February 15, 1939

CON

John Ritchie MacNicol

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MacNICOL:

The hon. member has

delivered his speech; I want to finish mine. I remember well the empire games which took place at Hamilton. I am not sure whether the whole world was represented, but perhaps an hon. member from that city could tell. I do know, however, that at those games, which I believe were world-wide in extent, the winners marched past the grandstand, and various flags passed by. There was little acclaim for any of those flags, with the exception of the one carried by the Scottish representatives. They carried the union jack, and received tremendous acclaim. I said to myself at the time-

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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:

Different from Australia.

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CON

John Ritchie MacNicol

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MacNICOL:

Both the Australian and the New Zealand flags were there, but they did not receive the acclaim received by the

union jack at the head of the Scots. The objective in those games was to be a winner. No matter where that winner may come from, his reputation and that of his country are known everywhere. His winning is of more importance than the fact that he might be carrying a flag.

Something has been said about a lack of distinction, but I believe I have exploded that suggestion. The union jack and our coat of arms are distinctive of Canada. Something was said about cathedrals. So far as I have observed, battalion flags are shown in the cathedrals, although there may be some others. So far as I am concerned, the suggestion that we should fly flags in European cathedrals is not sufficient reason for changing the flag of this country.

Finally, I repeat my main objection, namely my objection to the statement made last session by the Prime Minister. I quoted it before, and I shall do so again:

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.

In conclusion, let me say that if a committee were set up and the Indians, the first settlers of this country, were invited to take part in the debate before that committee, or to take part in a conference concerning the flag, I am convinced they would take the same stand as our brother black men in South Africa took. During the time of the debates in South Africa between the Anglo-Saxon Afrikanders and the Dutch Afrikanders, both of whom are equal and deserve unlimited respect, when the debate was hottest and little accord could be arrived at, the six million blacks of South Africa sent their chiefs to make their representations and demands. It is for that reason that the union jack does appear, even on the Afrikander flag. They demanded that the union jack be made part of the flag because they said they knew it stood for liberty and fair play, and without its appearance on their flag they would not know whether they would receive proper treatment.

If ever the time comes when there is any discussion before a committee in Canada concerning the flag, I hope our noble red men may be invited to give their opinions. I should like the successors to Brant and Tecumseh to present their opinions. I should like to hear the opinions of the successors of those Chiefs who left their beautiful homelands in New York and Indiana to come to the north side of the lakes and the river St. Lawrence so that they might obtain the protection of the union

A Canadian Flag-Mr. White

jack. I am satisfied that if they were asked their position they would take the same stand as was taken by their black brothers in South Africa, namely that the union jack should have a prominent place in this country.

I am opposed to the resolution going to a committee. If the government has the courage to discuss the matter, or if it wishes to have a new flag, let it present that new Hag to the House of Commons.

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CON

Robert Smeaton White

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. R. S. WHITE (St. Antoine-West-mount):

Mr. Speaker, on two occasions in

the last parliament I spoke in favour of the adoption of a national flag for Canada, that flag to be the union jack, with the emblem of Canada on the fly. I have seen no reason for altering that opinion. But I am convinced that in view of the present state of world affairs it is inopportune and inadvisable to proceed further with this matter.

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LIB

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

Liberal

Right Hon. ERNEST LAPOINTE (Minister of Justice):

Mr. Speaker, I had no intention of taking part in the debate, but certain remarks of the hon. member for Davenport (Mr. MacNicol) compel me to do so. I may say immediately that I am in favour of the resolution before the house, and I am also in favour of the adoption by Canada of a distinctive flag.

I would invite hon. members to read the resolution carefully. It recites merely that in the opinion of the house a special committee be appointed for the purpose of considering the advisability of adopting a distinctive Canadian flag. I agree entirely with the former leader of the opposition, whom we may now call the Right Hon. R. B. Bennett, as he is no longer a member of the house. Taking part in a similar debate last year he said the following, as reported at page 4S8 of Hansard:

It seems to me almost monstrous-

I am afraid the hon. member for Davenport will not like the word; it is not my word, however, but that of his former leader.

-that the House of Commons should deny the right of a committee to consider the advisability of our taking any step in the world.

And further on Mr. Bennett said:

After all, however, it does seem that we should have some method by which to identify ourselves in the eyes of those who look upon our bunting as it floats in the wind.

I visited Australia and New Zealand^ some months ago, and it would be a brave man indeed who would say that New Zealand was lacking in loyalty to the British crown. Yet New Zealand has a distinctive flag which they have adopted for a definite purpose. Australia, too, has a distinctive flag, and I do not think the casual observer would state that there is less devotion and loyalty to the British crown in Australia than in Canada.

I respect the other opinions that have been expressed, but for the life of me I cannot see how the adoption of the proposal of the hon. member for North Battleford (Mr. McIntosh) could affect our relations with the mother country or the part we are playing in the British commonwealth of nations. I think it would be quite to the contrary. It would be merely symbolizing our position in the British empire. Instead of being an agency for disunion or disintegration a distinctive flag would show that Canada, which is a distinct entity with international rights and duties, is a member of the British commonwealth and wants to remain so.

Let me tell my hon. friend that he has misinterpreted the remarks made last year by the Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King) when he infers that the Prime Minister said he would be opposed to the union jack being a part of the Canadian flag. That is another back-of-the-head view that my hon. friend has had; it is some more picture language. I know that the idea of the Prime Minister is, and this is my view also, that when and if a flag is accepted and adopted for Canada, the union jack will be a part of that flag. Our flag will be like the flags of other members of the commonwealth. I cannot understand this obstinate opposition; it will create disunion and lead to division in Canada. I ask the hon. member for Davenport to take my word for it that we will have a Canadian flag sooner or later. Like all the other steps which have been taken in our progress toward nationhood, this step must be taken in spite of the strenuous opposition of those who think we are giving up our connection with the commonwealth. It is just the contrary.

