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Video: Police investigating after Minnow Lake resident hangs swastika-adorned Canada flag

Homeowner says his ire is directed at Canadian health-care system, flags have been removed

Greater Sudbury Police Service is investigating what it described as a possible hate crime that was reported Wednesday morning.

A Facebook post on the Greater Sudbury Memes page started a stir online, depicting a photo of a Minnow Lake home with a pair of Canadian flags hung up on the exterior.

One of the flags had a swastika covering the maple leaf and the words "True Canada" written on the lower third, while a second flag had a middle finger covering the maple leaf.

The flag with the middle finger was taken down by an unknown person, and the homeowner took down the second flag Wednesday afternoon after GSPS officers showed up at his house. Police received a call about the flags Wednesday morning.

"A patrol officer attended the residence to initiate an investigation, and the incident has now been assigned to our Criminal Investigation Division," said GSPS spokesperson Kaitlyn Dunn. 

"The Greater Sudbury Police Service takes reports of hate-motivated crime and hate bias incidents very seriously and we recognize the impact on and pain felt by community members when there is evidence of hatred."

The owner of the home and the man responsible for hanging the flags is 62-year-old David Toivonen, who explained that the flags were his "last resort" in an attempt to have his story heard.

Toivonen's display doesn't appear to be targeted at any race or minority group but rather at the Canadian government, more specifically the health-care system. 

"Canada has destroyed my life," said Toivonen, who explained that he has been at odds with the health-care system for more than two decades after he was involved in an automobile collision in 1994 that left him with numerous injuries.

Toivonen says that he saw numerous doctors and was never given proper treatment, and when he reached out to politicians to tell his story, he was met with deaf ears.

"I hate this's totally destroyed my life," said Toivonen.

"There needs to be a full inquiry into Canada's health-care system, people are dying, people younger than me, my story has to be told."

Toivonen says that his health complications have reached the point where he is essentially waiting to die.

"I'm backed into a corner, this was my last little hope of getting my story out."

Greater Sudbury Police did not indicate whether any charges had been laid in relation to the incident.

"This incident will be thoroughly investigated by detectives in consultation with the Crown’s office," said Dunn. "The investigation into this incident is ongoing."

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