January 23, 1935

LIB

Vincent Dupuis

Liberal

Mr. DUPUIS:

During those years the

misery of the Canadian people was not as great as it is this year. We need work; we need bread; we need something that will rescue the Canadian people. Do it now and leave the flag alone.

Topic:   A CANADIAN FLAG
Subtopic:   PROPOSAL FOR A NATIONAL EMBLEM ON WHICH UNION JACK SHALL BE CONSPICUOUS
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CON

Thomas Langton Church

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. T. L. CHURCH (East Toronto):

am surprised to see that a resolution of this kind should come before the house, and I am equally surprised that my old friend from Mount Royal (Mr. White) should second it. The old flag, the old leader and the old policy were good enough for the Liberal-Conservative party of this country and it should be good enough now. This house may pass all the

resolutions it likes with regard to changing the flag, but the people of Ontario will continue to fly the union jack whether this house likes it or not.

This is not a new subject in this house. It came up ten years ago when the Liberal government of that day appointed a commission of several civil servants to bring in a proposal with respect to changing the flag. There is no demand in Canada for a new flag. This is the first private members' day and it might as well be the last so that we may get down to the business of the country and do something to hoist the flag that will restore the hope, character and livelihood of thousands of farmers, industrial workers and miners and their families.

I am opposed to this resolution as I was opposed to a similar proposal thirteen years ago, and I am opposed to it especially at a time like this when the union jack should be Canada's only flag. At the present time Canada has only one flag, and she has only one national anthem, namely, God Save the King. We have these two essentials to-day and I hope it will be a long time before they are changed; because after all the country does not belong to those who inhabit it today: it is an inheritance from the past. It is a possession for the present and a trust for the future. I doubt whether some hon. gentlemen who are supporting the resolution to-day would be sitting in this house if they had advocated it in 1930.

Let us first get rid of the red flag of communism in this country; secondly, let us get rid of the black flag of unemployment; and let us restore Magna Charta. I often wonder whether there is any real Magna Charta today, when I see on York street and on many other streets in the city I come from the red flag of the bailiff hoisted up not only over retail stores but in the homes of the people in York and in many other counties throughout Ontario.

It would be far better for this house to get down to business and do something practical than trying to discuss academic theories such as this. The old union jack was good enough for 500,000 Canadians who went to France and Flanders, and of whom 100,000 lie buried in that land; and if it was good enough for the soldiens who fought the battles of this country, for you and me, it should be good enough for those who stayed at home and now propose a new flag.

I find no demand in the country for this resolution. We have been told that our wonderful merchant marine-part of the bank-

A Canadian Flag

ruptcy of the Canadian National Railways- has a distinctive flag. Well, it has also a red flag, written in red in the bookkeeping of the Minister of Finance. Let us get down to brass tacks and do the thing for which parliament has been called, namely, to solve the economic abuses that exist in this country. Everyone is agreed that the old world has got itself into the greatest muddle in its history. We are all full of complaints and want changes; no one is satisfied; people all want to be reformers and each has a different solution. We have proposals to coordinate, nationalize, internationalize and denationalize all at one and the same time, and to many people in this house the past is nothing but error.

As I said before, this is not a new question. It came up on June 17, 1625 as will be found in Hansard of that year at page 4364, from which I quote the following:

National Flag for Canada

Mr. Church:

1. Will the government lay on the table of the house the text of a copy of order in council appointing a committee to select a distinctive Canadian flag for use ashore?

2. Who is asking for such a Canadian flag and for such a change, and why?

3. Is the union jack not Canada's only official flag, and was it not the one used by the Canadian expeditionary forces overseas in France, and since Canada has been a British possession?

4. Will an opportunity be given to the house to discuss such an unnecessary innovation in view' of Canada having no land army and no fleet whatever except the proposed Petersen fleet?

5. Is such a change of policy not for parliament to decide instead of the governor general in council?

6. Will any legislation be introduced as to such a proposed change this session?

7. Will the government also introduce legislation or rules to regulate the use of American and other foreign flags in Canada?

Right Hon. Mr. Mackenzie King: No committee has been appointed for the purpose of selecting a Canadian flag. A committee of public servants has been appointed to consider and report upon a suitable design for a Canadian national flag, but the government has taken no action of any kind towards committing either the government or parliament to the adoption of a national flag. I will read to the house the text of the order which it has been requested to have laid on the table:

Certified copy of a minute of a meeting of the committee of the Privy Council approved by His Excellency the Governor General on the 23rd April, 1925.

The committee of the Privy Council have had before them a report, dated 21st April. 1925, from the Minister of National Defence, stating that a distinctive Canadian flag has been authorized to be used by Canadian government-owned vessels and by other vessels of Canadian registry, and that there is throughout the country a desire that there should also be

TMr. Church.]

adopted for use ashore a distinctive flag which shall be recognized as the flag of the Dominion of Canada.