The British commonwealth is based on freedom, and I cannot see why we in Canada should act differently from the other countries in the British commonwealth of nations. The hon. member spoke of the empire games. I have attended many international and imperial gatherings. As late as last September I attended the meeting of the League of Nations at Geneva. The Canadian delegation was on the same floor of a hotel as the Australian delegation. It is the practice to put up the flag of each nation whose delegates are located in a particular hotel. Delegates from India were also there, and the different flags were flown. At the imperial conference all the other dominions had their own flags. I do not think anyone will question the loyalty of New Zealand. I know whereof I speak when I say that when there has been a conflict of view as to certain steps to be taken at the imperial conferences. New Zealand has always been very firm and has

978 COMMONS

A Canadian Flag-Mr. Lapointe (Quebec East)

refused to accept innovations until she was convinced that they should be accepted for the sake of unity. New Zealand has her flag. Australia has her flag.

Some reference has been made to the fact that his majesty will visit Canada. The present king was in Australia in 1927 to inaugurate the new capital city of Canberra. I had the honour of representing Canada at that time. The king did not seem at all scandalized when the Australian flag was flown. I think a Canadian flag, with the union jack forming part, flying side by side with the union jack which will always represent the whole of the commonwealth, would make for the majesty and add to the greatness of the British commonwealth of nations. I was in Berlin in 1936 at the opening of the Olympic games. After the unveiling of the monument at Vimy I had three days before I had to catch my boat, and I attended this great event. There again all the nations of the world paraded with their flags.

Of course, we have our commercial ensign, but as my hon. friend has said, it had to be pulled down from the top of this parliament building because it was not a land flag. We had to take the union jack, the flag of the empire. I repeat that I cannot see the validity of the objections to this resolution. I tell my hon. friend that if he thinks this would be a sign of disloyalty or division, he is very far wrong as far as I am concerned.

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CON

John Ritchie MacNicol

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MacNICOL:

I never mentioned disloyalty or division; I never used those words.

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LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. LAPOINTE (Quebec East):

I believe in Canada remaining a part of the British commonwealth of nations, and I shall always defend that view. I believe the future of our country is linked up with that institution, but I believe that for the sake of common sense we should show that we are a distinct part of the British commonwealth. What will my hon. friends on the other side who are so strong for a large navy have to show that the different units are Canadian unless those units are flying a distinctive Canadian standard?

Again, with respect to the objections of my friends opposite, I agree with Mr. Bennett, that it is-I will not say monstrous, but I will say it is not fair to prevent examination and consideration of this question by a committee, where, if the house will agree to such a committee being appointed, all the objections to the proposal may be thoroughly considered. I think it is a step which this house should take.

I cannot help remembering what took place yesterday, especially in view of the

words of my good friend from Davenport that we are wasting three hours this afternoon in discussing this question. Yesterday I believe he was one of those who protested vehemently when the government wanted to take Wednesday for government business. If that had been done, and we had been allowed to do what we proposed yesterday, the time would not have been wasted this afternoon.

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CON

John Ritchie MacNicol

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MacNICOL:

May I correct the minister, and say I was one of those yesterday who hoped that the government would adhere to the terms of its resolution on the order paper to take to-day as a government day.

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LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. LAPOINTE (Quebec East):

I beg my hon. friend's pardon. I see that he is often right, even if he is wrong in the present

instance.

I submit, Mr. Speaker, that there would be nothing lost and nothing objectionable in allowing this resolution to go to a committee of the house for a report upon it. I am therefore strongly in favour of the resolution.

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CON

Thomas Langton Church

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. T. L. CHURCH (Broadview):

Mr. Speaker, after the speeches of the hon. Minister of Justice (Mr. Lapointe) and the hon. member for Davenport (Mr. MacNicol), I do not think we will ever let the old flag fall.

The question before the house has been introduced by the hon. member for North Battleford (Mr. McIntosh). Toronto knows something about North Battleford because that city sent three or four regiments, the Battleford column, out there in the Northwest rebellion. They carried the union jack, and it was good enough for them in those days.

The motion of the hon. member reads:

That, in the opinion of this house-

And that is as far as he is going to get. It is only an opinion, and whether this house passes the resolution or not, I believe that the province of Ontario will never change the union jack. It should be our flag, as it has been in the past ever since this country has been a country. It is our flag and the flag of the empire.

The minister (Mr. Lapointe) wants a select committee of the house to examine this question. I have been a member of some of these committees. They are appointed and they meet, and when they are ready to conclude their business we generally find that it is the majority, representing the government of the day, whichever government happens to be in power, that writes the committee's report.

A Canadian Flag-Mr. Church

The resolution goes on to say that the committee should consider "the advisability of adopting a distinctive Canadian flag." Well, Mr. Speaker, rve have a distinctive Canadian flag at the present time, the union jack. We have, in addition, two or three other distinctive flags.

The resolution, after all is said and done, largely resolves itself into a question of sentiment, and you cannot go against the sentiment in this dominion in favour of the flag which has protected our shores all these years since we have been a country.

As I said, Mr. Speaker, we have other distinctive flags. I saw two or three of them last week-end in the city of Toronto. First, there is the black flag of unemployment, representing people in want and all that. The unemployed are carrying the black flag and we should get rid of that first. Then we have the red flag of the bailiff-and we heard something about that last night-that red flag which dispossesses people of their house and property and puts then- goods and chattels out on the street, on account of the depression and unemployment. Let us rid ourselves of that also before we change the union jack. Then we have the flag of separatism, and this resolution is about the wind-up in spreading separatism in this country.

The resolution goes on to say that it is advisable to have a distinctive Canadian flag "representing Canada as a whole." This proposed makeshift flag, because so many different designs have been suggested, might be called a crazy quilt. It might be all right to haul up on hallowe'en night, but as representing the whole Canadian nation, no, Mr. Speaker.

