Within the last few months the Liberal party have promised to give the Canadian people, within one year of attaining office, a distinctive Canadian flag, and the New Democratic party also stands behind this promise to give Canadians a distinctive national flag.
I am reminded by the hon. member for Essex East (Mr. Martin) that in 1945 the Liberal party promised to give Canada a distinctive national flag in the speech from the throne, part of which I should like to read. This is to be found at page 8 of Hansard for September 6, 1945:
Honourable Members of the Senate:
Members of the House of Commons:
My ministers believe that the position attained by our country among the nations of the world makes it desirable that Canada, like the other nations of the British commonwealth, should possess a distinctive national flag. You will be asked to appoint a select committee of members of both houses of parliament to consider a suitable design for a Canadian flag.
As a matter of fact there was such a joint committee appointed. It sat for nine months over the period of two years. After 12 years of Liberal regime we still have not a distinctive national flag. That we have no distinctive national flag is established by the fact that all political parties are promising such a flag. We would not promise something that we have; we are promising something that we have not.
That there is a popular demand for a distinctive national flag is also established by the fact that all political parties have included such a proposal in their platforms. This shows there is a demand for it, because no political party promises things the people do not want.
As we all owe allegiance to our respective political parties, we are all committed to giving Canadians a distinctive national flag. However, we have not succeeded in doing this and therefore the only way we can determine the question is by holding a referendum. The matter of a referendum was suggested in 1946 by a member of the committee set up to study this matter. I quote from page 130 of the proceedings of that committee. Mr. Han-sell, the then hon. member for Macleod, said:
I do have a suggestion to make. It is not along the line of a motion at all. I do not know whether it will be acceptable to the committee, but I should like to see these two flags submitted to the people of Canada and let them decide. I think it would be well worth the time and money that would be involved. Let them decide.
Subtopic: PROVISION FOR REFERENDUM ON ADOPTION OF CANADIAN FLAG