February 15, 1939

CON

John Ritchie MacNicol

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MacNICOL:

If the hon. member was not howled down he might have been. This motion has been introduced in the House of Commons for the eighth time; the sixth, I believe, by the hon. member who has brought it in to-day, and twice by the former member for Nanaimo, Mr. Dickie. I think it would be well to read the resolution we have before us to-day, and put beside it the resolution that was introduced by Mr. Dickie. The present resolution reads:

That, in the opinion of this house, a special select committee be appointed for the purpose of considering the advisability of adopting a distinctive Canadian flag, representing Canada as a whole, thereby symbolizing the dominion as an equality partner in the commonwealth of British nations.

When Mr. Dickie introduced his resolution I opposed it for .different reasons from those that compel me to oppose the resolution now before us. Mr. Dickie's resolution read:

That in the opinion of this house a national flag representing the Dominion of Canada should be adopted, and that in any design for a Canadian flag the union jack must be conspicuous.

The resolution of the former hon. member for Nanaimo was at least positive; it stated what should be on the flag, but the resolution of the hon. member for North Battleford states little except that the flag should be representative of Canada as a whole. Perhaps a potato might do for Prince Edward Island, a fish for New Brunswick, a lobster or a tree for Nova Scotia, for Quebec a fleur-de-lis, and for Ontario something representative of a gold mine-

Topic:   MILITARY DISTRICT NO. 10-SUPPLY OF BEEF,
Subtopic:   A CANADIAN FLAG
Sub-subtopic:   PROPOSAL FOR ADOPTION OF A FLAG SYMBOLIC OF CANADA AND HER PARTNERSHIP IN THE BRITISH EMPIRE
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An hon. MEMBER:

What about Toronto?

Topic:   MILITARY DISTRICT NO. 10-SUPPLY OF BEEF,
Subtopic:   A CANADIAN FLAG
Sub-subtopic:   PROPOSAL FOR ADOPTION OF A FLAG SYMBOLIC OF CANADA AND HER PARTNERSHIP IN THE BRITISH EMPIRE
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CON

John Ritchie MacNicol

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MacNICOL:

For Manitoba a buffalo, for Saskatchewan a sheaf of wheat, for Alberta an oil well, and for British Columbia-

Topic:   MILITARY DISTRICT NO. 10-SUPPLY OF BEEF,
Subtopic:   A CANADIAN FLAG
Sub-subtopic:   PROPOSAL FOR ADOPTION OF A FLAG SYMBOLIC OF CANADA AND HER PARTNERSHIP IN THE BRITISH EMPIRE
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An hon. MEMBER:

A Bren gun.

Topic:   MILITARY DISTRICT NO. 10-SUPPLY OF BEEF,
Subtopic:   A CANADIAN FLAG
Sub-subtopic:   PROPOSAL FOR ADOPTION OF A FLAG SYMBOLIC OF CANADA AND HER PARTNERSHIP IN THE BRITISH EMPIRE
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CON

John Ritchie MacNicol

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MacNICOL:

Yes, some hon. member says a Bren gun, but maybe a fir tree. The former hon. member for Nanaimo was positive; he did ask for something pertaining to the union jack, or at least that the union jack should be conspicuous in the flag.

I will now state one of the main reasons why I am opposed to this resolution; it is because the government-and by the government I mean the Prime Minister, I at least

give him credit that he does run his government-took this attitude. During the last debate on this matter, on February 14, 1938, he stated, as reported on page 438 of Hansard:

I would conclude this part of what I have to say with the observation that the continued use of the union jack gives a false impression abroad, and particularly in the country immediately adjoining. The use of the union jack on anything that is distinctively Canadian in the United States does not help to emphasize the individuality of this country or its distinct nationality; it helps to submerge them altogether.

Therefore, if I interpret the words of the Prime Minister correctly, he does not want on any flag of this country any representation of the union jack-

Topic:   MILITARY DISTRICT NO. 10-SUPPLY OF BEEF,
Subtopic:   A CANADIAN FLAG
Sub-subtopic:   PROPOSAL FOR ADOPTION OF A FLAG SYMBOLIC OF CANADA AND HER PARTNERSHIP IN THE BRITISH EMPIRE
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Some hon. MEMBERS:

Oh, oh.

