November 14, 1945


The house resumed, from Tuesday, November 13, consideration of the motion of Mr. Ilsley: That in the opinion of this house, it is expedient that Canada possess a distinctive national flag and that a joint committee of the Senate and the House of Commons be appointed to consider and report upon a suitable design for such- a flag; That standing order 65 of the House of Commons be suspended in relation thereto; That the said committee have power to send for persons, papers and records to aid in the discharge of its functions; and That a message be sent to the Senate to inform their honours that the House of Commons has appointed this committee and to request their honours to appoint members of the Senate to act thereon with the members of the House of Commons as a joint committee of both houses.


PC

William Earl Rowe

Progressive Conservative

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

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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).

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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:

Oh, no.

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PC

William Earl Rowe

Progressive Conservative

Mr. ROWE:

I love him just as much as I can love any Scotch Grit. I can only say that I have no apology for any position I take in this matter. I speak for myself, as the minister did when he expressed his views, or the Minister of Justice (Mr. St. Laurent) when he addressed us last evening. I am not going to stir their ire this afternoon, although I have noticed that the hon. member for Vancouver Centre is always in better humour in the afternoons than he is in the evenings. But I must insist that this is the most important issue which will come before the house this session, in fact the most important which has arisen here since I became a member of parliament in 1925. I do not say that because of its effects on the unity of this great dominion. There, again, never has a word been more misused in the life of this young dominion than "unity". Men have been marching with the banner of unity in one hand and the stiletto of separation in the other for the last twenty-five years. I make no charges against anyone. I believe that no better omen, for unity has arisen than during these last awful years when boys from the province of Quebec, bom of the great historic French race, have died side by side with those of English race born in the province of Ontario. Men of the French-Cana-dian race have been decorated with the Victoria Cross; and I am* proud to know that behind me are two V.C.'s, one of the present and one of the last great war. No race has a monopoly of valour or of loyalty to our great purposes, and there is no occasion for bitter controversy. If my hon. friend who shakes his head has some other viewpoint, he has a perfect right to assert his belief that it is in the interests of this young dominion to become more and more independent, and that we can grow sturdier, stronger and more secure if you abolish the union jack and put in its place a flag bearing the maple leaf, which is emblematic of Canada and something to represent the traditions of the French and English races.

Mr. Speaker, the issue far transcends such considerations. I repeat that it is not a case of saving the national unity of Canada. That unity has been saved; it has been cemented

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with the blood of Canadian, boys in two great wars. Do not let us believe in the bogey that this country is going to fall to pieces. Our security, our hopes and aspirations, our very existence depend on Canadians standing together. If once they fell apart, where would they go? In a time like this I do not know who would want them, no matter which section of the country had ideas of separation. We are living in a new age, and the tempo of our lives is now swifter than at any time in the last twenty years. Conditions have changed the face of the globe and brought new risks to civilization. Was there ever a time when it was so necessary to have the closest possible unity within the country and the strongest agreement on the fundamentals of security with safety to- plan for the future? What has happened? The swift aeroplanes which in 1934 were the pride of old England and served this young country in connection with the British commonwealth training scheme in its earlier stages are now obsolete. The jet-propelled planes which we see fleeting across the skies have changed the whole picture. Therefore I say we must face the realities of the present time.

I have sympathy with the government in its position. I admit that it is its prerogative to say whether or not it is going to give a directive to the committee which is to be appointed. The Minister of Veterans Affairs has said that he stands in favour of the union jack. The Minister of Justice (Mr. St. Laurent) says that he prefers the union jack, although he reserves his right to vote as he pleases when the committee reports. The Prime Minister of Canada (Mr. Mackenzie King) is reported to have favoured the union jack on any Canadian flag, and I know that those who represent most closely the hundred thousand who have lost their lives, the Canadian Legion, would be greatly disappointed if on any flag that might be adopted in Canada the union jack did not have a prominent place. I am satisfied moreover that of the several thousand not yet back from overseas there are very few who do1 not believe that we in this house should come to a general agreement as to what shall constitute one of the major features of so important an emblem.

