Toronto's mayor is backing plans to remove "Support our Troops" decals from fire trucks and ambulances, saying they could be construed as a city endorsement of the war in Afghanistan.
Mayor David Miller said Tuesday the decals will be removed beginning in September, a year after they were first added to the back of about 170 fire trucks and 175 ambulances.
"The program was always scheduled to last for a year," said Miller. "It will be wrapped up this fall."
But Katherine Hodgson-McMahon, executive director of the Toronto Military Family Resource Centre, called the decision "a bit of a slap in the face," for the families of Canadian soldiers.
Miller said the ribbons were controversial as the city had "received a number of calls from people who were concerned about the city expressing an opinion on the war."
Hodgson-McMahon said the ribbons are an important symbol to people with family members serving in Afghanistan.
"You can support the troops without supporting the mission," she said. "It is all about bringing your soldiers home safely. Family members tell me that when they are driving on the road and see a yellow ribbon, they say yay, someone believes in my kid.'"
Frances Nunziata, a Toronto councillor, has asked council to vote as early as Wednesday to keep the decals until the end of Canada's deployment to Afghanistan. "Leave the ribbons on. I think it's the worst thing our city has ever done," she said.
If Nunziata's motion wins the two-thirds vote necessary to make it to the council floor, it could drag Canada's largest city into a debate on the war.
There are no officially approved decals of any kind on fire vehicles in Vancouver or Calgary.
Halifax, has approved an official diversity logo and one supporting muscular dystrophy research, which are affixed to its fire trucks.
Ottawa, however, has yellow "Support Our Troops" ribbons on the back of its fire trucks. The decals were slapped on last year and have remained on Ottawa fire vehicles without complaint, city spokesman Barre Campbell said.
Bob Butt, a spokesman for the Royal Canadian Legion, said it is up to a municipality to decide what to put on its vehicles. "It's their decision."
Note: The Toronto Fire department has supported our troops overseas. Recently, they donated $3000 in Tim Hortons Gift Certificates to our troops. A big HUA for Toronto's fire department!
Let your voice be heard. Send your opinion regarding removal of "Support Our Troops" to the mayor of Toronto:
By E-mail: mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org
Mayor David Miller, Toronto City Hall,
100 Queen St. West,
Toronto ON M5H 2N2