From a letter sent out to the members of the Senate and the House of Commons in October last by the Toronto assembly No. 107 of the Native Sons of Canada, I quote briefly:
In a national flag if more than one emblem is displayed the upper lefthand corner next to the staff is reserved for the emblem of the dominant state, and the lower rightband comer on the fly is reserved for the vassal or subservient state.
A national flag speaks of the authority of the parliament of the country if represents. The union jack speaks of the authority of the parliament of the United Kingdom, and its inclusion in the place of honour in a. Canadian flag means that Canada is >a dependency of the United Kingdom.
May I quote now again, briefly, from an editorial published in the well known Toronto weekly, Saturday Night, on October 27, 1945, entitled, "Nation and Flag":
Surely the opponents of the official recognition of a Canadian, flag must see, if they will look at the matter with their brains and not with their feelings, that it is fundamentally absurd for nation A, which is so distinct from nation" B, that it can be at peace when nation B is at war and at war when B is at pfeace to insist that its flag and the flag of B are and must ever remain identical.
A national flag is a symbol of sovereignty. The sovereignty of Canada is vested in the Canadian people, as the sovereignty of the United Kingdom is vested in the people of the kingdom. They are not the same sovereignty. They do not need the same flag.
If there are any Canadians who should be entitled to have something to say about the choice of a national flag in Canada, I assume that this house will agree with me that they are those gallant, courageous and brave young service men and women who in this last war year after year-and they were long years- thousands of miles away from their native land were doing the fighting.
In the December 10, 1945 issue of the Canadian army forces newspaper The Maple Leal published in London, England, I read that service men speak out loudly for a truly Canadian flag. May I quote briefly:
Reported erroneously in ia Canadian dispatch as having been approved by the king as the national flag of Canada, but later found to be only one of a thousand designs submitted, the controversial banner incorporated a union jack in the upper lefthand corner, a sprig of three maple leaves in the centre of a white field and three golden fleur-de-lis on a blue circle in the upper right-hand corner. That the matter of Canada's flag is close to the heart of Canadians overseas is shown by the fact that more letters were received on this subject in the past two days than on any other subject or controversy over an ordinary two-week period.
Here is a short quotation from an editorial published in The Maple Leaf qn this subject entitled, "Ottawa Papers Please Copy":
Who has a better right to voice their opinion on the proposed all-Canadian flag than the men and women of Canada's fighting forces now being demobilized ?
Elsewhere on this page are excerpts from letters written by all ranks of servicemen and women of the navy, army and R.C.A.F. Almost of one accord they express a well-round "No" to the proposed flag, the sketch of which appeared in the December 6 issue of The Maple Leaf. We know that the story of this particular flag is not official, but it has served to uproot a flood of opinion that cannot be ignored. _
A recent Gallup poll resulted in sixty-eight per cent of the people in Canada wanting an entirely distinctive flag. And now the voice _ of Canadians in the United Kingdom is being heard in no uncertain terms. We believe that their ideas should carry as much weight as Canadians at home. To the committee at home in whose hands lies the final selection, we say . . . please note.
In this convincing manner the editor of The Maple Leaf supports the opinion of his correspondents on the flag issue. And I sincerely hope that every member of the house will carefully note the opinion expressed by our servicemen and women on the choice of the national flag, such as outlined in The Maple Leaf. With them I repeat:
Who has a better right to voice an opinion on the proposed all-Gandian flag than the men and women of Canada's fighting forces now being demobilized?
And I will add: Who knows better than they the meaning of sacrifice for country?
At this point I wish to make a clear distinction between a national flag, an official flag and an authorized flag or ensign. Canada has an authorized ensign and an official flag. Canada has as yet no national flag. Canada has had an authorized ensign since 1892. That is the red ensign with the Canadian coat of arms in the fly which was authorized for use by merchant vessels registered in Canada. That was confirmed by the Canadian Shipping Act of 1934.