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LIB

Pierre Gauthier

Liberal

Mr. GAUTHIER (Portneuf):

What would be the hon. gentleman's idea of an agreement? He. wants the union jack on the flag. Would he be prepared to concede something else to those who want something else?

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PC

Thomas Langton Church

Progressive Conservative

Mr. CHURCH:

We are not going to be

talked out of the British empire.

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LIB

Pierre Gauthier

Liberal

Mr. GAUTHIER (Portneuf):

I am asking the question of the hon. member for Dufferin-

Simeo.e.

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PC

William Earl Rowe

Progressive Conservative

Mr. ROWE:

I tried to make my decision clear last night and before I resume my'seat I shall attempt to do so once more. As I said last night, I am not so much concerned about the precise details of this great flag. I am concerned, first, about the change, and, second, about the question whether it will weaken or strengthen this nation. I contend that our place in the sun to-day is due to the fact that we are the only representative of the British family on this hemisphere, situated as we are or might be like a nut between the jaws of a nutcracker, between Russia on the one hand and the United States on the other, if those great regional powers ever had a really serious conflict. If they had, we would be the Belgium of thirty years ago.

I may be asked, what has that to do with the question? It has this to do with it. I believe that this house should come to an agreement on the question and that the government, on an issue as important as this, an issue that was regarded as important enough to be mentioned in the speech from the throne, should give leadership to any committee that might be set up to study this matter. The government should give that leadership, and I believe that, if they did so on the floor of the house, my hon. friend and those who have other points of view would come to an agreement that the union jack should be left in the upper corner and occupy a conspicuous part of that flag. I believe that would give to the world a more uniform, expression of our part in the British commonwealth of nations, and I can think of no more glorious respect we could pay to the king in Canada, the British crown itself. To me, the union jack in the upper corner of such a flag would be emblematic of many things. It enshrines the upright cross-and this is a Christian nation. It represents the crown-ami this is a British nation.

I am not going to delay the house, but I must say that I regret very deeply that the government has not given us that lead. I regret equally that we have not seen fit as a House of Commons, although I hope we can still at this late hour agree, to have representation on that great flag of the fundamental principles that I have indicated. There has never been a time in the history of this dominion when not only those of British origin but those of the French race as well had reason to feel so proud of being members in the empire and the British commonwealth of nations. *

I do not care what you call it. The letter killeth but the spirit giveth life. If the British

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commonwealth of nations had not taken the stand it did in 1940; -it this country also had not declared war when it did, where would civilization be to-night? With the atomic bomb being developed as it is, where is our security for the future? Why should we be forever sniping at those to whom we owe allegiance?

I hope that any change which is made in the flag will not be interpreted by the world as an evidence that this nation is weakening. We are growing up; we are becoming stronger, and we are increasing in stature and strength because we are within the family of the British commonwealth. It is no disgrace to belong to that family. Where 'is there to-day a power like that of the British commonwealth of nations, of which we form an important part? The great French race has contributed much throughout our history toward making this country great and independent, and perhaps it is well that we should have a leveller, someone to remind us that we should grow up. But I know that we have grown up, for we are the fourth power to-day. Moreover, we stand in the unique position to which I have referred, belonging to a great world organization for peace, the greatest that civilization has ever seen, neither a regional- power like Soviet Russia nor a regional power like the great United States of America, but a world power represented in every hemisphere -in Asia, in Europe, in America and in Africa. For that reason we as Canadians can feel proud, young though -we are as nations go, in the fact that we are more international in our outlook than the United States was before the war. I say this because we have a European outlook on the one side and just as broad an outlook on the other. To-d-ay we are struggling to maintain our sovereign rights, while some are* harping about independence, so much so that at times one would think we were a power that could withstand anything in the world.

Let us agree upon something that will indicate clearly the allegiance -we owe to the British commonwealth of nations, not because some were born in Britain any more than because some were born of the great French race; no, Mr. Speaker, but for our security, for our freedom, our liberty and our very [DOT] existence let us realize that we should go with the greatest mediator of all, the one with the world outlook, the only mediator between those two great regional powers to which I have referred. Let us be in the future not only the senior dominion, and eventually the most powerful part of the commonwealth-we can be, Mr. Speaker, and my hon. friends of the French race an important part of it; let us

be, as we are now, not only a part of the British family of nations, -but the very heart of it. Geographically we are located so as to make that possible; traditionally we have almost achieved that position already.

