November 8, 1945

PC

Robert Earle Drope

Progressive Conservative

Mr. DROPE:

I was paired with the hon. member for Northumberland, N.B. (Mr. Maloney). Had I voted I would have voted against the Speaker's ruling.

Topic:   CANADIAN FLAG
Subtopic:   APPOINTMENT OF COMMITTEE TO CONSIDEB AND REPORT ON SUITABLE DESIGN
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PC

Thomas Langton Church

Progressive Conservative

Mr. CHURCH:

When the house rose at

six o'clock I was referring to the fact that the government had no mandate from the country to introduce this resolution. The proof of my statement is to be found in the exhibition that we saw to-night not only in. the house but outside it. The action of the government in introducing this legislation is going to lead to more disunity in this country than we have ever had, in addition to the grave problems that now face us. In the address in reply to the speech from the throne the Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King) said that it should be postponed. The last time I asked a question in the house about the flag I suggested that it should be laid over until after the war and until our soldiers

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had come home. I believe he agreed with me. What is the result? Without any order in council they went to work and changed the anthem. The House of Commons never heard of the anthem, beyond a question asked once or twice, but now that has been changed.

I do not like to refer to these matters, because I am not a man of that stamp. This question was not raised during the last election campaign except in one or two places. I am sorry to have to speak in this way in this house, because I have supported certain principles here, and as I said this afternoon, I intend to keep on supporting them. But how does it happen that a motion of this kind should be brought forward at a time like this?.

Topic:   CANADIAN FLAG
Subtopic:   APPOINTMENT OF COMMITTEE TO CONSIDEB AND REPORT ON SUITABLE DESIGN
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LIB

James Horace King (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. SPEAKER:

Order. I wish to direct

the attention of hon members to citation 112, paragraph (d) of Beauchesne:

A member attending a sitting of the house:

fd) must not interrupt any member who is .-speaking by disorderly noises or in any other .manner.

Topic:   CANADIAN FLAG
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PC

Thomas Langton Church

Progressive Conservative

Mr. CHURCH:

I believe the government

is making a very grave mistake in taking up this question at this time. You will notice, Mr. Speaker, that the resolution is worded differently from what it was on any previous occasion. It says that "it is expedient" which is the language used in motions moved by private members. I have been here during five or six parliaments, and this question has always been brought up on the motion of a private member; it was never brought up in this way, to go over the heads of hon. gentlemen meeting in another place. By this resolution we are instructing them what to do. Over there they have never suggested any change in the flag. After all is said and done, until confederation this was largely a matter of property and civil rights in the provinces. We never bad any trouble about the flag when Sir Wilfrid Laurier was prime minister of this country; the union jack flew over this government building then. He went over to the diamond jubilee. Canada which was first in the diamond jubilee procession, was the last of all the dominions to send a contingent to South Africa. It was even said here that such action woud be contrary to the British North America Act and against the constitution; but the1 government of the day under Sir Wilfrid Laurier were compelled to send a contingent to South Africa. This established in this country from that day forward that when Britain was at war, Canada also was at war. Those were his very words. At that time the union jack was flown over these buildings. There was no order of the House of Commons, because we are only one branch of the houses of

parliament; there is another branch in another place. The flag resolution now before us repeals standing order 65. I have been here for many sessions, but never before have I heard of that rule being suspended in a case like this. All the standing orders relating to joint undertakings with the Senate are being initiated by this irregular resolution, over the head of the House of Commons. Then this committee has power to send for papers, and a message is to be sent to the Senate.

I suggest to the government that we are getting pretty far afield in our relations with the mother country and the rest of the empire. Let us take up first things first; homes for soldiers; jobs for soldiers and civilians; protection against evictions and many other things like that. The other day I saw a class of ten or twelve school boys from the Glebe collegiate standing in front of the monument to Sir John A. Macdonald. A teacher was there, and a little student was giving an address. He said that Sir John A. Macdonald was the father of his country. Well, we will have to look to our laurels, because I am afraid the principles he supported in this country will soon be forgotten by hon. gentlemen opposite. We have had many examples of this trend on the part of the government recently, since June 11. Even before the mother country has had time to recover from war weariness they are willing to dissolve the empire along the lines I have suggested, with a separate flag, a separate anthem, a Canadian for governor general, abolishing appeals to the privy council, pan-Americanism and so on. Let me repeat to the proposers of this resolution, as I said in this house last March:

The British empire has stood for centuries like the Rock of Ages for the peace and security of the vrorld. Next to the Christian church the British empire has done more for freedom, liberty, humanity and civilization and for the peace and security of the world than any other agency, and no one else has done so much for the w-eaker nations. Britain has protected them with her fleet for four centuries, and even during this war. The tragedy which has overtaken civilization in the past twenty years was born of the league o.f nations and all its works.

