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


Wilfrid Garfield Case

Progressive Conservative

Mr. W. G. CASE (Grey North):

I thought I should like to place myself on record in regard to the issue of the flag and what I consider to be possibly one of the most memorable debates that will ever take place in this chamber of the House of Commons. I listened with great interest to the words-I might say inspiring words-of the hon. member for Simcoe North (Mr. Ferguson), who, I happen to know, enlisted as a very young man in the first great war and won for himself theMilitary Cross. I have it from the officersunder whom he served that he was one of the best fighters who ever stood in shoe-leather. I think all who heard him recognize that he deserves that compliment. I know, Mr. Speaker, that what he said to us to-night
came indeed from his heart and from his sense of reverence to a great symbol.
May I say to my hon. friends that when we come to deal with the issue of the flag we are talking in the abstract, so to speak. There is to be a reference to a committee of this house to determine a design for a distinctly national flag. In the main I doubt whether we are very far apart in many respects, but there is something about the tradition of the emblem which has served us all down through the ages and under which we have indeed made our progress toward national status. What the flag stands for is what we should be most concerned about. And we do know-and I say this with a depth of sincerity-that the union jack indeed stands for freedom, something upon which we place very* little value indeed. We have never been without our freedom; therefore by comparison we do not know what it means to be a subjugated race, such as has been the lot of some peoples on the continent of Europe.
The hon. member for Simcoe North referred to the Poles, the Czechslovakians, the Scandinavians, and others who came to our shores. They came here because they knew that under the British flag they would find freedom. Wherever that great flag flies, Mr. Speaker, there you will always find, freedom. I have only to remind the house that the slaves of old did not ask for freedom. I do not suppose they knew enough to ask for freedom, but the British people determined that everyone should be free and taxed themselves in order to patrol the seas and stamp out slavery, so that every man might be free. Therefore I say to you to-night, Mr. Speaker, that unless the British people in the great old British isles had been prepared-

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