In conclusion, may -I say I am deeply disappointed- that the government' has not taken fuller responsibility on this issue. -I say that because two or three ministers have already announced that the union jack will be on any flag that is adopted-; others have not indicated where they stand. Perhaps some of the ministers have not given the matter much thought. I hope that in their quiet meditation over it in the place where they carry on most of the government, they will change their minds and give a directive to this committee, so that Canada will be represented by a flag which means at least closer association with the power without which civilization will tremble from the impact of regional powers on what will be the great powers of the future. Therefore I say, Mr. Speaker, I am not ashamed; I am proud- that our country has a close allegiance to the crown. I should like to see the union jack remain as it was, but I am sorely disappointed that this government should recklessly allow this motion to go to a committee without giving any leadership in the selection of a standard identification of our young country with the greatest safeguard of civilization-the British commonwealth of nations.

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CCF

Major James William Coldwell

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

Mr. M. J. COLDWELL (Rosetown-Biggar):

A few days ago I spoke on the amendment. I now want to take just two or three minutes on the motion to make my position clear. I do not suppose anybody in this house has a greater love for the people of the British isles than I have; I do not suppose anyone in this house has derived more from the British isles than I have, and I want to maintain the closest association with the people of the British isles. I believe that in that association there is great good. But I also believe that the partnership of the British commonwealth must be that of free and equal partners, free -and equal peoples, none subservient to the other.

I am sometimes amazed to find that the people who in this house, and sometimes in the country, wrap themselves in the union jack, are the people who describe as foreign^ ers some of us who happened to be bom in the land to which they profess so much allegiance. I have been so characterized by some of them myself. I want to -add this, that when we are discussing this matter I take it we are discussing it in the spirit in which the motion was proposed, in the spirit in which

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the Minister of Veterans Affairs (Mr. Mackenzie) discussed it, and in the spirit in which I discuss it myself.

The motion reads as follows:

That in the opinion of this house, it is expedient that Canada possess a distinctive national flag and that a joint committee of the Senate and the House of Commons be appointed to consider and report upon a suitable design for such a flag.

It is not the function of this house at this time to choose a flag. I am often critical of the other place, but to my mind it is a distinct discourtesy to the other place, and particularly from those who profess such a respect for the other place, to rise in this chamber and suggest that either the government or this house should designate the flag which the joint committee should recommend. I also think that to make the matter a political issue is against the best interests of this country. I believe that the purpose of some of the speeches in this house has been to make this a political issue throughout Canada. I want to protest against it. This committee is to be established; this committee is to examine all the proposals for the adoption of a flag that will meet the wishes of the majority of the people of this country, and therefore the committee should be free to recommend whatever flag it decides to choose. If it is the will of the Canadian people, and I rather anticipate it will be, that the union jack shall be a part of that flag, then I have no doubt whatsoever that this house will adopt the flag so recommended. But let us keep this matter clear. This debate is unreal; it should not have taken place at this time. The debate has consumed three days, in which time a great deal of froth has appeared on the top of otherwise empty pails, if I may put it that way, and I only wish we could blow it all away and forget all about it, because it will do much more harm than good.

Let us establish, this committee. Let us say to that committee: You are charged with recommending to parliament, and to both houses of parliament, a suitable design for a flag. Then, when we have that recommendation, we can come to a decision. If we do not like it, we can turn it down and1 appoint another committee, or the government can come before the house with a proposal for a flag. Let us forget all these emotional appeals which have not meant anything at all. I do not believe carrying on my sleeve my love for my country. It has been said many times that that kind of patriotism is the last resort of the scoundrel, political scoundrels as well as every other kind of scoundrel. I want to protest against it, because I have been challenged in this house. None can challenge my

loyalty to this country or to those who nurtured me as a child and gave me the opportunity to receive the education and so on that I possess. I protest against this sort of thing. Let us discuss this in a reasonable and proper manner; let us refer it to the committee, and let this house judge, when we ' receive the committee report, whether or not it is the one that we should1 adopt.