Let me 'refer to the reason, as I see it, for bringing up this resolution at the present time. There was an election on June 11, and the Prime Minister made some speeches during that campaign. I do not wish to be unfair to him, because I. have been a friend of his for a great many years. While I may differ with people in politics, I never let politics interfere with real friendship, while I stick to my principles. But I look upon it as very unfair on the part of the Prime Minister to put this resolution on the order paper

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at a time like this, after what he told the house in regard to the great complex questions we have to face in this country. Further, elections were held in the province of Quebec and various other provinces, during which many questions came up, including that of the flag. I noticed in one of the government organs in Quebec, L'Action Catholique, on June 7 an advertisement appeared in which it was stated that the Prime Minister had promised certain things along the line of what I call separation in this country: a separate flag and' anthem, a Canadian governor general and the abolition of appeals to the privy council.

This is not the first occasion on which it has been proposed to appoint a committee to deal with the matter of a flag. Away back in 1925-26, when the government had a majority of only one, two or three, a similar resolution was brought forward. When I asked for the production of certain information in regard to the committee I found it to be composed of the following gentlemen; G. J. DeSbarats, deputy minister of national defence; Thomas Mulvey, under-secretary; A. G. Doughty, dominion archivist; Commander W. Hose, director of naval service; Major General A. J. Panet, adjutant general, and J. S. Scott, director of the air force. How did it come about that only gentlemen of one religious denomination were appointed to deal with the question of a new flag? I objected at the time, and I believe the Prime Minister saw the force of my objection. I thought it was all wrong to ask valuable public servants like these, who had rendered fine service to this country, to undertake the task of a political committee of this kind. Only yesterday in this house I paid tribute to the civil service and to the Clerk of the House, one whom we all know and respect; and I thought it very unfair to impose this task in 1926 upon these gentlemen.

Some people seem to want us to get out of the empire altogether, but as I see it there is no question as to the future of this country. As Sir John A. Macdonald said, it is wrapped up with the motherland. I am in favour of one flag, the union jack, because that is the flag of our empire. I am in favour of one king, one anthem, "God save the King", one throne, one empire. I am opposed to any change in the flag at a time like this, for the reason that this parliament has no mandate from the electors. I support the cause of history and tradition. The flag stands for a symbol of empire. All hon. members will recall the great efforts in the old countiy to get control over the executive and over

expenditures. We forget what was done over there to give us the freedom and the liberty we enjoy to-day, and which has been copied by the United States and other countries. Men have been burned at the stake and tortured to give us freedom and civilization. The mother country secured for civilization that freedom. Her command of the seas for over 100 years, from the peace after Waterloo to the outbreak of the first world war won for the world that 100 years of freedom and peace, and secured for Europe three freedoms mentioned in the Atlantic charter: freedom from fear, freedom of speech, and freedom of religion.

It is not a flag, but what it stands for which is of importance. When Their Majesties visited Quebec, Ontario and other parts of Canada, in no places were they more joyfully received than they were by the people of Quebec. Many times during the last war I paid tribute to glorious France, which was our ally in the first world war, and which will always be a great country. She has been with Great Britain for a long time, and will continue to be by her side in the future. I believe the futures of France, Great Britain and the dominions are linked together. If they stand together in peace as in the war, with the United States and Russia I feel sure the world will enjoy an era of peace.

The flag, the union jack, represents equal rights to all and special privileges to none. It represents freedom and justice and protection; and so long as we remain part of the British empire her forces on land and sea and in the air will help us. We will remember how, after Dunkirk, the whole world stood aghast, and everyone thought Great Britain had gone. Save for the help she received from the dominions, she had no help against the axis powers.

The time is not ripe for this resolution, and this is the wrong way to go about it. We have seen both in and out of the house the disunity which the resolution has caused. It should stand until the Prime Minister returns. I understand he will be back shortly. He has been in the old country, and we should have the benefit of his views now on this question. He is soon expected in Washington, if indeed, he has not already arrived. I am very much surprised to see a resolution of this kind at the present time when, as citizens of the finest empire the world ever saw, unity should be our watchword.

Topic:   CANADIAN FLAG
Subtopic:   APPOINTMENT OF COMMITTEE TO CONSIDEB AND REPORT ON SUITABLE DESIGN
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PC

Herbert Alexander Bruce

Progressive Conservative

Hon. H. A. BRUCE (Parkdale):

Mr. Speaker, I rise to a question of privilege. At the beginning of the sitting this afternoon in my absence Mr. Deputy Speaker, the hon. member for Brantford City (Mr. Macdonald),

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challenged my veracity in respect of certain observations I had made yesterday, in these words:

As these observations were so completely without foundation as to be fantastic.