The resolution goes on to say that a distinctive Canadian flag would symbolize "the dominion as an equality partner in the commonwealth of British nations." Well, we may liave equality of status, but certainly we have not equality of stature because we are depending on the mother country to preserve the civilization and liberty we enjoy. Let us pay for a fleet to protect our shores and trade routes. There is a difference between status and stature.

Resolutions similar to this have often been debated in the house, and the house has always failed to pass the resolution. I would point out that we have no mandate from the people of Canada to change the flag that has protected us for so long. No one proposed such a thing in the last election. And furthermore this resolution is introduced by a private member. Why do not the Minister of Justice and the cabinet take the responsibility for changing the flag? Then we would have

a real union jack election all over this country. Why does not some member of the government rise up and say: We as a government are ready to change the flag. The government do not seem prepared to do anything about anything. Only yesterday, when they were asked that something be done about something or other, they were going to read Edmund Burke. That is twenty-four hours ago, and they are still reading it, and by the time we get a new flag they will still be doubting what their policy is. In my opinion, before any change in the flag is made, a member of the government should introduce the necessary resolution.

The hon. member who introduced this private resolution based it upon four or five principles. The first principle was to get the opinion of parliament. Now for this government to get the opinion of parliament seems to be a relic of the past. They got no opinion from parliament on their various treaties and on their annual estimates. We just conduct post mortems here. But now they propose to change all that practice and get the opinion of parliament about changing the flag. It would be far better if they sought the opinion of the electors of this country. They should decide this question if anybody should.

The next principle of my hon. friend was that this question should be considered by a special committee. I do not know what he wants a special committee for. A committee might well be appointed to get jobs for Canadians in Canada and do something practical. That would be better than a committee to change the flag.

The next principle was that a distinctive Canadian flag should be adopted to represent Canada as a whole. But we have always had a flag to represent Canada as a whole, and in my opinion it is the only one flag for Canada and the empire. We should have in this empire, one throne, one king, and we do not want half a dozen flags.

The next principle was that the flag should symbolize the dominion's equality of status in the commonwealth of British nations, and in a few moments I shall deal with that further.

The mover of the resolution gave a short account of the discussion of this question in the house last year. It also came up in 1929, and a committee was appointed consisting of seven departmental officials, but that was all that was done. The question has come up three or four times since I have been a member of the house, but nothing has been done.

We are apt to forget in all this discussion that our very existence depends upon our remaining in the British empire and having the

9S0

A Canadian Flag-Mr. Church

protection of Britain and of the other members of the commonwealth. After all the eloquent remarks that we have had from the hon. member for North Battleford and others, Canada will not be talked out of the British empire by any change in status or in flag. She will have to be fought out of the empire. That is the only way of getting Canada out of the British empire, so far as Canadians in nine provinces are concerned. If Canada could have been talked out of the British empire, she would have been long ago.

I am opposed to any change of flag for any reason whatever. The union jack to-day represents equal rights to all and special privileges to none. It stands for freedom, justice, liberty, righteousness, honour and protection. It has a history and a tradition which are sacred to the people of Ontario, and so long as we remain part of the British empire we shall have all the military and naval forces on land and sea and air to defend our shores and safeguard our rights.

If Canada is to become a united people from coast to coast we must have greater loyalty to Britain, the British empire and the union jack in the future; and the best way to ensure all this is for us to retain the union jack as we have it. This matter has been discussed in our schools. In my opinion, in the schools to-day too much stress is placed on mere book-learning and not enough on education in patriotism, duty, discipline, sacrifice, and service to one's country-qualities which are indispensable in the present state of the world, and more important than book-learning. In the schools in Toronto the use of the flag has been extended to various activities, and that is something in the right direction. The flag is used on many occasions to mark the commemoration of important events in our history.

We should rejoice that we live under the union jack and enjoy the peace and security that we do. The flag has made us respected the world over. In view of certain opinions that have been expressed in the house, I think it would be interesting for me to quote a letter I have here from Mr. T. A. Beacock of Regina, Saskatchewan. He wrote to me from 1225 King street, Regina, on October 17 last, enclosing a copy of a letter he had received from the acting under-secretary of state, Mr. W. P. J. O'Meara, in answer to a question regarding an official flag for Canada. In his reply to Mr. Beacock the acting undersecretary of state, under date of October 13, wrote:

I acknowledge the receipt of your letter of October 10th and its enclosures.

In so far as this department is concerned there are no civil regulations governing the

flying of flags in Canada. The union jack, however, is recognized as the flag to be properly and officially flown on land in Canada.

As regards the Canadian red ensign there is no law prohibiting the flying of this ensign on land in Canada. The only regulation of which I am aware respecting the flying of the Canadian red ensign on land is a special order in council which permits the flying of the ensign oyer Canada House in London, and the Canadian legations at Paris, Washington and Tokyo. It is also flown on vessels of Canadian registry.

Something has been said by the mover of the resolution about the status of Canada. The trouble to-day is that we are tending more and more in this dominion to separatism. In fact, we have gone almost the full length of the road that leads to complete separation from the motherland. For example, as I said in the house a few years ago, in 1919 Canada signed the treaty of Versailles as a separate nation, and then a separate seat for Canada was demanded and secured at the assembly of the League of Nations. In March, 1923, the halibut treaty, was signed at Washington by Canada as a separate nation. The imperial conference of 1923 affirmed the right of Canada to sign separate treaties. In 1924 Canada acted separately on the Dawes plan, and in that year Canada urged that the Colonial Laws Validity Act be repealed. In 1926 there was another imperial conference and the right was affirmed of each dominion to make separate and independent treaties not binding on any other country. We were given sovereign powers, and we saw the results in the Kellogg note. Separatism has gone far enough in this country. Some would abolish appeals to the privy council; others would abolish the office of lieutenant governor. Many innovations have been made during the last few years, with the result that we have nothing but a policy of separatism in this country, and this resolution, Mr. Speaker, practically says that Canada is a separate country from the mother country, like Spain or Ireland. We are bound to the mother country by ties of loyalty and affection. The governor general is also now merely a viceroy and removed from getting any advice from Downing street, and must get all his advice in Canada from our own cabinet. Ties of sentiment and appeals to the privy council now alone remain, and the latter is being attacked.

