WATCH: The backlash over the Confederate flag in the U.S is hitting close to home tonight. A Vancouver store owner is pulling the flag off the shelves. Catherine Urquhart explains.
A Vancouver-based chain of stores that sells the Confederate flag says that “after much consideration,” it is halting the sale of the controversial banners until further notice.
The decision comes as the shooting deaths of nine people at a historic black church in Charleston, South Carolina, have reignited the debate over the flag’s symbolism.
The Flag Shop has been carrying a wide selection of flags from around the world for years, including the Confederate flag. Not anymore.
“I could no longer sit back and wait for things to blow over,” said the Flag Shop’s Susan Braverman. “It’s when people ask why we sell a flag that represents hate.”
The Vancouver-based store and its 12 other shops across Canada have decided to pack away remaining stock of the flag.
They’re not alone. On Monday, Walmart said it is removing any items from its store shelves and website that feature the Confederate flag.
South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley said that the Confederate flag should be removed from the statehouse grounds, acknowledging that to many it is a “deeply offensive symbol of a brutally oppressive past.”
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The white suspect in the shooting, Dylann Storm Roof, appeared in photos holding the banner. The Flag Shop’s Braverman says she shudders at the thought of her flags being linked to something so disturbing.
“I would just feel terrible if someone were able to buy that flag from our store and use it for that purpose,” she said.
-with files from Catherine Urquhart and Associated Press