St. John’s will fly Labrador flag forevermore

Published on February 1, 2017

The Labrador flag, shown in this file photo with its creator Mike Martin, will now fly from St. John's City Hall.

©Geraldine Brophy

The Labrador flag will be a fixture at St. John’s City Hall from now on.

The capital city’s council agreed unanimously Monday night that the flag should forever flap alongside the city, provincial and national flags.

St. John’s Mayor Dennis O’Keefe said the idea stemmed from a meeting at which a letter of intent between the capital and the Town of Happy Valley-Goose Bay was renewed.

“The mayor of Happy Valley-Goose Bay, Jamie Snook, indicated that he felt that aside from economic and commercial ventures, there were cultural things we could do to bring us all closer together, and he indicated one of the major steps would be if the city agreed to fly the flag of Labrador permanently in front of city hall,” O’Keefe said, adding he thought it was a “marvellous” idea.

“It made me very proud when he made the statement that, ‘You know, the city of St. John’s is the capital of Newfoundland and Labrador. It is our capital as Labradorians, and as Newfoundlanders and Labradorians.’

“I think that was a tremendous statement to make, and a unifying statement, because now when people come here to their capital city from across the province and look at this city hall, and see the Labrador flag flying in front of city hall, I think it will bring us all closer together. And that’s the whole intent here. This is not a political move. It is a cultural move to reinforce the fact that we’re all Newfoundlanders and Labradorians, and we have one capital city, and that is St. John’s.”

Coun. Jonathan Galgay, who presented the motion, said the move sends a strong message not only to Labradorians, but to other municipalities on the island. He said he encourages other municipalities to follow suit.

“The people of Labrador have often felt forgotten about, that their concerns have not always been presented during discussions, but I can certainly assure the people of Labrador that our city does have a very strong relationship with their councils —whether that be Innu or Inuit or municipal councils, provincial and federal governments — and we will continue, at times when appropriate, to raise issues of importance for the people of Labrador,” Galgay said.

Snook responded to the move as it was reported on Twitter: “It is heartening to see swift action on an initiative so culturally vital to @CityofStJohns @Town_HVGB & all in our province.”

As the Labrador flag is not considered an official flag, but a heritage banner, it will remain on the fourth pole after the city flag, the provincial flag and the maple leaf.