Vandals deface Victoria man's Canada Day flag display
VICTORIA -- Every Canada Day, Jim Bungente hangs Canadian flags on the fence outside his Victoria home to show his pride in his country.
"I feel so lucky to have been born and raised in Canada," Bungente said. "We're so blessed to be here. I'm proud to be a Canadian, so I put those flags out every year."
This year, however, his display seems to have caught the eye of vandals.
The day after Canada Day, Bungente said, he received a call from his neighbour, who had joined him in the flag-hanging tradition. Of the 18 flags that had been displayed across their two properties, 15 had been defaced overnight.
Many of the maple leaves had been crossed out with black spray paint, while other flags had messages referencing the country's colonial history.
One said "genocide," another said "you are on native land," and a third said "KKKanada."
Bungente said he was "quite surprised" and "disappointed" to see the vandalism.
"I'm not angry about what the damage was, it's just the idea that our flag was defaced on a day like Canada Day," he said.
The homeowner said he doesn't want to sensationalize what happened or feed into political polarization in Canada today. He said his view is that the people who defaced his flags were "just angry kids" looking for a way to rebel.
Bungente said he knows there are "underlying causes" that Canada needs to address when it comes to the nation's relationship with the first inhabitants of the land it occupies, and he said he's hopeful that changes to the way Canadian history is taught and talked about will help to address those issues.
He's not going to stop flying his Canadian flags, though. In fact, he had several others in storage that he brought out to replace the vandalized ones.
"I've got more flags than they've got black paint," he said.