In this matter of status it would be well for us to see how far the tendency has gone in South Africa and the south of Ireland. The south of Ireland is a separate country the same as Mexico. They have abolished the office of governor general; they have abolished appeals to the privy council; they have removed the king's head from coinage and postage stamps;.

A Canadian Flag-Mr. Church

they have rid the country of British soldiers, and now they want to annex the six counties in northern Ireland. The statute of Westminster, in my opinion, has led to the desire for separate flags. It was passed over the people's heads to please southern Ireland and South Africa. Instead of having a separate flag; instead of taking up time discussing that question, it seems to me it would be far better for Canada to close up the embassies altogether. This division between the dominions and the motherland on embassies is extremely dangerous in time of peace and it would be more disastrous in war. Separatism is responsible for the pact made at Munich a few months ago, and with the pacificism in Canada it is not surprising that in England they are wondering whither Canada is going.

So far as South Africa is concerned, I should like to quote briefly from an article that appeared in the National Review of August, 1938. They have hauled down the union jack in South Africa. President Hertzog will not even take the privy councillor's oath. The National Review says: .

A correspondent sends us a photograph from the Daily Express (Johannesburg) of the hauling down of the union jack just before a parade at which General Hertzog took the salute. The Daily Express, -whose permission we have for reproduction, is a paper supporting General Hertzog, and their photographer caught a picture of the descent of the union jack just as it occurred. The caption under the photograph is as follows: "Just before General Hertzog arrived at Sw'artkop aerodrome to take the salute at to-day's union day parade, officers discovered that the union jack, instead of the union flag, was flying at the saluting base. Hastily they had the union jack hauled down."

We are asked to copy southern Ireland and South Africa, these other parts of the empire, in the request for a distinctive flag, but is anybody in favour of our following South Africa? They have gone even further than merely hauling down the flag; they have gone as far as southern Ireland has and have complete separatism. They w-ant to be outside the empire and yet appear to be within it. They wish to be a separate country, not' belonging to the empire, but they desire to have non-alien status accorded them, in order to keep the protection of the British fleet which is their salvation from dictators. That is all they want to be in the empire for. They want to elect one of their own people as governor general. In addition we have a wave of separatism all along the line. I have been very much alarmed over this state of affairs as to where Canada stands and where she is going. They are asking now for a separate flag to fly over these legations, the cost of which just goes into a sink-hole, and when that cost

is paid, before they are through with all these ambassadors on the seven seas, instead of filling the farmers' barns in Canada it is going to empty their pockets. We are a nice dominion, asking to change the flag! Let me say to the mover of this resolution, who talks about the status of Canada and all that kind of thing, that they are about having a separate nationality'. As I said in a debate in the house in May, 1928, in reference to the storms on the great lakes in the season of 1927 in which many brave sailors on grain trade ships carrying Canada's flag were drowned in lake Superior, and in connection with this change of flag and change of status which have been mentioned in this debate:

The sense of Canada's nationalism increases and multiplies through our love of British unity. The true Canadian nationalist will not want to see this country a deadbeat on the taxpayers of the British isles for the upkeep of battle cruisers and a navy to maintain the safety of Canadian shores and for the protection of Canada's commerce on the high seas. The true Canadian nationalist will not want to see Canada a nation only in the advertising pages of American journals. As a nation we are a pauper so far as the actual reality goes.

The closing days and nights of navigation on the great lakes in the season of 1927 recorded a great story of unbroken fortitude and of unshaken endurance which proved that our countrymen, the sailors on the decks of those doomed vessels, ivere blood brothers of the soldiers who brought glory to Canada at St. Julien, the soldiers who could not be blown off the ground they gained at Passchendaele, who climbed the heights of Yimy Ridge, who gained the victory at Amiens and many another field of glory, men whose names will forever thrill every true Canadian. These sailors struggled or waited hour after hour; help came to them, it was help organized by the valiant hearts and strong bodies of their own country, or if help came it was help bought and paid for by the taxes of the people of the United States. That is Canadian nationality for you. The struggle was a story of glory for Canada's sailors. The struggle was a story of shame for Canada's politicians. The tragedies of t.he great lakes in the closing hours of navigation last season showed in its true colours the stuff that Canadian nationalism is made of. We have those who write and talk and chatter at banquets and refuse to pay under the terms of that nationality.

Canada is a proud and haughty nation. It sends its merchant ships into the winter storms with nothing to do but whistle for a United States service tug when the ship is in danger and to fill the air -with the distress signals of a siren with the hope that a United States life saving vessel will put to sea and save the lives of Canadian sailors. Canada, a nation, and in trouble, has a navy maintained at the expense of the old country taxpayer to guard the safety of Canada's shores in war.

That was in a debate back in May, 1928. I do not know what is coming in Canada, with all this Anglophobia which has been going on. We have from the press of the United States

9S2

A Canadian Flag-Mr. Church

and international radio broadcasts attacks on Britain and the Munich pact. We prefer discussing this academic question of the flag to that of needy workers who are to be forgotten. It seems that we are exerting every effort to get out of the empire, by every separatist movement we make. It puzzles me to know what Britain has done to Canada to cause this organized campaign of disparagement. As I have said on other occasions in this house, what does the union jack stand for? I will tell hon. members what it stands for. This is what I said in another debate:

The Saxon has marked around this earth, as has no other race before him, the scarlet circle of his power.

These are reasons why some people do not want to give up the union jack.

