Christopher Hickson thought his request was a reasonable one.
A training officer for the 867 Vaudreuil-Dorion Air Cadet Squadron near Montreal, he recently embarked on a national unity project in which he requested a flag from every Canadian premier.
“My goal is to assemble a collection of all of the provincial and territorial flags so that our cadets can form a marching unit and proudly fly them in our parades and ceremonies for all to see,” he wrote to the News in an e-mail on July 10.
Hickson’s project is coming along nicely, having received positive responsives from every Canadian province and territory, with just one exception.
“I have written your premier and your chief of protocol but sadly, our request was refused,” he said.
“Your government is the only one that has said no to this symbolic gesture.”
Hickson was informed of the bad news through a letter from Arwen Rowe, administrative assistant for intergovernmental relations with the Executive Council Office, dated June 27.
In it, she stated that the government could no longer cope with the high volume of requests each year.
“As you can appreciate, we receive several hundred requests for flags each year,” she wrote to Hickson.
“Unfortunately, we are no longer able to accommodate these requests. As an alternative, flags can be purchased directly from a number of flag shops within Canada.”
Hickson said he was taken aback by the reply, considering how successful he had been with other provinces and territories, and had a hard time coming to terms with Rowe’s letter.
“If the point was to buy a $35 flag, then we would have already done that,” he said.
“The objective here is to have one gifted from each of the provinces as a gesture of fraternity and good will among all of the provinces.”
He said he tried writing to other people within the Yukon government, appealing to them for a flag, and even wrote back to Rowe in an attempt to get her to change her mind.
So far, no one has responded.
“Now it seems as though I’m being ignored,” he added.
On Monday, he received a message from Yukon NDP Leader Liz Hanson, who reached out to Hickson informing him she was sending his squadron a flag.
Hanson said as soon as she heard about the request, she thought it was a no-brainer.
“Why wouldn’t you want to have the territorial flag represented?” she asked later the same day.
“I just think it struck us as pretty strange that you would not say yes. It’s unfortunate because as members of the legislature, we represent Yukoners and that means we want to leave a good impression with whoever we’re in contact with.”
“For us, it’s a small gesture but a worthwhile one – the flag should be on its way.”
But Aisha Montgomery, a communications advisor for the executive council office, said the reasons given by Rowe are valid and have been part of the government’s policy for years.
“Unfortunately, due to the large number of requests that we get and the cost of purchasing the flags and shipping them, it’s just been the practice with Yukon government for at least a decade,” she said.
“This is for groups and organizations outside the territory. This practice is just simply based on the number of requests we do receive and given the size of our jurisdiction.”
Contact Myles Dolphin at