South Dundas recognizes Pride Month

The Progress Pride flag flies at the South Dundas Municipal Centre in Morrisburg. South Dundas council voted on the action Monday night. (The Leader/Blancher photo)

MORRISBURG – The Municipality of South Dundas is formally recognizing Pride Month. The move by council happened just over a week after the official unveiling of a Rainbow Pride flag painted crosswalk in Iroquois.

“In the past, the municipality has not formally recognized Pride Month, nor has the Pride flag been raised at any municipal buildings,” chief administrative officer Tim Mills explained at the June 19 South Dundas council meeting. “We have a responsibility to do much more community engagement, not just related to pride.”

Speaking to his recommendation to formally proclaim June as Pride Month, Mills said this year is different than previous in the recognition of Pride Month.

“There is definitely a rise in online comments, hate, and attempts to push back towards the progress we have made as communities,” he said, adding that was evident when he attended the crosswalk unveiling in front of Seaway District High School on June 9.

“It had already been defaced,” Mills said. “And there was a visible case of hate that took place while all of us were standing there.”

The crosswalk was painted across Beach Street in front of the school on June 3 and less than 48 hours later multiple rubber tire marks had purposely been left on the painted surface. Police have not laid any charges in relation to the vandalism.

In recommending the move to proclaim June Pride Month, the CAO continued that municipal administration is committed to outreach and staff training for diversity, equity, and inclusion.

“I truly believe in diversity, inclusion, and equity, and also accessibility,” Mayor Jason Broad said calling the incident the previous week difficult. “It is really important, for myself, that we continue to face bullying and hatred, and treat everyone equally.”

Councillor Tom Smyth asked for clarification of where the Pride Flag will be flown – at the South Dundas Municipal Centre in Morrisburg.

Deputy mayor Marc St. Pierre motioned to accept Mills’ recommendation, councillor Cole Veinotte seconded the motion, which passed unanimously by council.

The formal proclamation will be posted to the South Dundas website and the flag will remain at the SDMC until the end of the month.

South Dundas council later supported amending the municipality’s flag policy, adding the Pride Flag to already recognized commemorations including flying the Every Child Matters flag for a period of 21 days prior to national Truth and Reconciliation Day in September.

South Dundas is now the fifth municipality in the Cornwall/SDG region, after the City of Cornwall, North Dundas, North Glengarry and South Glengarry to formally support Pride Month.

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