November 8, 1945

LIB

James Horace King (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. SPEAKER:

If there is not unanimous consent of the house I shall have to ask the hon. member to resume his seat.

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:

All right.

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

Angus MacInnis

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. ANGUS MacINNIS (Vancouver East):

Mr. Speaker, it is not my intention to prolong the debate. The leader of this group, the hon. member for Rosetown-Biggar (Mr. Coldwell) stated the position for the group this afternoon. That position is that we are in favour of this resolution's passing, and in favour of setting up a committee to carry out the purposes of the resolution. I would n6t have risen at all had it not been for the fact that there seems to be some difference of opinion as to what we are discussing. We are discussing the setting up of a committee, and not the referring of anything to that committee. It is for that reason that we opposed Mr. Speaker's ruling a moment ago.

In my view we should now proceed, and if there is any difference of opinion let us have a vote on the resolution so that we may know where everyone stands.

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

Frédéric Dorion

Independent

Mr. FREDERIC DORION (Charlevoix-Saguenay) (Translation):

Mr. Speaker, to my mind, no occasion can more properly call for the use of the French language than this debate, because it must be admitted that the French Canadians-and such a statement implies no reflection upon others-have always, on this question as on all other matters, shown themselves to be first and foremost Canadians inasmuch as they have long advocated the adoption of a national flag.

Canadian Flag

I shall speak for a few minutes only, because I would most certainly not want to delay the passing of this resolution. I take this opportunity to tender my congratulations to the present government for having moved this resolution embodying the principle of a national flag for Canada, and I am prompted to do so by the fact that I am not one of those who believe that any measure, initiated by political opponents must foe considered as wrong.

I desire also to offer my congratulations to the leader of the C.C.F. party (Mr. Coldwell) upon his magnificent contribution to this debate. He has expressed the sentiments of a great majority of Canadians who wish to see their country advancing toward the status of a real and practical nation, free from the ties of the old colonialism whose policies too often have been dictated by interests from outside.

From the Progressive Conservative party we hear statements which are at variance and indicate that, unfortunately some of the members of that party have not yet realized the difference between colonial servilism and the free association for the attainment of a common aim.

As was said to-day by many hon. members, the question now at issue is not whether we should withdraw from the British commonwealth of nations; on the contrary, the point is that we should take a decision which will show that we are at last conscious of the position we occupy within that association of nations and which will certainly give more value to the action we are deliberately taking. While asserting that we should ever aim at more and more complete independence, I say that at this time, in view of the difficult problems which are coming up in the world, in view of the international situation which brings us the gravest problems we have ever had to solve, it is perhaps preferable that we should for the time being remain within the British commonwealth of nations. To my mind, that should not prevent us from implementing measures like this because I, for one, would rather have union in independence than blind and servile sufomissiveness.

Surely every Canadian worthy of the name will be happy to see, to-morrow, that the country's representatives in Ottawa have passed unanimously, I hope, the resolution now before the house.

I have in mind particularly my fellow-citizens of the province of Quebec who, deprived of their flag since 1760, have since done

everything in their power to find a symbol representative of their ideal. I am convinced that to-morrow they will be delighted to approve the decision taken by the committee appointed under this resolution. I do not know the names of the committee members, but I feel confident that their decisions will be consistent with the views set forth in the house1 to-day and I particularly hope that the flag they choose will be neither French nor English but truly Canadian.

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

Some hon. MEMBERS:

Hear, hear!

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

Frédéric Dorion

Independent

Mr. DORION:

The red ensign has been

mentioned. Obviously-and this point need not be discussed very long-the red ensign is not a flag and can still less be considered as a Canadian flag. I would not forgive myself for not referring at this time to the suggestion put forth this afternoon that consideration of this resolution was premature and that it would be better to discuss matters other than the national flag. I was particularly surprised to hear the hon. member for Jasper-Edson (Mr. Ivuhl) speak as he did. As a matter of fact, he belongs to a group represented in the province of Quebec and whose vice-president is now standing for Beauce county in a by-election. I understand the hon. member must have expressed the policy adopted by that group and I suppose the national vice-president must have approved the statement made in the house this afternoon by the hon. member for Jasper-Edson.

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

Pierre Gauthier

Liberal

Mr. GAUTHIER (Portneuf):

Hear, heart

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

Frédéric Dorion

Independent

Mr. DORION:

Mr. Speaker, this matter

is of paramount importance. We have waited so long for this symbol of our ideal that, far from wasting our time, we are taking a course of action long overdue and which I hope the house will approve unanimously.

(Text).

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

Herbert Wilfred Herridge

Independent C.C.F.

Mr. H. W. HERRIDGE (Kootenay West):

Mr. Speaker, as one who has great affection for my mother country, for the national flag of that country, the union jack, and for many British institutions, I rise to give wholehearted support to this resolution. The government of the day has done a good thing for Canada by introducing this resolution at this time. In my opinion this is the most fitting time for this matter to be considered by the house. More than ever is it essential that we build in this country a national unity of purpose. I believe a distinctive Canadian flag will be a great factor in the future in building a real

Canadian Flag

national unity of purpose in Canada. I believe it will be the symbol around which all Canadians can rally in future to build a greater and more united Canada.