As I happened to have quoted from Hansard, as well as Beauchesne's Parliamentary Rules and Forms, my observations were based upon a solid foundation of fact.

Topic:   CANADIAN FLAG
Subtopic:   APPOINTMENT OF COMMITTEE TO CONSIDEB AND REPORT ON SUITABLE DESIGN
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LIB

James Horace King (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. SPEAKER:

I understood the hon. member for Parkdale wished to speak to a question of privilege. I would ask him to state his question of privilege.

Topic:   CANADIAN FLAG
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PC

Herbert Alexander Bruce

Progressive Conservative

Mr. BRUCE:

The question of privilege is that I, as a member of the house, have a right to the protection of the house. When an hon. member, even though he occupies the high and distinguished position of Deputy Speaker challenges my veracity, then I have the right to bring the matter to the attention of the house, and to show that I was not untruthful in the observations which I made yesterday. I maintain, therefore, that I have a perfect right to rise in my place at this time on a question of privilege and to object to the statement made by the hon. member for Brantford City earlier to-day.

Topic:   CANADIAN FLAG
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LIB

James Horace King (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. SPEAKER:

Order. I draw the hon. member's attention to Bourinot's Parliamentary Procedure, at page 303, where, under the heading "Questions of Privilege" it is stated:

It is the practice in the House of Commons to bring up a question of privilege after prayers, and before the house has taken up the orders of the day.

I think this is not. the proper time during a debate to raise a question of privilege, and I doubt very much if the hon. member is rising to a question of privilege. At page 307 in the same volume we find this:

A question of order in the house, or in a committee thereof, cannot be treated as a matter of privilege.

I believe, therefore, that the hon. member is out of order.

Topic:   CANADIAN FLAG
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LIB

William Ross Macdonald (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Liberal

Mr. MACDONALD (Brantford City):

I did not question the hon. member's veracity. I would suggest that, with the unanimous consent of the house, he might be allowed to state his position at this time.

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LIB

James Horace King (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. SPEAKER:

With the consent of the house, does the hon. member have the privilege?

Topic:   CANADIAN FLAG
Subtopic:   APPOINTMENT OF COMMITTEE TO CONSIDEB AND REPORT ON SUITABLE DESIGN
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?

Some hon. MEMBERS:

No.

Topic:   CANADIAN FLAG
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IND

Jean-François Pouliot

Independent Liberal

Mr. POULIOT:

I am sick of it.

Topic:   CANADIAN FLAG
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LIB

Pierre Gauthier

Liberal

Mr. GAUTHIER (Portneuf):

No, we have not the time.

Topic:   CANADIAN FLAG
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PC

Herbert Alexander Bruce

Progressive Conservative

Mr. BRUCE:

I would ask the hon. member to apply the same rule to himself that he applied to me when he said

Topic:   CANADIAN FLAG
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IND

Jean-François Pouliot

Independent Liberal

Mr. POULIOT:

I object. There is no unanimous consent. We have had enough of this antediluvian stuff.

Topic:   CANADIAN FLAG
Subtopic:   APPOINTMENT OF COMMITTEE TO CONSIDEB AND REPORT ON SUITABLE DESIGN
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LIB

James Horace King (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. SPEAKER:

Order. Since the hon. member has not the unanimous consent of the house he will have to resume his seat.

Topic:   CANADIAN FLAG
Subtopic:   APPOINTMENT OF COMMITTEE TO CONSIDEB AND REPORT ON SUITABLE DESIGN
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LIB

Ian Alistair Mackenzie (Minister of Veterans Affairs; Leader of the Government in the House of Commons; Liberal Party House Leader)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE:

May I say that we should accept the statement of the Deputy Speaker to the effect that he did not impugn the veracity of the hon. member for Parkdale, and that the incident be closed.

Topic:   CANADIAN FLAG
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IND

Jean-François Pouliot

Independent Liberal

Mr. POULIOT:

I positively object to it- definitely.

Topic:   CANADIAN FLAG
Subtopic:   APPOINTMENT OF COMMITTEE TO CONSIDEB AND REPORT ON SUITABLE DESIGN
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LIB

Ian Alistair Mackenzie (Minister of Veterans Affairs; Leader of the Government in the House of Commons; Liberal Party House Leader)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE:

Question.

Topic:   CANADIAN FLAG
Subtopic:   APPOINTMENT OF COMMITTEE TO CONSIDEB AND REPORT ON SUITABLE DESIGN
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IND

Jean-François Pouliot

Independent Liberal

Mr. POULIOT:

I have had enough of it.

Topic:   CANADIAN FLAG
Subtopic:   APPOINTMENT OF COMMITTEE TO CONSIDEB AND REPORT ON SUITABLE DESIGN
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November 8, 1945