Hon. W. E. ROWE (Dufferin-Simcoe):
Mr. Speaker, last evening it seemed as if the house was a little weary of discussing this
subject, but the issue is before us and, as the Minister of Justice (Mr. St. Laurent) has well said, we must deal with it according to our best and most careful judgment. I can quite appreciate that a good many people in this countiy are anxious for a distinctive national flag. It is perhaps only natural that they should desire some svmbol of the place that we have established for ourselves in history. I think we all stand on common ground in our desire to make this country the greatest in the world. Our growth has been truly enormous, and with it our sovereignty has changed from time to time. Perhaps that is the reason why some n-ow desire that we should have a flag that will be conspicuously different from the flag we have flown in he past. We have a permanent place to-day in world affairs. Never was our place so prominent in world affairs as it is to-day. Twice during this century we were the first jountry not only on this continent but in the whole western hemisphere to declare war against an enemy to our peace and freedom, and as that greatest Britisher, Mr. Winston Churchill, has said, no country, no bond of men anywhere can more truly claim to represent the linchpin of peace and world progress than can Canada as a result of our geographical location and our international outlook which we have inherited from the motherland because we are the onlv part of the great family of British nations that is represented on this continent.
In the discussion of matters that are so close to the hearts of the people of Canada as our flag, some of the statements that have been made in this house particularly in years gone by do not, I think, represent the opinion of the majority of the people of this dominion. There may be those in the house to-day who would prefer some kind of emblem that would tend to weaken our allegiance to the British crown. With all respect for their viewpoint I say that they do not come from any particular race. Indeed I have heard those who were born in the old land, in England herself, make statements in this house to the effect that our continued association in the partnership of the British commonwealth of nations was not a dtesirable course for us to pursue indefinitely, but rather that we should grow up and be more national in our outlook and depend more upon ourselves. Everyone has a right to his own opinion, but I do not see how in the face of world conditions to-day they can wisely advocate such a course. Liberty' exists only by law itself. We must get the law from some place.
To those who say that we as a party on this side of the house have been flag wavers
in the past-that statement is not made so much following the recent great war-I say that I am proud to belong to the party so charged, because there never was a time when the people of this country, and' indeed the people of the world, realized more keenly than they do to-day what the empire has stood and stands for. Call it empire or call it an imperialism or what you will, some of my hon. friends, loyal to the core and loyal to Canada, men. who have been decorated in both great wars, still mention their objections to imperialism.
The word has grown to be a kind of parlour gibe against Britain and, indeed, against our very allegiance itself. Yet there is nothing fantastic or mysterious about empire. Some force, as I say, must lie behind our security, our freedom and our liberty. To-day there are three great empires, and with world events moving as swiftly as they are, these empires promise to be the great policemen of civilization in the future. To the south of us lies the great empire of the United States; another great empire is separated from us by no great distance, as distances are counted to-day, beyond the north pole. Is there any harmful reflection in describing these great powers as empires? Is their imperialism something which is objectionable?
In our discussions as to what any flag may represent in Canada, we have made bogeymen out of those two words, empire and imperialism, more than any two other words in the dictionary. I am not preaching imperialism. But I would ask you, Mr. Speaker, and any other hon. member within the sound of my voice, would it have been better, to satisfy such parlour gibings, and to show to the world her generosity, if Britain before this war had given Malta to Italy or Gibraltar to Spain? Would the alliance of the united nations be a stronger force for world peace if Russia, in order that some of their tender feelings would not be hurt by her being called an imperialistic nation, had surrendered her strategic positions in the Baltic? Or would that third great region of power, the republic to the south of us, have been stronger, or would we have been more secure, if she had abandoned her control of the Panama canal? And as regards Canada, let her be as nationalistic as you will, as independent as you will, as great a sovereign power as we hope to be; would our survival have been rendered more certain if Great Britain, to avoid the charge of imperialism, had surrendered long ago the Suez canal or Singapore?
I mention these matters simply because I feel that our security, and the four freedoms
of which we talk so much, depend on forces which lie silently behind and assure our very liberty itself. '
At times, I know, some of my hon. friends to your right think I am not very generous; for instance, the hon. member for Vancouver Centre (Mr. Mackenzie).
Subtopic: APPOINTMENT OP COMMITTEE TO CONSIDER AND REPORT ON SUITABLE DESIGN