Demand may be up for the ‘Confederate flag’ south of the border but here in Alberta, it’s about to become more difficult to find the southern symbol.
Two major retailers have pulled them from their store shelves as of Tuesday morning and are vowing never to sell them again.
It comes in the wake of the shooting in Charleston, South Carolina where 9 people were shot and killed after Dylann Roof had tried to ignite a “race war.”
Flag Shop has stores across the country, a franchise operation, store owner for Calgary and Edmonton Phyllis Bright says they made the decision as a group.
“We have decided to pull the flag from our shelves and not sell them anymore,” she tells 660News. “I think some of us have known what the connotation of the flag is for a long time but I think the recent events in the United States brought it to the forefront and it really made us aware of what the flag means. Not everyone who buys or who bought that flag buys it for a bad reason. A lot of people will buy it because it reminds them of the Dukes of Hazzard T-V show, but having said that the connotation of the flag is such that we chose not to sell it any longer.”
Bright believes in Canada we’re far removed from what it meant 150 years ago or even what it means now, but she says that doesn’t mean it’s correct for them to keep selling it.
She says it wasn’t even a big seller, she believes before they’d sell one every couple of weeks.
“It doesn’t matter how many we sold, we wanted to take a stand because we thought it was important,” said Bright.
“There are people that might applaud us for taking a stand in solidarity with people in other parts of North America, it’s not a big issue in Canada because we don’t have the history. But perhaps it’ll make us think of other situations that are similar in our country.”
She’s hoping it’ll send a message that they care about what’s happening elsewhere.
Her Calgary store manager Heather Hansma says she received the email at 8 A.M., when she came in for work to pull the flags.
“As to who is buying these flags I can tell you they’ve been sold mostly to teenagers and young off-roaders as part of their antenna flags for their ATVs or their mud trucks when they go off-roading. That has been my main clientele for those flags.”
Hansma says they would come in during the summer and she believes most of them had no idea about the flag’s symbolism.
“I am for it, in the respect that it’s being considered a hate-flag or a racist symbol,” she said.
One of their main competitors Flag Works in Calgary also announced Tuesday morning that it won’t be selling the flag from this point on.
“Due to the tragic events in the Carolinas, the murder of the nine people and the young fellow flying under the Confederate flag, it’s now got a tainted, racial, white supremacist image and we made a choice out of respect to the people who didn’t survive that we didn’t need to sell it.”
Hurley says the last time she sold some was in 2014 and they haven’t sold any this year.
She doesn’t agree with those however who say they had no idea what it means.
“Most of the people do know what the Confederate flag is and what it stood for,” she tells 660News.
The move in Alberta stores comes as Amazon and crafts site Etsy also ban sales, following the lead of Walmart, Sears and eBay.