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


Jean-François Pouliot

Independent Liberal


To continue:
' And for supporters on the dexter a lion rampant or holding a lance argent, point or, flying therefrom to the dexter the union flag, and on the sinister a unicorn argent armed crined and unguled or, gorged with a coronet composed of erosses-patde and fleurs-de-lis a chain affixed thereto reflexed of the last, and holding a like lance flying therefrom to the sinister a banner azure charged with three fleurs-de-lis or; the whole ensigned with the imperial crown proper and below the shield upon a wreath composed of roses, thistles, shamrocks and lilies a scroll azure inscribed with the motto- A miari usque ad mare.
The lion holds a union jack, and the unicorn holds another flag on which there are creases, showing there are breezes, but they are in opposite directions. It reminds me of the drawings I made when I was a child. Once I made one representing a ship with the smoke on one side and the flag on, the other side. My uncle, who was very funny, said to me: "Could the wind blow two ways at the same time?" Here we have a coat of arms and the wind blows the union jack to the left and the French flag to the right; it is an extraordinary wind. It is a most foolish thing, but it was sanctioned on the 21st of November, 1921, just a few days before the defeat of the Meighen government. Therefore, if it is something absurd, the only blame that, I can put on the government is to have kept the foolishness of Arthur Meighen on the Canadian red ensign. It is absurd; it is full of ferocious beasts; it is a circus in a garden that is not well kept. Of course, when I read it, my hon. friends who are listening to me now, were perhaps under the impression that I was reciting a speech by the hon. member for Jasper-Edson. But it was not that; it was the official language of heraldry, and heraldry must continue, because some people

