Time limit for 'Support Our Troops' ribbons is up
Fire fighters and paramedics were told they will have to remove yellow magnetic ribbons supporting Canadian troops in Afghanistan from their emergency vehicles.
The decals must be removed from all vehicles by Sept.4.
Some speculate the decision to remove the ribbons came about because proper protocol to post the decals on city-owned vehicles was not followed.
Others say city council does not want the vehicles to appear supportive of the war in Afghanistan.
Public relations staff, Toronto EMS Chief Bruce Farr and Fire Chief Bill Stewart held an hour-long meeting to discuss the issue on Tuesday.
When it was over, Farr and Stewart said the ribbon campaign was originally only meant to last one year.
"That is part of our maintenance rotation stating in September this year. It's our intention to peel the stickers off," Farr said.
Stewart maintained there was no city hall order to have the stickers removed.
"I've heard comments that they were ordered off the vehicles and that was not the case," Stewart said.
Coun. David Shiner said he has doubts about who actually made the decision for the decals to be removed.
"I can not comment on what they were told to say or not told to say. They (Farr and Stewart) looked extremely uncomfortable," Shiner said.
Some councilors believe the decision to remove the decals is a black mark on the city.
"I was stunned this morning to hear on the radio that some official at the city had ordered emergency services, particularly ambulances, to take off the decal that supports our troops in Afghanistan," city councilor Brian Aston told CTV News on Tuesday.
"These decals are on there and it makes a very strong statement. To take them off, Toronto is the largest city, would just be an outrage. It would be a black eye on the reputation of our city," Ashton said.
Coun. Janet Davis said just as many councillors want to see the decals removed as those who support their presence on emergency vehicles.
Mayor David Miller said while emergency crews should continue to support Canadian troops, the one-year time limit for the decals was enough time.
"It's controversial on both sides. There are people who see it as support for the troops and there are people who see it as support for war," Miller said.
The Toronto Fire Fighter's Association said it appreciates that protocol must be followed in such an instance and maintains its employees continue to support troops in Afghanistan.
"They have been on there for six to nine months and we support the troops," Scott Marks, a spokesperson from the Toronto Fire fighter's Association, told CTV News on Tuesday.
"It was a non political statement and so I mean from that perspective, I think we have been able to see that support come to fruition anyways."
With a report from CTV's Desmond Brown