This thin red Saxon line, so thin with his numbers, so red with his blood, was made possible only by his heroism and radical fealty. Where this line has not gone man has not found. It has crossed every sea, it has traversed every desert, it has sought every solitude; it has passed through swamps where only the sacred ibis fishes, over sands that have never been moistened, over snows that have never melted. There has been no storm it has not encountered, no pain it has not endured, no race it has not fought, and no disease it has not contended with. This Saxon line has been to the earth a girdle tragic and heroic, binding within itself all the old and great places of the world. It has been silent in its duty, ignored in its achievement, and scorned in its devotion; yet it has given down to this now neglectful race a world such as mankind has never known before, an empire over which the sun and stars shine together, where night never falls nor dawn begins. The perpetuation of the British empire depends, first, upon its military duty, and secondly upon its political unification. Sectionalism in time and place must give way to laws so universal in their application that they differentiate in no way between the inhabitants of the overseas dominions and the United Kingdom.

_ The sentiment exists in almost every province. It was found also at the battle and siege of Londonderry. We look to Macaulay, who described what this flag meant to the people of his time, when he visited Ireland in his lifetime, when Britain was saved. Referring to this flag in the days of those great patriots who suffered and won great battles in the siege of Londonderry, in the history of our empire, he said that " the various tombs of the captains have been sought out and repaired and embellished. It is impossible not to respect the sentiment which manifests itself in these tokens. It is a sentiment which appeals to the higher and purer part of human nature and adds not a little to the strength of states. A people that takes no pride in the noble achievements of remote ancestors will never achieve anything worthy to be remembered." It is such

sentiments as that which are wrapped around the union jack and all it stands for. No other is just as good.

In addition something was said in this debate about our soldiers, and I refer to the glorious land of France where so many of our brave soldiers sleep their last sleep. The endurance of the glorious French nation toward whom the eyes of the whole civilized world were turned during the late war; the awful privations, trials, and tribulations they suffered and endured for humanity; the anxiety, pain and sorrow of that land will live in history as an example, for all time, of the most sublime patriotism. So, if this union jack was good enough for those six hundred thousand men who went over to Flanders and France from Canada, and the sixty thousand who lie buried there, it should be good enough for those who stayed at home.

Reference was made yesterday to our relations with our sister country, the United States. There is a large body of public opinion in this country that supports the very fine relations we enjoy with our kinsmen, and long may those relations continue. But there is something to be said about the flag and democracy. One thing you can admire the people of the United States for is that they have one ruling power, the president and congress and the senate. Nobody can attack them. They have one flag, one school, and they are one nation.

This question of the flag and democracy was, on the anniversary of the birthday of Lincoln, February 12, last Sunday, the topic in many pulpits in Canada. At the dedication of the burial ground at Gettysburg he had this to say on democracy and one flag, and we can well take a lesson from it in regard to one flag for this empire. I think we should take a leaf out of the book of the people of the United States in this connection, and in regard to the way in which they honour their memorials and heroes. On that occasion President Lincoln said:

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth upon this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battlefield of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this. But in a larger sense we cannot dedicate, we cannot consecrate, we cannot hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it far above our power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember, what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here.

A Canadian Flag-Mr. Brunelle

It is for us, the living, rather to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us, that from these honoured dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion; that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain; that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people, by the people, and for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

I think those are reasons why there is a very large body of public opinion opposed to any change in our flag, especially at this time when dictators are leaping out of the trenches and advancing to the Baltic, the Black sea and the Mediterranean. This is no time for us to make a change; rather we should back up one flag for the whole empire. That speech will live for all time. All state governors were present to honour the dedication of Arlington cemetery on the field of Gettysburg. A famous orator of this day, Hon. Mr. Everett, was the chief speaker, and President Lincoln was called in at the end to say a few words. His classic belongs to the ages and should be a guide to Canada and democracy.

Mr. H. E.' BRUNELLE (Champlain) (Translation): Mr. Speaker, I wish first to congratulate the hon. member for North Battleford (Mr. McIntosh) on his tenacity and perseverance, for it is the fifth or sixth time, I think, that his motion for the adoption of a distinctive Canadian flag gives rise to a debate such as the present one.

On the 12th of December last I attended a celebration at Three Rivers, sponsored by a patriotic society, of the anniversary of the Statute of Westminster. On that occasion as on many others it was quite visible that the independence of our young nation is dear to all hearts. Indeed, this independence is for us a cause of legitimate pride.

As citizens of a self-governing nation it is quite natural and consistent that we should wish to enjoy the privileges incidental to that status, such as the abolition of appeals to the Privy Council and the adoption of a distinctively Canadian flag. I wish to have recorded in the proceedings of the house a resolution forwarded to me by this patriotic society:

The Saint-Jean-Baptiste Society of Trois-Rivieres would be happy to see this country fly a distinctively Canadian flag during the coming visit of our king, George VI.

We hope that the government will introduce a motion on that subject at the next session of parliament.

(Signed) Maurice Galinas.

Last year I supported the hon. member for North Battleford's motion for the adoption of

a Canadian flag. I support it again this year and with still greater conviction. The mother country having seen fit to grant us our independence, she will naturally expect us to appreciate the privilege and take full advantage of it.

Sooner or later we shall have a Canadian flag, so why not now? I will not repeat the arguments I propounded last year, in order not to take up too much of the time of the house, as our hon. friends opposite have been doing for some weeks. I shall here venture a digression which will serve as a reply to the hon. member for Davenport (Mr. MacNicol) who has just been complaining of the uselessness of a discussion of this nature.

In answer to a question the government stated that the Davis inquiry had cost $12,580. The inquiry before the public accounts committee will probably cost as much, and if it is true that each sitting day of the session costs about 812,000 the Conservative party will bear the responsibility of having made the country spend more than 8120,000 to discuss a question which had already been definitively settled by the Davis commission. Is it not strange to hear hon. members opposite speak of the great number of unemployed workers and, at the same time, cause the useless expenditure of $120,000?