The minister, therefore, recommends that a committee be appointed to consider and report on the most suitable design that should be adopted for a Canadian national flag for use ashore, and that this committee be composed of the following:

G. J. Desbarats. Esq., C.M.G., Deputy Minister of National Defence, Chairman.

Thomas Mulvey, Esq., B.A., K.C., Undersecretary of State.

A. G. Doughty, Esq., C.M.G., LL.D., Dominion Archivist.

Commodore Walter Hose, C.B.E., A.D.C., Director of the Naval Service.

Major General H. A. Panet, C.B.. C.M.G., D.S.O., Adjutant General.

Group Captain J. S. Scott, M.C., A.F.C., A.D.C., Acting Director of the Royal Canadian Air Force.

The committee concur in the foregoing recommendation and submit the same for approval.

The leader of the Liberal party is in the house at the present time and it is only fair to read what he said then, because I do not believe that he would have supported such a change at that time.

Hon. members will see that all that has been done has been to refer to this committee of civil servants the question of considering a suitable design for a national flag. Representations have been made to the government from different quarters that there are throughout the country a considerable number of people as well as various organizations who feel that Canada, like Australia, South Africa and other of the self-governing dominions, should have ashore a distinctive Canadian flag as she already has on the high seas.

She may have a distinctive Canadian flag on the high seas, but she has no fleet to protect us in time of trouble, no fleet to protect our trade routes.

The government has simply referred, and intends to refer to this committee, for purposes of study and report, the different suggestions that have been or may be made in that regard. I might mention, for example, that the Native Sons of Canada, an organization, I understand, having headquarters in British Columbia, has offered a prize_ for the best suggestion as to a suitable Canadian national flag. A short time ago, during the present session. I had a letter from the Right Hon. Mr. Fielding. Minister of Finance, expressing very strongly the view that Canada should have a flag of her own and accompanying the letter was a flag which Mr. Fielding himself had designed and which he said he would like to have considered when any discussion with respect to the possibility of a Canadian national flag might come up. I think I need only mention Right Hon. Mr. Fielding's name in this connection to indicate clearly that those who have views with respect to a Canadian national flag along lines similar to those adopted by other of the self-governing dominions are not to be assumed as in any way -wanting in sympathy with, or loyalty to, the mother country in the matter of the flag.

Le me make it clear that this committee is simply a committee to study and report.

A Canadian Flag

Well, we will be reporting on the black flag before long if we do not do something to aid employment. I was glad to see this party the other day hauling down the old flag of laissez faire in this country and adopting a flag for doing something for the workers. After all is said and done, the Conservative party, the founders and authors of protection, should not see it made the farce it is, and the consumer and labourer should be protected. We want something more practical like that, a flag emblazoning as a party policy the old square deal flag of Theodore Roosevelt and the new deal flag of Woodrow Wilson.

I am absolutely opposed to any change in the flag we have. It is only fair to the leader of the opposition (Mr. King), the then prime minister, that I should read the last two or three paragraphs of his reply, because I might be doing him an injustice if I did not read them at the present time in view of what has gone on before. He said:

Let me make it quite clear that this committee is simply a committee to study and report. The government has no intention of taking any action in this matter without taking parliament fully into its confidence. Any report that is made will be submitted to parliament at a time when this matter may come up for discussion. There is, I think, on the order paper at the present time a resolution in the name of an hon. member suggesting that the house should consider this matter. It may be of advantage to the house to have before it, when a motion of this kind is being debated, the different suggestions that may have been made, and something in the nature of a report on the part of a representative committee such as the one here referred to. That is the sole and only object of the order I have read to the house. I do not hesitate to say that the government would not for a moment consider adopting a national flag other than by resolution of this house and the full sanction of the parliament of Canada. But surely that question can be referred to in a calm manner as one worthy of consideration. . . . Speaking for myself, may T say that while I am able to sympathize with the point of view which would have for Canada a distinctive national flag, just as Australia. South Africa and other of the self-governing British dominions have their national flags, I would be proud and happy to have Canada continue in the future as in the past to have the union jack recognized ns the national flag, moreover. T would not lend my support to any proposal which did not include the union jack as the most distinctive feature of any national flag that at any time it might be proposed to adopt.

Those are the views of the Liberal leader. This putting of the union jack on a new Canadian flag is simply the thin end of the wedge; it is what has been done in this country in the past ten or fifteen years and what in this house some twelve years ago I called separatism. The only ties that bind us to the mother land are those of race and blood; that is all.