Topic:   MILITARY DISTRICT NO. 10-SUPPLY OF BEEF,
Subtopic:   A CANADIAN FLAG
Sub-subtopic:   PROPOSAL FOR ADOPTION OF A FLAG SYMBOLIC OF CANADA AND HER PARTNERSHIP IN THE BRITISH EMPIRE
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CON

John Ritchie MacNicol

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MacNICOL:

-because it might offend the people in the republic to the south.

Topic:   MILITARY DISTRICT NO. 10-SUPPLY OF BEEF,
Subtopic:   A CANADIAN FLAG
Sub-subtopic:   PROPOSAL FOR ADOPTION OF A FLAG SYMBOLIC OF CANADA AND HER PARTNERSHIP IN THE BRITISH EMPIRE
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LIB

Ernest Lapointe (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. LAPOINTE (Quebec East):

He never said that.

Topic:   MILITARY DISTRICT NO. 10-SUPPLY OF BEEF,
Subtopic:   A CANADIAN FLAG
Sub-subtopic:   PROPOSAL FOR ADOPTION OF A FLAG SYMBOLIC OF CANADA AND HER PARTNERSHIP IN THE BRITISH EMPIRE
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CON

John Ritchie MacNicol

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MacNICOL:

That is the same sentiment which has been agitated outside this house by a strong and vigorous group of good citizens; I have no complaint to make about their integrity or sincerity any more than I have in regard to the hon. member who proposes this resolution. I believe the hon. member was sincere in everything he said and I respect his views. Mine are opposite, but I do not want to be censured because my views are opposed to his.

The Native Sons of Canada-and I am a native son of the fourth generation, and proud of it-sent out a catechism consisting of many clauses, No. 22 of which reads:

As Canada now has no national flag, should it, when adopted contain the union jack as a part of its design? No.

And the president or secretary of that organization, speaking in Winnipeg, later on said this in reference to the union jack being part of any Canadian flag:

It (the union jack) cannot form any part of our design.

That is one reason why I am opposed to this resolution. I do not know what a committee of this house might bring back to the house; I know what a committee in South Africa brought back. Read the debates that took place before that committee. There was a very bitter debate and stirring up of strife all over South Africa. And what did it result in? It resulted in two official flags, not one as the hon. member would have us believe; or if he did not say so, those who advocate a separate flag for Canada delight in saying that the great dominion of South

A Canadian Flag-Mr. MacNicol

Africa has its national flag. In South Africa two national flags fly side by side, the union jack on one flag pole and on the other flag the union jack forms about one-eightieth part.

The Prime Minister's statement, if I understood it correctly, is exactly in line with what the Native Sons of Canada advocate. To that I am unalterably opposed. I am ready to listen to reason in connection with a flag design, but I am wholly opposed to any flag flying over this country that has not the union jack as a large part of it. The Prime Minister dominates the government and every member of it; when he snaps the whip, every one of his 180 followers step up and vote as they are told, and so it would be in connection with this flag resolution if it came to a vote. If he is in earnest let him bring in a flag; it will not have on it any part of the union jack, if he meant what he said last year. That is one of the reasons I am opposed to this resolution and opposed to its going to a committee; I want the government to take the responsibility. If they bring in such a flag, then we shall have a real debate that will last not only for an afternoon but as long as we can stand on this floor to oppose it.

Topic:   MILITARY DISTRICT NO. 10-SUPPLY OF BEEF,
Subtopic:   A CANADIAN FLAG
Sub-subtopic:   PROPOSAL FOR ADOPTION OF A FLAG SYMBOLIC OF CANADA AND HER PARTNERSHIP IN THE BRITISH EMPIRE
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LIB

Joseph-Arthur Bradette

Liberal

Mr. BRADETTE:

What about the unemployed?