Mr. NORMAN J. A. M. LOCKHART (Lincoln): It is not my intention to delay the house for more than a few minutes, but I am glad of the opportunity to say just a word in reply to the hon. member for Rose-town-Biggar (Mr. Coldwell), the leader of the C.C.F. group. I wonder whether he is treading on a very narrow margin when he imputes motives to some who have spoken in behalf of or against this resolution. I say to him in all sincerity that I do not think he can claim any more loyalty or allegiance to Canada or to the motherland than any other hon. member who has spoken. I think that every man has been sincere-

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CCF

Major James William Coldwell

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

Mr. COLDWELL:

I was very careful not to do that. I object to anyone trying to pretend something else.

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PC

Norman James Macdonald Lockhart

Progressive Conservative

Mr. LOCKHART:

I do not question the sincerity of any hon. member who has spoken in this debate, and that is the reason I rise now to say a few words-and this may be the last speech; I do not know.

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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:

I hope so.

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PC

Norman James Macdonald Lockhart

Progressive Conservative

Mr. LOCKHART:

I am here to reflect if possible the thoughts of the people whom we are here individually to represent. I happen to come from perhaps the most southerly section of this country, a section in which in the early days of Canada, long before confederation, many thousands of United Empire Loyalists gathered together and formed what was then known as Upper Canada, with its seat of government in the old town of Newark, now known as Niagara-on-the-Lake. I know that the Minister of Labour (Mr. Mitchell), who represents a great part of that southern peninsula in Ontario, would join with me in many of the utterances I might make in that connection.

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LIB

Humphrey Mitchell (Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. MITCHELL:

Good people; the salt of the earth.

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PC

Norman James Macdonald Lockhart

Progressive Conservative

Mr. LOCKHART:

There is no question about it. I am glad the minister agrees with me in that.

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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:

Carried.

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PC

Norman James Macdonald Lockhart

Progressive Conservative

Mr. LOCKHART:

In that district arose such great names as the Secords, the Services,

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the Chryslers, the Butlers and many more. Anyone here who knows the history of Canada will not soon forget what was done by Butler's Rangers in the wars of long ago. Many other such names can be recited. Nor could I overlook the name of that family which had to do with the development of one of the greatest transportation systems in this country, the ship canal through the Niagara peninsula. The founders and promoters of that system were none other than the ancestors of the distinguished and hon. member for Vancouver-Burrard (Mr. Merritt) -I refer to the Merritt family.

So I say I have just claim to the right to try and reflect the minds of those people. By letter, telegram and resolution I have received definite instruction to oppose any change whatsoever in the Canadian flag, and to object to the introduction of a resolution of this kind. I believe some of those people to a large extent have been moved by sentiment. I know, however, that they are a reasonable and a wonderful people, and they will understand the situation confronting us. The people back there are descended from those who fought and died in the pioneer days of this country. One can come only to that conclusion after viewing the monuments at Queenston Heights, Lundy's Lane, Beaver Dam and Chrysler's Farm and many more, all of which have been erected to commemorate the heroes of those early days.

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PC

John Ritchie MacNicol

Progressive Conservative

Mr. MacNICOL:

And Stoney .Creek.

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PC

Norman James Macdonald Lockhart

Progressive Conservative

Mr. LOCKHART:

Yes, and Stoney Creek. Those monuments look down upon a new generation, a generation with slightly different ideals. But the old traditions still exist.

I had originally intended to oppose this resolution. I have given the matter careful thought. One reason for my opposition might have been that there are more serious problems confronting us, such as housing, the rehabilitation of veterans and the like, and that such matters should have priority in our debates. The government has taken the responsibility of introducing the resolution. I am not going to take time to spread it on the record again, because many hon. members have already done so. Some of the ministers of the crown have laid emphasis on the value of speeding up the business of the house, and with what they have said in that respect I am heartily in accord. But I did like the note sounded last night by the Minister of Justice (Mr. St. Laurent) when he urged that hon. members should try to place this matter far above the realm of party politics. I am attempting to show how groups who can rightly number themselves

among the very pioneers of Canada can be moved by sentiment to give utterance to certain expressions which, after a little thought, they might possibly moderate to some extent.