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

John Horne Blackmore

Social Credit

Mr. J. H. BLACKMORE (Lethbridge):

Mr. Speaker, the Social Credit movement believes in the British commonwealth and empire. The Social Credit movement believes the British commonwealth and empire is the greatest organization that exists or ever has existed, making for the four freedoms and for the general blessing of all families of the earth. The Social Credit movement believes that the united nations organization for world security should be modeled' after the British commonwealth and empire, being a free association of autonomous communities, equal in status and in no way subservient one to another in any aspect of their external or domestic affairs. The Social Credit movement looks upon the union jack as being the symbol of the British commonwealth and empire. Social Crediters desire that the union jack shall keep an honoured place in any Canadian flag.

The union jack is the most distinctly Christian flag on earth. Each of the crosses of1 Saint George, Saint Andrew and Saint Patrick is a Christian cross. The origin of its recognition and use as a Christian symbol reaches back deep and far into generations dimly remote. On earth to-day there are no people more devotedly and fervently, though soberly, Christian than the British' people. Canada is devotedly and fervently Christian. What symbol can possibly be found1 more fully representative of Christian Canada than the union jack, a beautiful and inspiring blend of three Christian crosses? This fact should weigh heavily as a cogent reason for including the union jack in any Canadian flag.

Social Crediters are not unmindful of the fact that many hundreds of thousands of Canadians have marched into solemn battle for the cause of right under the union) jack. They remember, too, with sober reverence tens of thousands of Canada's noble youth whose lacerated young bodies sleep in far-off soil, each wrapped in, the union jack. This, we believe, constitutes another most urgent reason why the union- jack shall occupy an honoured place in any Canadian flag. We want to make it abundantly clear to all people, and particularly the C.C.F. people and the socialistic people throughout the country and the people who are seeking to undermine the loyalty of the people for the

[Mr. Herridge.f

great British ideal, that we are not advocating any condition of subservience on Canada's part; we merely want the union jack in Canada's flag as a mark of reverence and respect for the origin of our people.

We have no particular objection to the resolution. We wish to put our case definitely and clearly, that all men may know that the Social Credit movement desires that the union jack shall be an honoured part of any Canadian flag.

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

Howard Charles Green

Progressive Conservative

Mr. H. C. GREEN (Vancouver South):

Mr. Speaker, I rise this evening to say a few words because of the remarks of my good friends the hon. member for Rosetown-Biggar (Mr. Cold-well), who is leader of the C.C.F., and the hon. member for Temiscouata (Mr. Pouliot), which were made this afternoon.

In the first place, I was surprised to hear the - leader of the C.C.F. party speak as though Canada had never had a flag. Of course that may be because he was not brought up in this country, and I do not hold that against him in any way.

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

Louis-Philippe Picard

Liberal

Mr. PICARD:

That is cheap.

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

Howard Charles Green

Progressive Conservative

Mr. GREEN:

Just keep still. He spoke

of being a boy in England and of carrying the Cross of St. George in a procession. But the position here in Canada, at any rate in my province of British Columbia, when I was a boy many many years ago, was that we thought we had a Canadian flag; that flag was the Canadian red ensign, although I think at that time the coat of arms consisted of the coats of arms of the four provinces which originally formed confederation. We had that flag depicted in the school books we used; in my own town we celebrated the 24th of May, and other towns celebrated the 1st of July, and on those occasions invariably this Canadian flag and the union jack were flown; we were very proud of our Canadian flag. It was not until I came here as a member of parliament ten years ago that I realized that officially we had no flag. Unofficially, in so far as my province was concerned we certainly had a Canadian flag. So that we start off with that background.

Then there is the fact that this same Canadian red ensign was carried by the Canadian troops in the present war. As the Minister of Veterans Affairs (Mr. Mackenzie) said this afternoon, it has flown for years on Canada's embassies and was used at San Francisco. We are not in the position of starting afresh now without what hundreds of thousands of Canadian people think is the Canadian flag.

Canadian Flag

I would ask hon. members to bear that in mind, and I suggest that it be kept in the minds of the members of the house who serve on this committee! I repeat that the leader of the C.C.F. was a little bit "off the beam" when he made the statement he did this afternoon. *

The other point which was brought up this afternoon about which I should like to say a few words has to do with his other remarks, which I construed as meaning that he thought the new flag should not have the union jack in it. I may be wrong in taking that meaning, but certainly his speech could be interpreted in that way.

Of course there was no doubt that the hon. member for Temiscouata does not want to have the union jack in the new Canadian flag. He made his position perfectly clear. I thought he dealt with it rather lightheartedly, considering the way many of us feel about this subject. We feel just as deeply about it as he does about his own convictions.