Topic:   MILITARY DISTRICT NO. 10-SUPPLY OF BEEF,
Subtopic:   A CANADIAN FLAG
Sub-subtopic:   PROPOSAL FOR ADOPTION OF A FLAG SYMBOLIC OF CANADA AND HER PARTNERSHIP IN THE BRITISH EMPIRE
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CON

John Ritchie MacNicol

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MacNICOL:

I shall have a good deal to say about the unemployed. I have been associated with business and employment a great deal longer than the hon. member. It gives me a pain in the foot to hear men who have little knowledge concerning employment talking about unemployment. Leave that to men who know something about it. I was associated with the employment of a great number of men for many years.

What would go before a committee? I have had a sample flag sent to me for every line of pickles made by Heinz; fifty-seven of them. I am going to deal with several of them. Some have a good deal of merit; some I am not so strongly opposed to-I recognize ability. Others I am opposed to.

Topic:   MILITARY DISTRICT NO. 10-SUPPLY OF BEEF,
Subtopic:   A CANADIAN FLAG
Sub-subtopic:   PROPOSAL FOR ADOPTION OF A FLAG SYMBOLIC OF CANADA AND HER PARTNERSHIP IN THE BRITISH EMPIRE
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LIB

Cameron Ross McIntosh

Liberal

Mr. McINTOSH:

Australia had thirty

thousand designs to choose from. Sixty-five is not many.

Topic:   MILITARY DISTRICT NO. 10-SUPPLY OF BEEF,
Subtopic:   A CANADIAN FLAG
Sub-subtopic:   PROPOSAL FOR ADOPTION OF A FLAG SYMBOLIC OF CANADA AND HER PARTNERSHIP IN THE BRITISH EMPIRE
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CON

John Ritchie MacNicol

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MacNICOL:

We shall have to get

another line of pickles if we are to have sixty-five.

The first of these is the union jack defaced with a maple leaf in a white shield. The second has three bars with a maple leaf in the centre and a union jack in the upper main canton. The third is the red ensign with a white diamond on the field and a green leaf over the diamond. The fourth is again the

red ensign, with a white circle on which there is a green leaf. Another has the fleur-de-lis round the outside-I am particularly fond of the fleur-de-lis myself and have no objection to it-and in the centre a union jack and a circle of maple leaves round the centre with a beaver in the centre of that. So we have a great many fine varieties sent to us. Another is a union jack defaced with the fleur-de-lis in the centre on a white or red spot. Another is a union jack defaced with a maple leaf in the centre, and another has the Canadian shield in the centre. Then there is one very beautiful design by a gentleman in Quebec on which the maple leaf is predominant together with the fleur-de-lis and some triangles of red and blue. Another design has "Canada" on the maple leaf on the field, and another, "Canada" on the union jack In short, there is a host of designs. What would come back from a committee of the house it is not for me to say; it would depend altogether on the composition of the committee; but I know what came back from the committee in South Africa, which caused so much bitterness in that country. That is another reason why I am opposed to this resolution, I want to avoid anything which would bring in this country the bitterness that developed in South Africa. [DOT]

Something was said about the merchant marine flag. The design of merchant marine flags throughout the empire is identical, apart from what is placed on the fly or field of the flag. All the merchant and government marine flags of the empire conform in design to the merchant and government marine flags of the homeland, which are the red and blue ensigns with nothing on the field. AVhen you go to India, you have the red ensign with the star of India on the field. When you pass to New Zealand, again you have the red ensign with the New Zealand conception of the southern cross on the field. When you go to Australia, again you have the red ensign with the Australian conception of the southern cross on the field, and when you go to South Africa, the red ensign has the shield of that country on the field. So there is uniformity throughout the empire as far as the merchant marine flags are concerned, and there is the same uniformity with regard to government marine flags, which are those with the blue field. On land, however, there is not uniformity, and I am going to oppose any resolution such as this until such time as uniformity can be arrived at in some manner.