The Minister of Veterans Affairs (Mr. Mackenzie) presented the resolution in a most capable way. At this point I must take exception again to what has been said by the leader of the C.C.F. I say the government knew the traditions and background of the people of this country, and it had a perfect right to give some direction. I disagree with the hon. member for Rosetown-Biggar in that respect. Had the Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King) been here I am sure he would not have gone back on his statement, which was placed1 on the record by the hon. member for Vancouver South (Mr. Green). Had he been in the house, rather than away from Ottawa and engaged in other major deliberations, I am sure he would not have reversed his opinion so quickly as all that. May I quote only one sentence from what he said: "The new Canadian flag should certainly contain the union jack." To my mind the word "certainly" is most emphatic, and I believe the sentence I have quoted reflects the attitude of the Prime Minister.

The Minister of Veterans Affairs, too, touched upon this point, and also made specific reference to the possibility of using the Canadian red ensign as our flag. I commend him for that, because it shows the general tendency. Then the Minister of Justice made this significant reference-and I am sure he meant every word he said-

If a committee is chosen to select a suitable design for a flag that will be a distinctive national flag for Canada, I would be very much surprised and, I may add, disappointed, if a majority of that committee did not have the same feeling about it that the Prime Minister expressed in his declaration to 'this delegation from the Legion.

Those were the words used by the Minister of Justice when he referred to the Prime Minister's declaration.

We now reach the point where we must make a decision on the resolution. There has been delay , by members of the government in giving explicit direction in accordance with the views of the Prime Minister as expressed. I am sure that had the Prime Minister been here he would have repeated what he said to the Legion. I suggest we should have had better direction from the responsible ministers. In the last analysis, while the Minister of Justice said he was speaking only for himself, the people of Canada look upon him as a responsible and senior minister of the crown. There is no question that his words will be

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considered as words of guidance to the committee. I say that with all due respect for his statement that he is only voicing his personal opinion.

We have reached a point where matters in connection with this resolution should be clarified. When the average citizen reads the words of a responsible minister he understands those words as having a bearing upon the destiny of this nation. My constituency and that of the Minister of Labour form one of the great settlements possessing some of the oldest traditions of Canada. Those people fought and died, I repeat, under the union jack. The old tradition is still there, and it must be recognized. And that is not the only part of Canada that can lay claim to having such traditions.

Reference has been made to the words of the Prime Minister, and we have listened to the splendid presentation 'by the Minister of Veterans Affairs, who went so far as to mention the possibility of using the Canadian red ensign as a distinctive Canadian flag. The Minister of Justice has given us his personal opinion. All this will have a bearing upon the actions of the committee.

I have done my best to broaden the viewpoint of the people of my particular district, people whose blood has been shed in defence of the union jack. I am prepared to go back to them and show that' the time perhaps has arrived when we should have some distinctive emblem for the Canadian people. But I ask that the responsible ministers of the crown who have expressed themselves to some extent should make sure that those ideas are conveyed to and impressed upon the committee. The fullest recognition must be given to the flag under which practically all of the people of this country have been reared. I will be one hundred per cent opposed to any report coming from this committee which does not maintain these traditions in the selection of a Canadian flag.

I will support the motion to send this matter to a committee. I commend the ministers who have spoken, somewhat vaguely I am sorry to say, and given some direction to the committee. I shall be interested to see what the committee brings before this house. In the meantime I intend to support the motion and will do my best to satisfy the people who may appear a little extreme in their views.

I believe that this is a matter of the greatest importance to this country. I know there are sections of the country which are just burning up over this question. Our soldier boys who are coming back want to see this question settled in the way indicated by most of the expressions of opinion here, including

those of many members of the government. I admonish the ministers of the government and those who will be on this committee that in selecting a distinctive Canadian flag they must give one hundred per cent preference to the use of the union jack; they must see that it is embodied in any Canadian flag that may be adopted in the future.