Canada has had an official flag since 1911. The union jack was officially declared to be the proper flag to be flown on land in Canada. I cannot think of any reason, historical, constitutional or otherwise why the union jack and the red ensign should not be retained in their particular places to fulfil their particular functions, one as our king's flag and the symbol of our membership in the British commonwealth of nations, the other as the ensign of our merchant ships, with perhaps a maple leaf in the lower right-hand corner instead of the coat of arms of Canada.
All nations of the world at all times have used different flags for different tactical purposes. Those flags have been described as national, official or authorized flags or ensigns. Speaking before the joint committee on December 4, 1945, the Secretary of State (Mr. MARCH 21, 1946
The Address-Mr. Arsenault
Martin) declared that Great Britain at present uses over one hundred different designs of national, official or authorized flags or ensigns. Those who go to Montreal once in a while can see in the Windsor station over twenty-one designs of British flags. Prior to the last war France was using at least seven different flags which were entirely different from one another. Besides the tricolour there was the Tripoli merchant flag, the Algiers flag, the Tunis flag, the French Cochin-China flag, the kingdom of Siam ensign and the Madagascar flag.
To-day the United States of America are using at least six different flag designs. There are the stars and stripes, the President's flag, the United States union jack, the United States yacht ensign, the United States revenue flag and the Hawaiian flag. Although Hawaii is a possession of the United States, their flag has nothing at all of the stars and stripes in its design. Another example, is the island of Malta which is a British possession. They also have a national flag which has absolutely nothing in common with the union jack. As we all recall, that flag is the Maltese red cross on a white field. There are scores of other examples that could be given all along the line.
As do other leading countries of the world, Canada may use different designs of flags, either national, official or authorized, for different tactical purposes. Canadians could at
this time, on behalf of unity, take advantage of these exceptional circumstances and the great interest aroused by the choice of a national flag to settle onde and for all, not only this matter of the choice of a national flag for Canada but the whole question of our Canadian flag and ensigns. This should be settled by an act of this parliament of a free nation.
Since Canada is a member of the British commonwealth, united to her sister nations under the constitutional authority of the same king, I cannot very well see why anyone in this country could reasonably object to the full-sized union jack being officially recognized by this parliament as the official symbol of our partnership in the commonwealth, the finest example in history of mutual friendship between nations and one of the strongest means of maintaining peace in the world in these trying days.
Too much is involved to try to put forward any sort of narrow nationalism in the face of the distressful conditions that we find in the world to-day. Not only should we help to maintain the British commonwealth of nations, we should have a commonwealth of all the nations of the world based on the same principles of mutual friendship and collaboration. The union jack is here to stay, to stay as long as Canada is ready to share her obligations and the benefits of her privileges as part of the British commonwealth of nations. There is a great principle involved in this issue with far-reaching consequences which cannot be overlooked by anyone. As a French-speaking representative in this house from the province of Quebec may I say that Quebec will be the last province of Canada to pull down the union jack. Our religion, our language, our civil rights were guaranteed and granted to us French-speaking Canadians under the union jack. As the right hon. Minister of Justice (Mr. St. Laurent) stated in the house on November 13, 1945:
It is under the union jack that the institutions of this Canadian nation have grown' and developed and have 'brought us to the point where now, and for a good many years now, the dominion is and has been an autonomous state subject in no phase of its domestic or its external affairs to any other authority than this Canadian parliament.
I notice that my time is just about up, but with the unanimous consent of the house I should like to finish stating my conclusions. They will take only a few more minutes. The province of Quebec also remembers, as much as any other part of Canada, those uncertain and crucial days of 1940 and 1941 when there occurred the collapse of France and of all organized armed resistance on the European continent, when the United States had not had Pearl Harbor and when Soviet Russia had not yet entered the war. Quebec realizes that we Frenchspeaking Canadians or English-speaking Canadians would all be slaves of Germany to-day had it not been for the three crosses of Saint George, Saint Andrew and Saint Patrick which were joined together and lifted proudly by Great Britain along with the dominions against the enemies of mankind,
As evidence of this contention and without any discriminating intentions, may I say that while the red ensign, the authorized flag of our merchant navy, is flown on these parliament buildings, the union jack, the full-sized union jack still unfolds itself to the breeze on parliament hill of Quebec only a few acres away from the very spot where 187 years ago two chivalrous and gallant soldiers, Wolfe and Montcalm, sealed the fate of this country.