I would like to add that the arguments used against the adoption of a Canadian flag do not meet with the approval of the majority of our citizens. It is quite the contrary. Such arguments are futile. Many persons have asked me what objections are raised by the opponents of the proposal. Seeing that previous speakers have mentioned all the arguments in favour of a Canadian flag, I took the trouble to read the speech delivered last year by the hon. member for Broadview (Mr. Church) who has just resumed his seat. Let me read a few extracts from the forty minute speech which he delivered on that occasion.

I quote:

The union jack was good enough for 600,000 soldiers who fought for you and me in France and Flanders, and it should be good enough for the civilians who stayed at home.

Does that mean, sir, that those 600,000 Canadian soldiers would not have fought for England, had we had a distinctive Canadian flag? I always understood that the last war was fought in order to make the world safe for democracy.

I quote again:

There is no demand for a distinctive Canadian flag.

A Canadian Flag-Mr. Brunelle

I wonder if the hon. member took the trouble to ascertain the views of many of his electors, or if he saw only one or two.

I believe in the policy of one king, one flag, one school and one empire. . . .

The hon. member could have completed the list, with a statement frequently heard on July 12. and said that he believes in the policy of one language.

I resume the quotation:

I have consulted with a great many people about this flag issue, and the general feeling is that it would be better for us first to provide a proper fleet on which to hoist a flag, and not boats like the Minnie M, the Ada Alice, the Island Queen, the Luella, and the Shamrock. I do not know where this Canadian fleet is, though I read naval orders.

Further on he says:

So I say, wait until we get an adequate fleet to carry a flag and sufficient men to man the fleet. On land and sea and in the air what are we doing to-day for our own protection? Simply hoisting the pan-American flag in and out of this house.

He went on:

We should do well to go back to the days of Sir John A. Macdonald and remember his declaration, "A British subject I was born; a British subject I will die."

And he said further:

Is it advisable at the present time to raise this question when we are depending upon the motherland for maritime protection?

We are trying to establish an air force in Canada. We know how war has been revolutionized in the air. If the enemy were to sail up the St. Lawrence, what would be our position? We are unprepared; while we are talking about a new flag they could blow up the citadel, proceed to Ottawa and blow up these buildings and the Chateau Laurier.

Mr. Speaker, I have quoted those words from the hon. member for Broadview because he is one of the warmest supporters of the union jack and one of the fiercest opponents of an essentially Canadian flag.

Continuing, he said:

The new flag would no doubt please a good many people in all the provinces; but, as I say, if the enemy sailed up the St. Lawrence, where would we be? Somebody in the committee might say, "We have pan-Americanism to protect us."

His concluding remark was the following:

The people of Canada never voted or consented to that, and they have not voted on this question with regard to a change of flag.

I could find nothing more convincing than that in the speech of the hon. member for Broadview. That is what those who are opposed to a Canadian flag call arguments. It reminds us of the stone age artists who, after having drawn the likeness of a horse or a dog, had to write underneath it: this is a

horse, or this is a dog. The opponents of a Canadian flag and their arguments may be compared to the prehistoric artists and their works.

In conclusion, Mr. Speaker, I do say that our loyalty towards the Empire and the Crown have nothing to do with this motion. And I should like to answer what the hon. member for Davenport (Mr. MacNicol) said a few moments ago when he made a special appeal to the French-Canadians. He stated that we should be the first in wanting to retain the union jack, because it is mostly derived from the Fleur-de-lis flag! Let me say to the hon. member that we do love France, her culture, her arts, her literature. We also love England, but our chief concern is for our country, Canada, because we have no other fatherland.

In order to have any significance, a flag must be distinct from those of other nations. Let us hope that the Statute of Westminster will completely eliminate whatever colonialism we may still harbour, so that we may fully enjoy the distinct privilege of having a national flag. The days of a double allegiance are past. After all the question is: are we or are we not Canadians? If we are not, then let us go and live somewhere else, under the flag we prefer. The way has been shown to us recently by some one who is highly-placed. If this were done, there would only remain in this country true Canadians who could sing with sincerity these words from our national anthem:

Le ciel a marque sa carriere

Dans ce monde nouveau.

Toujours guide par sa lumiere,

II gardera I'honneur de son drapeau.

There is no room in this country for a divided allegiance, Mr. Speaker. When His Majesty King George VI pays us a visit next spring, we shall be receiving the king of Canada, and I venture to say that the king of Canada will find it quite natural to see flying throughout this dominion, wherever he goes,- a distinctively Canadian flag.

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Subtopic:   A CANADIAN FLAG
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CON

Gordon Graydon

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. GORDON GRAYDON (Peel):

Mr. Speaker, rising to express my convictions with regard to the resolution I should like first of all to refer to the masterly manner in which the hon. member for North Battleford (Mr. McIntosh) voiced his oft-repeated arguments in favour of a new and distinctive Canadian flag. Whatever inherent weaknesses there may be in the hon. member's argument-and I contend there are many-one cannot justifiably say that he did not conduct the argument in a most forceful and eloquent manner in his attempt to turn the parliamentary scales in his favour. I am convinced that not

A Canadian Flag-Mr. Gray don

only the hon. member but those sections of public opinion in Canada favouring the change are sincere in their endeavours to obtain a distinctive national flag. However, there are many people who, although sincere, may be somewhat misguided. May I say to the hon. member and to those who support him in his sponsoring of the change in our flag at this time that perhaps that word may be suitably used.

I never expected-and I believe my position is in common with that of other new members-that one of the problems we would be asked to debate during our term of service as new members would be the old union jack itself. And so in these days, when there is such a great desire for unity in Canada, it seems exceedingly unfortunate, from the point of view of national solidarity that this highly explosive subject should be debated. I say that because there is such a wide divergence of opinion, and views which are held strongly but honestly on both sides. Under such circumstances the possibilities of consequent bitterness over a change in the flag might well be minimized by leaving matters as they are for the present.