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are living by it. There is in England a gentleman who receives a fat salary and is called the Master of Arms of His Majesty.
In England a distinction is made between a flag and commercial ensigns which are ensigns of ships. Different ships fly different ensigns. The man-of-war flies the white ensign; government vessels, the blue ensign. On merchant vessels it is the red ensign. But they always have a flag of the country, and mark you, sir, it is not surprising that a small union jack is on the flag of the navy and of the marine, because all British ships registered in England are a continuation of the soil of England on the seven seas. The deck of a British ship registered in London can be compared with the soil of the United Kingdom.
The question is not one of sentiment, but one in which we could say we are proud of our nationality, and rightly so. But to impose the wrong flag on the country just to satisfy one's personal feelings is wrong. If any member wants to have a union jack I do not want it to be minimized; I want to have the union jack in full, not a little union jack, not a mockery, not a miniature union jack. If Canada has not reached the point; if the country is not mature enough to have her own flag, then let us continue as we are and wait for better times. As my hon. friend, the leader of the C.C.F. group has said, if we' are not mature enough to have our own flag we are still colonial; we have not a right to call ourselves Canadian citizens; we must call ourselves British subjects and colonials. That is why I suggested to the Secretary of State (Mr. Martin) to wait a few days, perhaps a couple of weeks, before bringing down this resolution, in order that the citizenship bill should pass first. If the citizenship bill had passed first with full honours, then members of parliament would 'be qualified to discuss the matter of a national flag. What we want is not an official flag; we want a national flag. We have only an official flag now. Why do we have an official flag? It is because someone thinks it is important to appease the very small group of jingoes who have no Canadian feeling; and if they express at times something like Canadian feelings they have not at heart the feeling of the real Canadian who puts his country before all others.
* Why should we impose a flag which is not distinctly Canadian on this country for future generations? There is more to it; if a committee of this house and this house accepts a truly Canadian flag it will mean only one thing. It will mean that we have reached the age that we can reason for ourselves; it will not mean that we are opposed to the old country, not at all. It will not deny our right of
association with the British commonwealth, with the United States or with anybody. It will mean that we are mature enough to make our own decisions and to think of this country first and before all others. That is the meaning of the Canadian flag, and there is a precedent for it.
We hear some members say, "Well, well, well, look at the flags of the other dominions. There is a flag of New Zealand." I give them credit for having their own flag, which is not a national flag. It is a blue ensign with the southern cross, a flag that can be flown on a vessel, not on land. The parliament of New Zealand passed legislation in 1905 which decided that that flag would thereafter be the flag of New Zealand. In Australia a competition was organized by the newspapers and supported by the government; and it was a young boy who came with the suggestion of a flag for Australia. It must have been approved by the admiralty, because I have seen pictures of that flag in the Encyclopedia Britannica and in other publications; but when I asked the office of the high commissioner if it had been approved by order in council, or by the Australian government, or if any legislation had been passed-and I searched the statutes of Australia for some time to find out if that were so-I could not get an answer. They did not know anything definite about the adoption of the flag.
Let us go to South Africa. South Africa had for some time a flag similar to the red ensign, in accordance with the general permission granted by the admiralty. It was the red ensign with the old shield of South Africa in the field. But in 1927 it was changed for a flag which is not perfect, but which shows some national dignity in the parliament of South Africa. On this flag are three horizontal stripes, and in the middle stripe there are three very small flags, all in line. There is the union jack, the old flag of the Orange Free State and the Vierkleur of the Transvaal. These flags are very small; they could not be seen, any more than the emblems in our own shield can be seen from the ground when we look at the flag flying from the tower. The flag legislation passed in 1927 by the parliament of South Africa is a precedent for all dominions, in the sense that it shows that the establishment of this national flag does not mean South Africa is opposed to the United Kingdom and ceases to be British. The legislation adds that both the union jack and the official and national flag of South Africa shall be flown together on all public buildings.
That is it, sir. Here we have a reply to the hon. member for Nanaimo (Mr. Pearkes),
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the hon. member for Broadview (Mr. Church) who is to follow me, and all others who think as they do. The hon. members want the union jack. Let them have it. We want a national flag. Let us have it, by all means. That is my point of view. If some people throughout the country want to hoist both flags together, let them do so; there is no possible objection to that, and then everyone will be satisfied. The hon. member "for Nanaimo does much better now than he did at the beginning of the session, and I am sincere in telling him so. But if he commits the heresy of considering the union jack to be the flag of a nationality he will have the Laurentians of Quebec who will come with the Carillon flag, which is no more a Carillon flag than the lions in the shield are leopards. They will say the flag represents two cultures. Whoever thought a flag could represent two cultures? That is positively a heresy. It would not be a flag, but a banner. Could it represent a culture? With a banner we could do anything. Every man can have his banner, as each of the old crusaders had his banner, his shield and so on. They would not accept the red ensign, not because the union flag is on it, but because there would be no place left for the fleur-de-lis on blue or gold or silver. They will say, "You are entitled to have an emblem of your nationality on the flag. We want ours, too." It would be fair. Then what about the others? What about my hon. friend who speaks so often for the Ukrainians? They would have a right to their own emblem; and how many emblems would we have if each nationality had its own?
Then why should we have the union jack? Why not have separately the banners of the people of British origin, of Scotch origin, of Irish origin, and then the French Canadian? Then everyone will have his banner, but it would not be a flag any longer. If we are to have an emblem we must come to the point and see what emblem we may have on the flag. It would not be a repudiation of our friendship and our association with Great Britain. It would be a decision that will prove to the world that Canada has reached the stage where we have our own national flag. I will tell you more than that, Mr. Speaker. We may discuss the policies of the Prime Minister and not agree with all of them, but we are coming to a time when I believe Canada could help Britain much more if not tied too closely to her. I am not now preaching the breaking of the British tie, but I will say that in matters of diplomacy very probably Canada may be of much more help to Great Britain ia dealing with countries who do not
agree with British policies by being autonomous within the British empire. That is my view.
I am expressing these opinions with earnestness and sincerity. I desire a national flag, and my people would revere a national flag, which would be the flag of Canada, which could be hoisted by all Canadians irrespective of race and creed, but a flag which would designate only Canada. By this I mean that when a stranger lands in this country and sees the union flag he says, "I am in British territory." He does not know he is in Canada. I should like a flag which would tell the world that Canada exists as a great country, and would tell any stranger who comes to our shores that he is in this great country which is called Canada.

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