As I said a few moments ago, in South Africa they had a very bitter discussion on this question and wound up with two official flags. In New Zealand and Australia they

A Canadian Flag-Mr. MacNicol

have not the same difficulty that existed in South Africa or that we have in Canada, because the people of New Zealand and Australia are practically all of one race, so there is nothing to cause friction between them. In Canada-fortunately, I will say, because I am an admirer of all races-we have quite a number of nationalities represented by substantial portions of our population, people from Europe who have brought their wealth, background and strength to help build up this country. In New Zealand and Australia, as I see it, they have not land flag designs at all; there they fly the blue ensign, a marine flag design, as a land flag. Of course it is none of my business if they choose to do that, but the blue ensign is not a land flag. In Australia and New Zealand they fly the blue ensign defaced on the field by their respective conceptions of the southern cross. In India they follow another design altogether, and if I had to choose from all the designs I would select a design similar to that adopted in India, where since 1863 they have had as their governor general's flag the union jack defaced by the star of India and surmounted by the Tudor crown. Since 1900, I believe, that has been what they term their official land flag, but it is not one hundred per cent official. I have here a letter from the Indian office describing their flag, which states that the union jack is flown over high courts, chief courts and judicial commissioners' courts. Generally speaking, however, I believe they accept as their official land flag the union jack defaced by the star of India.

A year ago I believe the hon. member for Cochrane (Mr. Bradette), speaking on this subject, referred to Newfoundland. I do not take anybody's say-so for things; I find out for myself, and I went to Newfoundland. There, I may tell the hon. member for Cochrane, the union jack is the official flag on land, while on water they fly exactly the same design of flags that we use; that is, their marine flags are the red and blue ensigns defaced by their shield, just as the Canadian marine flags are defaced by what I believe is the most beautiful shield flown throughout the empire.

I am sorry to say that my French-Cana-dian friends to whom I have spoken are generally in favour of a change in our flag. For a moment or two I should like particularly to direct my remarks to my compatriots, for whom I have the greatest regard and warmest feeling as the oldest Canadians of all. In a word or two I should like to outline to them the suggestion that if anyone in Canada to-day should object to the union jack, it is the Anglo-Saxons. Every part of

the union jack come from France, The three crosses were all brought to England by the French conquerors following 1066, or by what we call the Norman kings who reigned after that time.

Topic:   MILITARY DISTRICT NO. 10-SUPPLY OF BEEF,
Subtopic:   A CANADIAN FLAG
Sub-subtopic:   PROPOSAL FOR ADOPTION OF A FLAG SYMBOLIC OF CANADA AND HER PARTNERSHIP IN THE BRITISH EMPIRE
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LIB

Malcolm McLean

Liberal

Mr. McLEAN (Melfort):

Would the hon. member tell us how the St. Andrew's cross came from France in 1066?

Topic:   MILITARY DISTRICT NO. 10-SUPPLY OF BEEF,
Subtopic:   A CANADIAN FLAG
Sub-subtopic:   PROPOSAL FOR ADOPTION OF A FLAG SYMBOLIC OF CANADA AND HER PARTNERSHIP IN THE BRITISH EMPIRE
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CON

John Ritchie MacNicol

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MacNICOL:

If my hon. friend does not mind, I shall make my own speech. Many folks forget that England was conquered by the French and ruled by French kings for several centuries. Those French kings and their supporters implanted in England the culture of which we are all proud, and in addition gave us much of our flag. The three lions on our shield representing England; the one lion representing Scotland, the fleur-de-lis representing the French and the harp representing Ireland, all came from France. The maple leaves represent Canada; I suppose they are Canadian, but at least four-fifths of the shield came from France. The insignia of the single lion was brought over in 1189 and placed on the British flag of that date by one of the Norman kings. Then in 1198, I believe, it was changed to three lions, and later the single lion was given over to Scotland and the English kept the three lions for themselves. The fleur-de-lis was brought over by one of the Norman kings or a successor to the Norman Icings, who had the good judgment to marry a French princess, or one whose mother was French. The only thing coming from Canada is the three leaves, while the Englishman and the Scotsman have nothing that did not come from France originally. So, if any members of this house should stand four-square for the union jack and our marine flags, it is the Freneh-Cana-dian members, and I hope that when the vote is taken this resolution will be defeated.