Canada's constitutional position to-day with respect to Great Britain is similar to the position of Scotland with respect to England from 1603 to 1707. For over one hundred years the two kingdoms of Scotland and England were united under one king but had separate parliaments. For over one hundred years, from 1603, the year of the union of the two kingdoms under one king, until 1707, the year of
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the legislative union of the two countries, each of fhese nations had their national flag but both nations used the union jack at the same time as the king's flag, the flag of their union under the same king.
To-day Canada is constitutionally an equal of Great Britain. Each country has a separate parliament but both countries are united under the same king. Each country has the same symbol of allegiance to the king, the union jack. Canada has an ofEcial flag, the union jack. Canada has an authorized ensign for her merchant marine, the red ensign. Canada now needs a national flag such as both England and Scotland had prior to the legislative union of the two countries. Therefore, I propose, as the only possible satisfactory and final settlement of the flag issue in Canada, the following, which will undoubtedly win the almost unanimous support of all true Canadians of whatever racial extraction or language:
1. That this parliament of a free, autonomous and independent nation reconfirms the union jack as Canada's king's flag and as the official symbol of our country's partnership in the British commonwealth of nations.
2. That this parliament maintains the red ensign in the functions it has filled ever since 1892 as the naval ensign of Canada's merchant marine, with possibly the coat of arms being replaced by the maple leaf.
3. That this parliament gives to the Canadian nation a national flag, which will not be an English-Canadian flag, or a French-Cana-dian flag, or an English and French colonial flag, but an all-Canadian national flag.
Speaking in this house on November 13, 1945, the right hon. Minister of Justice (Mr. St. Laurent) declared:
The purpose for which it is suggested there should be a distinctive national flag is to have a symbol that all Canadians can look upon as distinctively their own, not because they want to discard the union jack, but because the union jack is not distinctively their own and because they feel that their nation has now reached the stature in the family of nations that requires it to have something which can be regarded as its own.
On February 14, 1938, when the flag ques-tiontion came up in this house, the right hon. the Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King) made the following statement:
The use of the union jack on anything that is distinctively Canadian in the United States does not help to emphasize the individuality of this country or its distinct nationality; it helps to submerge them together.
The hon.. Minister of Veterans Affairs (Mr. Mackenzie), speaking in this house on the same subject on November 8, 1945, said:
We in Canada have shared the union jack, and we shall always honour it as the symbol of much that is best and most precious in our heritage; but we have had nothing that has been peculiarly and indisputably our own, that would symbolize Canada, all of Canada and everyone in Canada. There should be something that all can see and look to with pride, as the symbol of this great nation of ours, to which affection and loyalty can attach, and which can become the sign of the unity and purpose that will make Canada great.
One final quotation. The hon. member for Rosetown-Biggar (Mr. Coldwell), speaking in this house on November 8, 1945, said:
I wish to see Canada with a distinctive flag, and in my opinion the red ensign with -a coat of arms on it, which I would rather say nothing about, is not a distinctive flag. . . . The flag of the British commonwealth is the union jack, and we respect it, but I am pleased indeed to know that my hon. friends to the right are prepared .to recognize that the time has come when Canada should have a flag of her own.
Mr. Speaker, Canada is a free nation, just as politically free from Great Britain as Great Britain is free from her, and certainly more economically independent from the British isles than she is from us. Therefore a national flag for Chnada must not constitute the symbol of what Canada was when she stood as a colony under the supreme authority and jurisdiction of the imperial parliament, but of what she is to-day, an independent nation, a respected power amongst the nations of the world.
Like most countries Canada has a symbol which is recognized1 the world over as the expression of Canadian nationality. That emblem is the maple leaf. On this one thing we find the Canadian people almost unanimous, that the maple leaf must be given the position of honour in the proposed national flag if it is to be ad all-Canadian flag.
Topic: GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH