Mr. W. F. KUHL (Jasper-Edson):
This resolution urges the expediency of Canada's possessing a distinctive national flag. I agree that an anomaly exists with respect, to the matter of a Canadian flag, and I and my associates in parliament are in favour of removing this condition. But personally I consider that under the constitutional conditions prevailing in this country at the moment such action is premature. There are other and more important actions to be taken before it is appropriate to adopt a new flag.
The flag question is just one of the many anomalies which exist in Canada's constitutional position. Some of these have been referred to this afternoon. One of them, the matter of Canadian- citizenship, is intended to be dealt with at this session. There are others, such as amendments to the constitution, appeals to the privy council, the power of disallowance, the matter of a federal district propei'-and doubtless there are others. All these anomalies ought to be dealt with, and I am personally in favour of dealing with them at the earliest possible opportunity. But I consider that the present piecemeal method is improper as well as undemocratic. I contend that the people of Canada are not being consulted in the manner in which I believe they ought to be concerning their rights in these questions.
I wish to indicate, Mr. Speaker, my reasons for contending that the method that is proposed to attempt to remove these anomalies is improper and undemocratic. Then I wish to indicate what I consider to be the proper method to use. To do this I first wish to endeavour to account for the constitutional circumstances in which we find ourselves at the moment.
The question which must occur to every hon. member of this house and to every other citizen in this country is, why do such anomalies exist in our constitutional position? How did they come about? There must be something in Panada's constitutional history that accounts for the circumstances in which we find- ourselves. No other part of the British empire finds itself in the same circumstances. Why are these conditions peculiar to the people of Canada? In endeavouring to answer
these questions, and in suggesting what I consider to be the proper remedy for them, I am not posing as a constitutional expert, although I may say it is now ten years since I began my studies on this subject, and I trust I shall not be considered presumptuous in claiming to have added a little to my knowledge in that time.
The matters which I wish to discuss are those with which every public school child in the seventh and eighth grades, every high school student, and certainly every voter, should be thoroughly familiar. Every citizen in the land should know by what authority we do things in this country. On several occasions during the past two parliaments I have argued the case I am about to introduce, but very little attention- was paid to my statements either in the house or out of it. On this occasion I intend to be heard, and if not I demand to know the reason why. I consider that the situation which I shall discuss is of such importance that a reply or a comment should certainly be forthcoming from the Acting Prime Minister (Mr. Ilsley) the Minister of Justice (Mr. St. Laurent), and for that matter from all hon. members of the house. I and the people who have sent me here have a right to know whether there is or is not a basis in fact for my contentions, and if there is, they have the right to know what is going to be done about it.
I propose to make a reasoned argument supported by the best evidence I have been able to secure. If my argument is to be controverted, I demand that it be met with a reasoned argument and not with personal abuse and statements which are wholly irrelevant. I expect a more intelligent criticism of my argument than was exhibited by a certain hon. member when I discussed this subject in a previous parliament. In Hansard of April 8, 1938, at page 2183, this little exchange took place between myself and the hon. member for Selkirk, Mr. Thorson:
Mr. Thorson: Would the hon. member indicate where he gets these queer ideas?
Subtopic: APPOINTMENT OF COMMITTEE TO CONSIDEB AND REPORT ON SUITABLE DESIGN