A black Canadian flag with a single blue line in the center is flying outside the Ontario Provincial Police Association building in Barrie, instead of the red and white maple leaf flag.
Recently, the Thin Blue Line flag has been waved by pro-police supporters, countering protests across North America demanding racial justice and an overhaul to policing.
It has flown outside the OPP union office since June 29th. But the union’s president said the flag is meant to honour fallen officers, not make a political statement.
“The police community display this flag to represent support, solidarity and respect to our fallen heroes,” said Rob Jamieson in an email to CityNews. “The dark colour of the flag is purposely subdued to show respect, and the ‘thin blue line’ symbolizes the police line between good and evil.”
He said after their traditional Canadian flag ripped, it was replaced with the black flag to pay tribute to Heidi Stevenson, the RCMP constable who lost her life in April’s mass killing in Nova Scotia.
Jamieson said sales from the flag has raised $100,000 to date, $20,000 of which was donated to Stevenson’s family.
But the flag has drawn attention for different reasons, amid a push for racial reform across the globe. It’s been adopted by “Blue Lives Matter” groups that have formed in response to the Black Lives Matter movement calling attention to race-based police violence.
Despite its association with a political issue, Jamieson said the Thin Blue Line flag will remain up to honour another fallen officer from Abbotsford, B.C.