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


Thomas Ashmore Kidd

Progressive Conservative


It was not voted down; that is correct. At page 436 of Hansard for February 14, 1938, the Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King) said:
Difficulties having arisen in Canadian government offices abroad, due to the lack of a distinctive Canadian flag, an order in council dated January 26, 1924, was passed, authorizing the flying of the red ensign, with the Canadian coat-of-arms on the fly. . . .
This reference is brought before the house to let it be known that permission to fly the red ensign from all buildings owned and occupied by the Canadian government and situated outside Canada was authorized by order in council, under the present Prime Minister, and no authority was given by act of parliament. Only a few days ago, when the hon. member for Broadview (Mr. Church) asked the government on what authority the red ensign was flown from the parliament buildings, he was told that it was by authority of an order in council passed on September 5, 1945. Permission to fly the red ensign over the parliament buildings to-day has not been granted by an act of parliament.
Canadian Flag

Three years prior to the McIntosh resolution, that is ten years ago, in January, 1935, as will be seen in the debates of the House of Commons for that year at page 199, Mr. Dickie of Nanaimo sponsored the following resolution, which is a little different again:
That, in the opinion of this house, a national flag representing the Dominion of Canada should be adopted.
And that in any design for a Canadian flag the union jack must be conspicuous.
To this motion an amendment was moved by Mr. Arthurs. This resolution was quite specific; it asked that in any design for a Canadian flag the union jack should be conspicuous. The same resolution was brought forward a year later; again it was not accepted by the house. If the resolution now before us is not opposed it will mean that by his silence every hon. member will approve what? That it is expedient for Canada to possess a distinctive national flag. It is for this reason -that I have risen to make it known that in my opinion the flag question should not be injected into the business of this session. This is not the time to change the flag. Only recently, during the present victory loan campaign, the national finance committee released figures showing that 37,963 Canadian service men have been killed since 1939. Some 53,073 Canadian service men have been wounded, and 2,866 Canadians are missing. This means that in this war about 40,000 men have enlisted and given their lives for the principles for which the union jack stands.
In the first world war some 60,000 Canadians gave their lives. This means that in the two world wars over 100,000 of Canada's young manhood paid the supreme sacrifice. When reference is made to the 100,000 Canadians who gave their lives for Canada and the empire, and to those things for which the union jack stands, one must not overlook the fact that there are dozens, scores and hundreds of families who mourn to-day the losses of their sons, husbands and brothers overseas, who fought with the British expeditionary forces, in the army, in the navy, and particularly in the Royal Air Force. Those men gave their lives in Africa, in Malta, in the English channel and in the North sea. Many of those men left to join the empire forces in 1938 and 1939.
It will be noted that the resolution is dated September 27, a date following the opening of this session of parliament. Casualty lists of those who paid the supreme sacrifice are still appearing in the daily press. I hold in my hand one dated in October, containing the names of nearly sixty Canadians who gave their lives for Canada, their country and their flag.

There are many reasons why in this session of 1945 the Canadian flag should not be interjected into issues before parliament. The flag question is a contentious one, and has been for twenty years. I do not hesitate to say that the tabling of this resolution, as it appears on the order paper, is an error in judgment on the part of the government. I also maintain that it would have been better if the resolution had not been called at this time. It will be noted that it appears in the name of the Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King), who is to-day absent from the house.
During the leadership of the Prime Minister, when he has occupied seats on both sides of the house, he has never failed to make it known that he was always on the side of those who were anxious to change the flag. If any hon. member cares to have the Prime Minister's views on the flag question, all that is necessary for him to do is to turn back to the pages in the debates of the House of Commons referred to this afternoon by the leader of the house. On February 14, 1938, as reported at page 480 of Hansard, are set out the personal views of the Prime Minister, in thirteen columns of Hansard. At that time the matter was not proceeded with, and it was finally dropped because it was thought undesirable to press it, in view of other business.
To-day reference has been made to the solidarity of the empire. I say in all seriousness that in Canada for many years a certain element has been trying to use its influence to weaken the ties which bind Canada and the empire. They advocate the appointment of Canadian governors general, the doing away with appeals to the privy council, a change in the flag, and a change in Canadian citizenship.
Since the first world war an imperial conference was held in the old country, and also here in Ottawa. During those many years distinguished British citizens have paid visits to Canada. I might refer to half a dozen organizations, including the empire parliamentary association, the press association, the bar association, the association of mining and metallurgy, and visits of His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales and His Royal Highness Prince George, accompanied by the Prime Minister of Great Britain, and the visits of Their Majesties the King and Queen. Deputations such as these have been coming to Canada year in and year out, May I add that nearly every year since confederation Canadian representatives acting on behalf of the government of Canada have visited the mother country, thus cementing Canada and the empire. In spite of this, nothing has cemented Canada and the empire more effectively than the part this country played during world war I and world war II.

Canadian Flag
In both those wars nearly 100,000 Canadians gave their lives. In the first great war 60,000 were left in Flanders fields, and 40,000 gave their lives in world war II. The bonds of sentiment and friendship welded through the loss of those lives have been much greater than the influence of the various deputations.
Those boys gave their lives for the flag we have to-day. Has parliament a mandate to pull down the union jack? There is a following in Canada to-day who feel that the present government has no mandate to pull down that flag. They say that this is a major question. If so grave a step is to be taken and since this is the first time it appears on the order paper as a government' measure, whatever fact-finding the government may obtain by so doing, no definite move should be made until they have a clear mandate from the Canadian people.
Reference was made this evening to Sir John A. Macdonald by the hon. member for Broadview. It so happens that I have the honour to represent the constituency which at one time he represented, and I should like to enlarge upon that thought. In his election campaign of 1844 Sir John A. Macdonald made a statement to the free and independent electorate of the town of Kingston, and placed before them his manifesto, a copy of which I hold in my hand, but which I shall not read. He was elected on this in 1844:
I therefore need scarcely state my firm belief that the prosperity of Canada depends upon its permanent connection with the mother country, and that I shall resist to the utmost any attemr.t, from whatever quarter it may come, which may tend to weaken that union.
Sir John said that in 1844. Then, what do we find? Forty-seven years later in February, 1891, he was again elected in reaffirming Canada's relationship to the British empire, when he said:
For a century and a half this country has grown and flourished under the protecting aegis of the British crown.
Under the broad folds of the union jack we enjoy the most ample liberty, to govern ourselves as we please, and at the same time we participate in the advantages which flow with the association of the mightiest empire the world has ever seen.
He concluded with this statement:
As for myself my course is clear: A British subject I was born, a British subject I will die.
I referred to that for this reason, that during his half century in public life Sir John A. Macdonald saw many troublesome days. He lived through the years which led up to confederation in 1837 and the troublesome years of 1866 and 1870. Yet during all that time Canadians knew where they stood in their relationship to the British empire.
For a moment I should like to make reference to the Canadian army battle flag. When considering the flag question, one cannot but look back with a certain amount of amusement at the steps taken at the time the flag was given to the first Canadian division when they sailed from Halifax in December, 1939. As to its nomenclature, one is more or less at a loss to know whether to refer to it as the Canadian army battle-flag, the battle-flag of Canada, or the McNaughton flag.
There is no mistake, in fact, that the launching and the production of this flag just at that time, and particularly the method in which it was done, gave those advocates of a new flag for Canada exactly what they wanted. The question to-day is: Where is the
McNaughton flag? What has become of it?

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