Topic:   MILITARY DISTRICT NO. 10-SUPPLY OF BEEF,
Subtopic:   A CANADIAN FLAG
Sub-subtopic:   PROPOSAL FOR ADOPTION OF A FLAG SYMBOLIC OF CANADA AND HER PARTNERSHIP IN THE BRITISH EMPIRE
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An hon. MEMBER:

Hear, hear.

Topic:   MILITARY DISTRICT NO. 10-SUPPLY OF BEEF,
Subtopic:   A CANADIAN FLAG
Sub-subtopic:   PROPOSAL FOR ADOPTION OF A FLAG SYMBOLIC OF CANADA AND HER PARTNERSHIP IN THE BRITISH EMPIRE
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CON

John Ritchie MacNicol

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MacNICOL:

When the hon. gentleman who said "hear, hear" makes his speech he can say what he likes, and perhaps I shall have the pleasure of saying "hear, hear" to him.

Before this house discusses the question of a flag at all I think the government should assume its responsibility. That it will not do. In the second place, I certainly should like to see some uniformity throughout the empire. There is little now as to land flags. Canada flies the union jack; that applies also to Newfoundland. In India they have the union jack defaced by the Star of India.

A Canadian Flag-Mr. MacNicol

In New Zealand and Australia they fly on land a marine flag defaced on the field. In South Africa they fly two flags. There is not much uniformity in that. But there is uniformity when it comes to the two marine flags, which are uniform throughout the empire. I dislike to say this, but I fancy that if the resolution went to a committee of the house we might get back a flag something like the one they have in South Africa, of which the union jack occupies only a small part.

Speaking last session the Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King) gave three or four reasons why he was opposed to our present design of flag. First, he referred to the legations. I said then, and I repeat to-day, that when any person is going to the legation in London, Paris, Brussels, Berlin, or wherever it may be-and I have been to a number of them-he does not go round looking for a flag, to find what flag is flying over the building. On the contrary, he takes a taxicab to go about his business at the legation.

I must recall to the hon. member who moved the resolution some facts concerning Canada House. I must inform him that the union jack flies on Canada House; I have seen it there. I saw it there throughout most of the coronation period.

Topic:   MILITARY DISTRICT NO. 10-SUPPLY OF BEEF,
Subtopic:   A CANADIAN FLAG
Sub-subtopic:   PROPOSAL FOR ADOPTION OF A FLAG SYMBOLIC OF CANADA AND HER PARTNERSHIP IN THE BRITISH EMPIRE
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LIB

Cameron Ross McIntosh

Liberal

Mr. McINTOSH:

The hon. member did

at the time of the coronation, but that is all.

Topic:   MILITARY DISTRICT NO. 10-SUPPLY OF BEEF,
Subtopic:   A CANADIAN FLAG
Sub-subtopic:   PROPOSAL FOR ADOPTION OF A FLAG SYMBOLIC OF CANADA AND HER PARTNERSHIP IN THE BRITISH EMPIRE
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CON

John Ritchie MacNicol

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MacNICOL:

Well, I am glad the gentlemen in control of Canada House had the good sense to stamp Canada as part of the British empire during the coronation period.

Topic:   MILITARY DISTRICT NO. 10-SUPPLY OF BEEF,
Subtopic:   A CANADIAN FLAG
Sub-subtopic:   PROPOSAL FOR ADOPTION OF A FLAG SYMBOLIC OF CANADA AND HER PARTNERSHIP IN THE BRITISH EMPIRE
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LIB

Cameron Ross McIntosh

Liberal

Mr. McINTOSH:

The official flag of Canada on Canada House is the red ensign.

Topic:   MILITARY DISTRICT NO. 10-SUPPLY OF BEEF,
Subtopic:   A CANADIAN FLAG
Sub-subtopic:   PROPOSAL FOR ADOPTION OF A FLAG SYMBOLIC OF CANADA AND HER PARTNERSHIP IN THE BRITISH EMPIRE
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February 15, 1939