Apart altogether from the possible effect upon national unity there are those in Canada who feel that perhaps to make a change in the design of our flag would constitute, to some at least, an implied notice of a further desire towards insularity as far as the empire is concerned. I have not very much to say in favour of any hon. member who will stand in his place and wrap himself in the union jack, without having some real and honest conviction with regard to the subject in question. But surely, Mr. Speaker, even in these days some of the sentimental ties which bind Canada to the empire should be preserved. In my opinion the least we can do in Canada to-day is to preserve that one sentimental tie of the union jack, particularly at this time when we are soon to welcome with open arms Their Majesties the King and the Queen. Regardless of other arguments it seems to me there are many Canadians who, under ordinary circumstances, might conceivably favour a change to a distinctive national flag, but who in the face of the visit of their majesties would hesitate to sponsor any such idea just now. Our retention of the union jack will serve to show their majesties that Canada is not lacking in affection for the motherland, and that in addition to having a common monarch we fly in common with England the same flag.

I listened with some interest to the strong argument made by the hon. member for

Davenport (Mr. MacNicol) to the effect that if the matter were really of great national importance to Canada any proposed action in regard thereto would have been initiated by the government and not left to a private member. I have great respect for the Minister of Justice, but I cannot help but think that with his great enthusiasm in support of this change, which was exhibited so well in his speech this afternoon, it is curious that he has not translated that enthusiasm into the introduction of a bill, backed by the government, to change our flag. Had that been done, there would have been some evidence of the courage of the government in that respect.

The hon. member for North Battleford used the words "national defeatism" and "national darkness" as an implication of the ends to which our steps would be directed if we opposed his resolution. It seems to me that we have entirely lost our sense of proportion when it is claimed that one class or section of this country has a monopoly of loyalty or affection to the British empire or to Canada itself as compared with any other particular class or section. Who can say that because of certain honest and sincere policies advanced in the House of Commons we are travelling toward national darkness or national defeatism?

If there is one thing we need in this country it is courage in our national life. I refuse to believe that there are those in Canada who would voluntarily travel along the paths indicated. The hon. member quoted extensively from his scrap-book of editorials, but he did not quote from that great national newspaper, the Evening Telegram of Toronto; had he done so I am sure it would have proved very enlightening.

Once a flag design is altered there is no warranty as to the finality of the change. From the proposed designs I have seen from time to time I am free to say that they would be open to serious and frequent challenge throughout the years that lie ahead. There would be nothing to prevent resolutions of this kind being proposed at every subsequent session, with the obviously resulting confusion. The only guarantee we can have in this regard is to leave the national ensign as it is.

With a depressed agriculture, with low wages and insecurity in industry, with a restless youth and evidence everywhere of criticism of unpopular and unbusinesslike public expenditures and unbalanced budgets, is it any wonder that the people who send us here become impatient when the time of the house is consumed by a discussion prompted by a desire to change the flag? Let us not endanger parliamentary institutions in these days when eager, hopeful eyes

A Canadian Flag-Mr. Hyndman

are turned to parliament seeking prosperous conditions for the populace. Until some of our most urgent national obstacles are removed, let us not attempt to abolish the flag we have. Let us change the conditions over which the present flag flies before we attempt to alter the flag itself.

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

Alonzo Bowen Hyndman

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. A. B. HYNDMAN (Carleton):

Mr. Speaker, I should like to congratulate the proposer of this resolution (Mr. McIntosh) upon the manner in which he has brought it before the house. I was glad to hear him say that he hoped that the debate would be kept on a high plane. A subject of this kind should always be discussed from the national rather than the party point of view.

The hon. member said that the debates on this subject in the past had caused " consternation " in the Conservative party, but I am sure that if he were to consult his Liberal friends privately and quietly he would find that many of them are not in favour of changing the flag at the present time. The hon. member proposes setting up a special committee. I do not like that word " committee," especially after the experience we had with a certain other committee. I feel that we would get nowhere with a committee. I refer to the interdepartmental committee that acted in connection with the Bren gun. That committee was supposed to pass upon certain proposals put before it, but its recommendations were overruled. I feel that if this question is to go before a committee there will be a possibility that the recommendations of that committee will be overruled.

Topic:   MILITARY DISTRICT NO. 10-SUPPLY OF BEEF,
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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):

That is rather far-fetched, apart from its being out of order.

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

Alonzo Bowen Hyndman

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. HYNDMAN:

The hon. member quoted from various newspapers which were favourable to his resolution, but I venture to say that there were many opposed to any change in our flag.

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:

I ask the hon. member to quote some that are opposed.

Topic:   MILITARY DISTRICT NO. 10-SUPPLY OF BEEF,
Subtopic:   A CANADIAN FLAG
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CON

Alonzo Bowen Hyndman

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. HYNDMAN:

I propose to give the house the statements of a number of outstanding men throughout this dominion. First I mention Mr. N. C. Poison of N. C. Poison and Company, who said:

I think this move is just one step further away from the imperialism that should animate all of us.

Then Mr. A. O. Dawson, president of Canadian Cottons, said:

It doesn't appeal to me. The union jack is a good emblem. Good enough for me. This seems to me to be a dividing, rather than a unifying move.

Clinton Henderson, of Henderson, King and Charland, Limited, exporters, had this to say: I think the old flag will do for me. It is good enough for me, for as long as I live.

Then we have that outstanding Canadian, Sir Edward Beatty, president of the Canadian Pacific railway, who said:

While I do not think anyone will charge me with being anything but Canadian, I am not one of those who have a feeling of restiveness, nor is my inferiority complex heightened by reason of the fact that I live under the union jack. For a long time it has stood for some of the best things the world has witnessed, and it is likely to continue doing so.