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PC

John Bracken (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. JOHN BRACKEN (Leader of the Opposition):

Mr. Speaker, before this debate concludes I wish to make a brief statement on the general position of the party I have the honour to lead, in connection with the matter before us. Before making that statement I wish to say a word of sincere commendation to all those who have taken part in the debate. In doing so I impute no unworthy motive to anyone who has spoken and I ask only that no unworthy motive be imputed to me or to those for whom I speak.

If I may summarize briefly the discussion to which we have listened now for two days or more, it is that three points of view have been presented. First, there are those who would prefer to retain the union jack and have nothing else as Canada's flag. Second, there are those who would have the union jack as no part of a national flag. Third, there are those who are willing to have a distinctive flag and to make some compromise to have it.

Before I state our position I wish again to commend the frankness, the sincerity and the obvious desire for unity on the part of all who have spoken. Many disagreed1; all cannot have their way, but all held their views honestly and have presented them as they saw them. Personally I do not think either of the extremes I have mentioned is as generally acceptable to this house as the middle course, so that I find myself aligned with those who favour a distinctive flag for Canada on the condition that there be no discourtesy shown to the old flag, on the condition that the old flag will not be discarded or relegated to a position of inferiority in the flag decided upon.

For two days now we have listened to a debate on the question before us. The views of the party I have the honour to lead were expressed on Thursday last in the amendment moved by the hon. member for Nanaimo (Mr. Pearkes). It is our view that the time of the members of this house would have been conserved and the objective of the government achieved by an acceptance of that amendment. That procedure would not only have saved the time of the house, but would have avoided contention and delay in the committee.

It is our view that the Canadian red ensign, with the union jack in the upper left-hand corner and the Canadian coat of arms in the

Canadian Flag

fly, is the flag which might well have been adapted by this parliament as the distinctive flag of this country. As I have said, if that had been done this house could have saved a great deal of time for the consideration of the mass of other important measures which the government has brought down or proposes to bring down this session.

But the government chose not to have it that way. Our amendment was ruled out of order by His Honour the Speaker, and on our appealing against the Speaker's ruling the government voted solidly against us.

We then advanced a second amendment, the one moved by the hon. member for Lake Centre (Mr. Diefenbaker), that the committee proposed to be set up be instructedi to include the union jack in a prominent place in the design of the flag that it determines upon. The Speaker ruled that amendment out of order. On our appealing against his ruling, the government again voted against us and our second proposal, like the first, was denied. We have thus stated our general position quite clearly. Both our amendments have been opposed. We are therefore left with two alternatives. We can either oppose the government's resolution, or we can support its proposal, a proposal which gives no instructions whatever to the committee as to the general character of the flag.

As the house will have gathered, if we vote for this resolution, it will be on one consideration only, namely, the expectation that the union jack will be in a prominent place on the flag decided upon. We suggested on Thursday last that the Canadian red ensign, with the union jack in the upper left-hand corner and the Canadian coat of arms in the fly, might well be Canada's distinctive flag.

That, in brief, is our position. We feel that there is every justification for retaining the union jack in any distinctive Canadian flag, and we feel also that there is justification to have associated' with it some distinctive Canadian feature, such as the Canadian coat of arms, or as some desire, the maple leaf. With these two principles we are in agreement.

Our position on this question was to have been determined by the attitude of the government with respect to the union jack. It had been our intention, if the government refused to give us positive assurance with respect to the union jack in any distinctive Canadian flag, to vote against the resolution. We had hoped for a definite declaration from the government which brought forward this resolution as a government measure. We have not had a definite declaration, but we have received some indication from the Minister

of Justice (Mr. St. Laurent) that a majority of the committee is likely to approve the main suggestion we have made.

On that interpretation of the minister's remarks, we have decided to support the resolution. If, however, the committee should report against having the union jack in a prominent position on a Canadian flag, we shall oppose the report when it comes back to this house. It is on these grounds that we have decided not to oppose sending the matter to a committee.

Topic:   CANADIAN FLAG
Subtopic:   APPOINTMENT OP COMMITTEE TO CONSIDER AND REPORT ON SUITABLE DESIGN
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November 14, 1945