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:

Will my hon. friend permit me? I did not speak lightly about it. I spoke lightly of the arms of Canada, which I find crazy; but it is not the union jack; it is the arms of Canada.

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

Howard Charles Green

Progressive Conservative

Mr. GREEN:

Well, the impression I got

was that the hon. member was treating the whole matter in a lighthearted fashion.

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:

No, no; I revere the flag.

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

Howard Charles Green

Progressive Conservative

Mr. GREEN:

I am confident I speak for

my great riding of Vancouver South, for the city of Vancouver, and for the province of British Columbia when I say that we are in deadly earnest in insisting that the union jack must be in this new Canadian flag. I do not think there is an hon. member from British Columbia who will question that statement. If there is, I would ask him to rise in his place and speak the other way.

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

Herbert Alexander Bruce

Progressive Conservative

Mr. BRUCE:

Nor from Ontario.

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

Howard Charles Green

Progressive Conservative

Mr. GREEN:

I believe that, with the

gallant little province of Prince Edward Island, we have the finest record of enlistments both in this war and in the last.

This belief bf ours that the union jack must . be in the flag goes so deep that I cannot adequately express it.

The same belief is held by the Canadian Legion, the strongest soldier organization in Canada. I have here a copy of the Legionary for the month of August of this year, in which is reported an interview between the dominion officers of the Canadian Legion and our Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King). I am going to read it to -hon. members, because I think

it is significant; it shows both the beliefs of the legion and the beliefs of our Prime Minister. It states:

Canadian Flag .

An informal discussion, in which all present participated, then took place on the question of a Canadian flag.

As I said, this is a report of an interview between the Prime Minister and the senior officers of the legion.

Prime Minister King was anxious to hear the legion's views on this subject and was told of the dominion convention resolution favouring a distinct flag for Canada, provided that it ' contains the union jack at its top, left-hand quarter, as in the red ensign which is now the official flag of the Canadian army and merchant marine, and which since V-E day has been flown on special occasions from the peace tower of the parliament buildings in Ottawa.

That gives the stand of the legion. I am now going to read the stand of the Prime Minister:

Mr. King assured the legion officers that, so far as he-was concerned, the new Canadian flag should certainly contain the union jack. It might be debatable whether a single maple leaf in the fly would be preferable to the Canadian coat-of-arms at present incorporated in the Canadian red ensign, but it would be unthinkable to have a flag for this dominion that did not contain the union jack.

The other dominions of the commonwealth, our great sister nations, have the union jack in their flags-Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. Canada is the senior dominion. Think of the effect around the world if Canada adopts a flag without a union jack! Think of the effect in every part of the empire and outside the empire if we take a step of that kind! It is all very well to bait the empire and the commonwealth and1 make jocular remarks in this house and outside, but the cold, hard fact is that Canada needs the empire to-day as she has never needed it before. If there ever comes another world war the chances are that it will be fought on Canada's territory. It will not be a case of sending an expeditionary force to Europe this time; there will be an expeditionary force coming from the motherland and Australia and New Zealand to help us defend this country. Do not let us run away with the idea that we can poke fun at the empire without doing damage. I suggest to you, Mr. Speaker, that this is the worst possible time to take any step whatever either in connection with the flag or in any other way that might be construed as weakening the British commonwealth.

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

Fred Rose

Labour Progressive

Mr. FRED ROSE (Cartier):

I wholeheartedly support the resolution before the house, because the party for which I speak

Canadian Flag

to-night has advocated it for quite a while. I discussed this matter more than a year ago when I spoke of the necessity for a Canadian flag. In the programme of the Labour-Progressive Party we have this provision: "Adopt an official Canadian flag and proclaim 'O Canada' the ^national anthem of the country." In the second place, I am in favour of this resolution because I come from the province of Quebec, and in that province the people have been for a long time calling for a distinctive Canadian flag-a distinctive flag, not a flag with any adjuncts from other countries.

It is about time we recognized that the world is changing, that it is not static. As a result of this war Canada comes out a powerful country that cannot be tied to any one group. Canada must look for friends and customers throughout the world. We are not an agricultural adjunct of any one empire. We are an agricultural and a great industrial country, and therefore we have to speak with an independent voice. A flag is a symbol of that independent voice.

The British are very fine people, and they have fought heroically in this war and have withstood all sorts of onslaughts. They have their flag. We here in Canada respect them and thank them for all that they have done. But we have done our bit on our part and have also helped them, and we say that we have a right to our own Canadian flag. The union jack is a very fine flag, but I would say that in many instances it has not always stood for the best. I should like to see our flag minus the union jack, so that we shall not be blamed by tens of millions of people for what is done by the imperialist interests in Indonesia. We do not have to be blamed for what they do. We have to speak with an independent voice, and that is why I am fully in accord with the resolution to set up a committee that will study a distinctive Canadian flag.

I wish to protest and protest strongly against the idea that any one flag is a Christian flag or a non-Christian flag. We have heard too much of that language in this house in the past few weeks.

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