Flags are flying half-mast at Red Deer fire halls and other municipal buildings in honour of federal Opposition and New Democrat Leader Jack Layton.
The City of Red Deer’s Legislative and Governance Services department requested that all flags on municipal buildings stay at half-mast until sunset on Saturday following the state funeral of Layton in Toronto.
Alison Relkov, client services support for the city department, said that she notified staff of all applicable buildings on Tuesday after getting clarification from the Canadian Heritage website.
“There’s a very strict protocol as to Canadian flags — when it raise it, when to lower it, when to half-mast it,” said Relkov. “Even if we’re to replace the flags, there’s a set protocol for that.”
Given that such flags are recognized as paramount symbols of their nations, the act of half-masting is a dramatic visual statement that speaks to the sense of loss that is shared by all their citizens, states the Canadian Heritage website.
Layton died of cancer at age 61 on Monday.
In the May federal election, Layton led the NDP to a historic total of 103 seats and formed the Official Opposition. The success of the NDP in the election was unprecedented, making Layton the most successful leader electorally in the party’s history in terms of seats won.