November 8, 1945 (20th Parliament, 1st Session)


Jean-François Pouliot

Independent Liberal


Let us be indulgent to him. Of course I believe in the British North America Act, and he does not believe in it. If I am here it is because I was elected in accordance with enactments made by virtue of the British North America Act. But if I believedi the act to be void I would have the self-respect not to sit here; and I would tell my constituents, "I will not sit in that house until the House of 'Commons is reformed and constituted legally." My hon. friend is not logical. He has bored us to death for ten years with his unique speech; we have listened to him with patience

with a great deal of patience-and he comes along

Canadian Flag
with it again. I have been patient again to-day, but until the end of the year I will not be patient any more. I will ask him to wait until next year to deliver, for the eleventh time, his oration which is so full of spiders' webs.
That being said about what may be called the hors d'oeuvre of the hon. member for Jasper-Edson, let us come to the flag. You know, Mr. Speaker, it is the easiest thing in the world to discuss any matter, contentious or not, if it is done objectively; and my great regret is, I will not say the total ignorance-it may be that that would be too strong-but the perfect misconception of what a national flag is.
There is the word "ensign", which is general, which applies to all flags. The royal standard is an ensign. The merchant marine flag is the red ensign. There are all sorts of ensigns; it is the generic appellation of the flag.
In the United Kingdom they have many flags. In the first place there is the royal standard, which is the personal flag of His Majesty and follows him everywhere. There is the union jack, which is the land flag; it is the union flag, and it may be called the union jack only when it is hoisted on the middle mast of a ship; then it is a jack, a union jack; otherwise it is a union flag. The nautical ensigns are: tha white ensign for the navy, and also for the Royal Yacht squadron, the blue ensign for government vessels, and the red ensign for the mercantile marine.
I admire very much the union flag, the union jack. It is one of the finest flags, bearing the emblems of the three countries which comprise the United Kingdom. We have the Cross of St. George for England, the Cross of St. Andrew for Scotland, and the Cross of St. Patrick for Ireland. But in the United Kingdom the union flag is not considered at all as the flag of a nationality, because then the Welsh would repudiate it; they have no emblem on that flag. It is the flag of the United Kingdom, the flag of the country.
How is it that outside Great Britain, that is in the colonies which are called dominions, as well as in the colonies proper, the union jack is not considered any longer the flag of a country? It is considered the flag of a nationality. If that were right it would be no longer a flag, but a banner, because in its essence a national flag represents the soil of a country. It represents the country itself; and if there is sentiment attached to it, it is precisely because those who look at that flag remember their younger days, when they were at school, when they were told what the flag symbolized, what its real signification was. When they saw the flag on the public buildings on festive days; when they saw the flag on the coffins^ of those they loved; when they saw the flag in the church, they were reminded of the prowess of the sons of the locality.
The flag means a lot, but the first meaning of the flag is that it is an ensign, the ensign of the country. England has understood that very well. But naturally we have to suffer from the total ignorance of the elite, both English and French, who have deformed the meaning of the national flag, and that is the result of the intense propaganda which has been made by the press and by some people to prevent the people of the British empire outside the United Kingdom from fully recognizing the meaning of it.
In 1865 an imperial statute was passed to create a colonial navy, and later in the same year, which was two years before confederation, regulations were passed at Whitehall and sanctioned by the queen to allow all colonies to have a commercial flag. But it was a nautical flag; and the first flag which the colonies were allowed to make their own-it was quite a ceremony, permission for it had to be given by the admiralty-was the blue ensign. It was in that year that the British government allowed the colony to have as the blue ensign the blue flag with the arms of the colony in the field. Naturally everyone knows what the blue ensign is. A similar regulation was passed on July 16, 1870, and it was not until a number of years afterwards that the admiralty authorized by warrant the flag of the Canadian mercantile marine to be used on board vessels registered in the dominion. It was on February 2, 1892, a short time
after the death of Sir John A. Macdonald. But mark you, sir, it was specified in the first place that the blue ensign was to be the flag on Canadian government vessels, and then the red ensign with the arms of Canada-I will describe them in a minute-was to be used, by permission of the admiralty, "only on board vessels registered in the dominion."
What were the arms of Canada? The arms of Canada in 1892 were not those of all the provinces of Canada that formed the confederation at that time, but only those of four provinces, Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. There were no arms of Manitoba, nor were those of Prince Edward Island, nor those of British Columbia, and naturally at the time the prairie provinces had not been created as provinces. It was only in 1924 that the change was made to put the new arms of Canada on the flag, to replace the first shield which was that of only the four mother provinces.
Canadian Flag

This is the description of the shield of Canada which is on the flag that is hoisted daily on the tower of this building. It is something absolutely absurd:
The arms or ensigns armorial of the Dominion of Canada shall be tierced in fesse the first and second divisions containing the quarterly coat following, namely, 1st, gules three lions passant guardant in pale or-
In the first place there are supposed to be three lions, but what astounds me is that in the French official translation these lions become leopards, and it is most ridiculous because these leopards are spotless. I hold in my hand the English and French texts which were printed by the king's printer.
-2nd, or, a lion rampant within a double tres-aure flory-eounter-flory gules, 3rd, azure, a harp >r, stringed argent . . .
Of course, it is a harp with a very fine female figure which I would not dare to describe in the house even in the absence of my lady colleague from the west. It is something very pictorial.
4th, azure three fleurs-de-lis, or, and the third division argent three maple leaves conjoined on one stem proper . . .
This is the shield of Canada and we see it on the flag. I had that flag in my office, and I have made measurements to see the size of the union jack. I found that it is seven times that of the shield and in the shield the" three animals, which are described as lions in the English text and as leopards in the French text, are two inches high and seven inches long. How formidable! The lion rampant is four inches by five inches-much more powerful. Then there is the suggestive Irish harp and there are the fleurs-de-lis- golden fleurs-de-lis on blue. That is a heresy because, as everyone knows, the standard of the king of France was the fleurs-de-lis on silver or white. . It was probably Arthur Meighen and the late Mr. Belley, who were so blue that they wanted to put something blue into the emblem of the province of Quebec.
Then there are three maple leaves. There being three lions which were three leopards, there must be of course be three maple leaves and three fleurs-de-lis. The number three was his unlucky number; that is why he is no longer the leader of the party. He has been replaced by many fine gentlemen, one of whom is sitting over there. At any rate, the number three did not bring him luck.
[Air. Pouliot.l
Let us see the description of the shield-and by the way this is not Pastor Shields that I am speaking of. I am discussing something in heraldry, a science that belongs to the middle ages, covered with tons of dust. I do not want the Canadian flag to look ridiculous, and that is why I object to emblems that belong to another age, which have not their place here.
And upon a- royal helmet mantled argent doubled gules the crest, that is to say, on a wreath of the colours argent and gules a lion passant guardant or imperially crowned proper and holding in the dexter paw a maple leaf gules.
There is a lion that holds in his paw a tiny, little, wee red maple leaf, and the lion on this armorial bearing is not bigger than my thumb.

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