FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – The City of Fort St. John is reminding Canada Day parade participants to keep their floats family-friendly after a post was shared on social media depicting anti-government views.

The post featured pictures of a “freedom truck” with a Canadian flag, a combined Canadian-American flag, and a Canadian flag depicting Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in brownface.

Ryan Harvey with the city says that while floats with political views are permitted, they must remain respectful.

“It boils down to making sure that this is a family-friendly celebration. Canada day is an opportunity to come together as a community and celebrate, not an opportunity for people to make it [about] other pieces,” Harvey said.

Harvey says the city welcomes residents with varying opinions on specific topics to participate in the event.

“That’s always been an allowed piece. It’s just important to remember that whether you’re bringing awareness of social issues or anything you believe in, it remains a part of a family-friendly Canada day celebration.”

He adds that freedom stickers and flags aren’t necessarily inappropriate for the parade, but they must be appropriate and without profanity.

“It’s important that people have the right to express their beliefs. As long as it’s not hateful, disrespectful, bullying, harassing, or assaulting.”

He adds that floats depicting flags turned upside down or featuring people’s faces are not permitted.

The city says staff will vet parade floats an hour before the event kicks off. Any participant with inappropriate decorations will be denied entry and may not be allowed to participate in the future.

View the full guidelines for parade participants below.

Spencer Hall is a news reporter for energeticcity.ca and a recent graduate of the British Columbia Institute of Technology’s Radio Arts & Entertainment program. Growing up in Northwest B.C. made Spencer aware of the importance of local journalism, independent media, and reconciliation. In his spare time, you can find Spencer reading, playing video games, or at the FSJ dog park with his dog, Teddy.