Alberta cities, province fly the Rainbow Flag for Sochi Olympics

Pride Flag Edmonton Sochi Olympics
The rainbow Rainbow Pride Flag flies outside Edmonton City Hall.

Defying the stereotypes of Alberta as a conservative backwater,  Rainbow Pride Flag are flying outside of city halls in Edmonton, Calgary and St. Albert and the Alberta Legislature today in solidarity with the LGBTQ community in Russia. The a small but powerful gesture is a sign of support for a community that has become the target of persecution by harsh laws passed by Vladimir Putin‘s government.

The flags will fly for the duration of the Sochi Winter Olympic Games (and until the end of the Sochi Paralympic Winter Games at the Legislature).

A social media campaign to convince the City of Edmonton to raise the flag was started yesterday by Edmontonian Riyaz Sharan. Once Edmonton agreed to raise the flag, the other Alberta cities and the province followed their lead.

Edmonton Mayor Don Iveson‘s office released this statement today:

The City of Edmonton raised the rainbow flag today in support ofLGBTQ communities worldwide. The City of Edmonton took this action in solidarity with other Canadian cities such as Montreal, Vancouver, Ottawa and St. John’s. The flag will fly on the community pole on the southwest side of the plaza in front of City Hall for the duration of the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. 

Pride Flag Alberta Legislature Sochi Olympics
The rainbow Rainbow Flag flies outside of the Alberta Legislative Assembly building in Edmonton.

Pride Flag Calgary City Hall Sochi Olympics

Mayor Naheed Nenshi agreed to fly the Rainbow Flag outside of Calgary City Hall today (photo from @chimaincalgary on twitter).
Pride Flag St. Albert City Hall Sochi
The Rainbow Flag flies outside St. Albert City Hall (photo from @tim_osborne on Twitter) 
Ed Stelmach Mark Norris Olympics

olympic ambassador-extraordinary and pleni-potentiary?

I wouldn’t have thought Ed Stelmach would be one to create random patronage positions, but seeing as how the position of Alberta’s Ambassador to the United States is already taken…

It was reported last week that former Tory leadership candidate Mark Norris is being touted as Alberta’s Ambassador-Extraordinary and Pleni-potentiary to the Olympics.

Norris served as the PC MLA for Edmonton McClung and Economic Development Minister from 2001 until 2004. In the 2004 provincial election, Norris was defeated by Alberta Liberal Mo Elsalhy.

Norris placed 6th in the 2006 Alberta Tory leadership race, garnering 6.9% of the vote and endorsed Ed Stelmach during the second round of voting.

“One of Canada’s top experts on the Olympics questioned why Alberta needs a promoter, since enthusiasm for the Winter Games is already high here, and many Albertans are likely to visit the West Coast for the events without the government having to drum up interest.

“I don’t think you have to. I think there’s some motive going unexplained, to create a whole post for that,” said Bob Barney, founding director of International Centre for Olympic Studies at the University of Western Ontario.

He said Olympic host cities routinely name ambassadors, but he’s never heard of a position like that in outside jurisdictions.”