The Harper rationale for not flying the flag at half-staff continues to crumble. From the Montreal Gazette:
The department of Canadian Heritage, which is responsible for the protocol surrounding the half-staffing of the Canadian flag atop the Peace Tower, says it is just doing what the military wants.
"This was developed by the military and for the military," said heritage department spokesperson Len Westerberg. "It has been accepted by the past government and the present government."
The Department of National defense, however, says drafting its own internal policy for the half-staffing of the flag at military facilities and bases was never intended to prevent other parts of the government from honoring fallen soldiers by half-staffing the flag.
"My understanding is that the government always has the prerogative to lower the flags should they see fit," said Jay Paxton, public affairs officer for National defense.
The Gazette story makes a couple of further interesting points. One is that the Prime Minister always has the power to have the flag run at half-staff if circumstances are deemed "extraordinary". So for example it was lowered to commemorate the death of Canadian diplomat Glyn Berry in Afghanistan (January 15th, 2006) and in March 2005 to honor RCMP officers killed on duty in Alberta. The second point is that current protocol will see the flag flown at half-staff should scandal soaked Canadian ambassador Alfonso Gagliano kick the bucket.
The stench around this story continues to increase.