The Hon. Gordon Scott, president of the Royal Empire Society, said:

I prefer to stick to the old union jack. It is symbolic of all that is good in the world and that will be good enough for Canadians.

The next is Doctor A. Bercovitch, one of the outstanding medical authorities in the city of Montreal, if not in the Dominion of Canada. He had this to say:

The union jack is good enough for me as long as I live. I don't see any reason for a change. We can be proud of the union jack.

Sir Charles Gordon, president of the Bank of Montreal, said:

The union jack is good enough for me. Colonel Philip Abbey, former officer commanding, second field brigade, royal Canadian artillery, stated:

The flag we have is O.K. with me.

Mr. C. E. Gravel, a French Canadian business man, said:

At the present time, I am not in favour of a change in Canada's flag as I am of the opinion that public officials should spend more time in the solution of the country's financial problems and difficulties.

Next we have an outstanding minister of the United church of Canada. Doctor F. W. Kerr of St. Andrew's church in West-mount, had this to say:

I am perfectly satisfied with things as they are. Any change at the present moment which would suggest disunity in the empire is to be deplored.

Mr. J. S. Rigby, a flag manufacturer, said: We should keep the union jack.

F. Winfield Hackett, K.C., said:

We are a part of the British empire and that flag has taken care of all our needs to date. Too many flags may lead to too much confusion, the %vay we are at present organized.

Then Major W. W. Gear, of William I. Gear and Son, shipping and travel agents, had this to say:

The government has more important things to do than think about flags, and the union jack should be retained.

A Canadian Flag-Mr. Hyndman

Colonel Royal Ewing, one of the greatest marksmen in Canada, who has been to Bisley year after year, says:

I think the union jack is still all right.

B. W. P. Coghlin, president of the Montreal board of trade says:

If we try to work out another design it will divide Canada even worse than it is at present.

And finally I quote John A. Charron, president of the building trades council:

The flag we fly has always suited me.

There you have, Mr. Speaker, the opinions of prominent men from all over Canada, and I think their opinions are entitled to respect. The mover of the resolution (Mr. McIntosh) is far astray when he says that Canada is unanimously in favour of changing the flag. I submit that there should be such a unanimous desire throughout the country before the change is made, and I claim that there is no such universal desire. National unity is at stake in Canada at the present time, and surely, Mr. Speaker, this is no time, as I suggested in the debate on the address, to throw another controversial question into the arena. We have enough disunity as it is. So far as I am concerned no representations have been made to me to change the flag- not one. I think our time could be better spent in trying to reduce relief costs and the present high taxation, because these really are burning questions throughout the country to-day.

I listened to the Prime Minister (Mr. Mac. kenzie King) last night, and I certainly agreed with him when he said that one month of this session had gone by and absolutely no government business had been done. But I agree also with the leader of my group (Mr. Manion) that we were doing public business when we considered the Bren gun contract. This is what the Prime Minister said last night:

What I wish to make perfectly plain at this moment is that the government have been sent here by the people of Canada to carry on the business of the country, and the first duty of parliament is to get on with that business, no matter what anyone may say or wish. When private members, whether through resolutions or any other circumstances whatever, occupy the entire time of parliament so that it is impossible for the government to get on with a single measure, then I say the time has come for the government to take such action as is necessary and imperative to see that it can get ahead with the public business.

I suggested in the early part of this session that the hon. member for North Battleford withdraw this resolution, because it undoubtedly is contentious, and if he had withdrawn it at that time we should not be having this discussion to-day.

When the house is asked to consider changing the flag, we must remember that in Canada we have not only English, French, Irish and Scotch, but, in addition, quite a mixed population. I looked up the Canada Year Book for 1938, with respect to the origins of our people, and I found that in 1921 our English, Irish and Scottish population numbered 4.868-, 738, and in 1931, 5,381,071, and our total population in 1931 was roughly ten millions. So half the population of Canada is not made up of English, Irish and Scottish. The Freneh-Canadian population in Canada in 1931 was 2,927,990, and surely they have a right to say: Let us have a flag emblematic of the Freneh-Canadian. Then there are Austrian, Belgian, Bulgarian, Roumanian, Chinese, Czech, Dutch, Finnish, German, Greek, Hebrew. Hungarian, Indian, Eskimo, Italian, Japanese, Polish, Russian, Scandinavian, Ukrainian, Jugoslavic and various other people. We should have a lovely flag if it was going to represent them all!

I repeat, Mr. Speaker, that no one in this country is advocating a change in the flag. If it was a burning question, I would say all right, let us consider it. So far as a distinctive Canadian flag is concerned, the idea is perfectly all right, and if the hon. member for North Battleford would bring down a flag to the house and say, "This is the flag that I propose Canada should adopt as its distinctive national flag," I would not oppose it if it met with my approval, but I am certainly opposed to sending this question to a committee of the house.

We must also consider the number of different religions there are in Canada. We have for example, Adventists, Anglicans, Baptists Buddhists, Christians, Christian Scientists, Church of Christ Disciples, Confucians, Con-gregationalists, Doukhobours, the Evangelical Association, Friends (Quaker), the Greek Church, the Greek Orthodox Church, the Holiness Movement, International Bible School, Lutherans, Mennonites, Methodists, no religion, pagans, the Pentecostal Church, the Plymouth Brethren, Presbyterians, Protestants, Roman Catholics, the Salvation Army, the Unitarian Church, the United Church, and various other religions. These are the religions of the people of Canada as classified at the decennial census, so I say, Mr. Speaker, that we have in this country so many different races and so many different religions that we had better leave a question of this kind alone at the present time, and not stir up strife when we have so much already in this country.

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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At six o'clock the house adjourned, without question put, pursuant to standing order. 9SS Questions



Thursday, February 16, 1939


February 15, 1939