I might also mention the appeals to the privy council which some would like to eliminate as well. We are not a nation. It was said that Sir Wilfrid Laurier made us a nation. We are not a nation because we cannot protect our trade routes. We are to-day sponging upon the British taxpayers for our maritime freedom; we are depending upon them for their boats to keep open our trade routes. While we are talking of getting more trade, in time of trouble we have to run to the motherland. Nearly 100,000 Canadian ex-soldiers last August were in the city I come from for a week, and it was said in the hotels that S5 would cover all the damage they did while they were there. They were consulted on this matter and they were practically unanimous against making any change in the flag which they carried in Flanders and France for the people of this country.

I am absolutely opposed to the resolution and I doubt even if this parliament passes it, whether it would be recognized by any large body of public opinion in this country. I doubt whether the}' will even fly the flag on St. James street, Montreal. There are more important matters that might be considered instead of wasting the time of this honourable house in academic discussions about a flag, especially when we are not a nation and we have no navy to protect our shores except a few boats about the size of those one sees in the canal outside the Chateau Laurier. That is the type of boat the people of Canada have for preserving maritime freedom, yet we are talking about adopting a flag for our merchant marine. I have never been on the high seas. True it is, many hon. members have taken the opportunity in the recess of parliament to become international statesmen by going over to the League of Nations and possibly they have seen the flag of the merchant marine flying on the Atlantic, the Pacific, the South Australian ocean and all the oceans aordering on the seven seas, but this is no time for the passing of this resolution and if it is passed I -believe the new flag will never be flown to any extent in the soldier province of Ontario.

Topic:   A CANADIAN FLAG
Subtopic:   PROPOSAL FOR A NATIONAL EMBLEM ON WHICH UNION JACK SHALL BE CONSPICUOUS
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CON

William Gordon Ernst

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. W. G. ERNST (Queens-Lunenburg):

Mr. Speaker, the only consideration that impels me to take part in the debate at this time is the attitude of the hon. member for Toronto Northwest (Mr. MacNicol) and the hon. member for East. Toronto (Mr. Church). May I first make a passing reference to the specific suggestion made by the hon. member for East Toronto? He said in. his rambling address, "Let us restore the Magna Charta

A Canadian Flag

to this country," and I noticed that those across the way applauded, led by the exPrime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King). I can quite understand that, because I know the leader of the opposition is familiar with the Magna Charta and the whys and wherefores of it. He knows it has long since been disproved that the Magna Charta was a charter of liberty to the people at large and that it was only a written guarantee for the privileges of the barons. I understand the applause of hon. gentlemen opposite.

With reference to the attitude taken by the hon. member for Toronto Northwest and by the hon. member for East Toronto, they tell us that they are interpreting public opinion in the city of Toronto. I prefer to believe and to hope they are not, but if they are, I can only say: Good Lord, deliver us!

Topic:   A CANADIAN FLAG
Subtopic:   PROPOSAL FOR A NATIONAL EMBLEM ON WHICH UNION JACK SHALL BE CONSPICUOUS
Permalink
CON

John Ritchie MacNicol

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MacNICOL:

On a point of privilege, I did not at any time during my remarks say that I was representing public opinion in Toronto. Someone on the opposite side said something about Toronto and I said that the question was not one of Toronto at all.

Topic:   A CANADIAN FLAG
Subtopic:   PROPOSAL FOR A NATIONAL EMBLEM ON WHICH UNION JACK SHALL BE CONSPICUOUS
Permalink
CON

William Gordon Ernst

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. ERNST:

I am glad the hon. member says that he was not representing Toronto public opinion, because I am satisfied he was not.

Topic:   A CANADIAN FLAG
Subtopic:   PROPOSAL FOR A NATIONAL EMBLEM ON WHICH UNION JACK SHALL BE CONSPICUOUS
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CON

John Ritchie MacNicol

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MacNICOL:

The hon. gentleman may like to quibble a little bit, but I did not use that expression at all. I represent a riding in Toronto. What I said was that I was not speaking as representing the public opinion of Toronto. Toronto has its own public opinion and the people there can speak for themselves.

Topic:   A CANADIAN FLAG
Subtopic:   PROPOSAL FOR A NATIONAL EMBLEM ON WHICH UNION JACK SHALL BE CONSPICUOUS
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CON

William Gordon Ernst

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. ERNST:

Topic:   A CANADIAN FLAG
Subtopic:   PROPOSAL FOR A NATIONAL EMBLEM ON WHICH UNION JACK SHALL BE CONSPICUOUS
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CON

Ira Delbert Cotnam

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. COTNAM:

How do you explain that?

Topic:   A CANADIAN FLAG
Subtopic:   PROPOSAL FOR A NATIONAL EMBLEM ON WHICH UNION JACK SHALL BE CONSPICUOUS
Permalink
CON

William Gordon Ernst

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. ERNST:

I do not want to elaborate. They are identical in that they are Canadian, but I am speaking now in a purely and technically economic sense. The interests of Ontario or British Columbia are not identical with those of the prairie provinces. And when those interests conflict, as they sometimes do, it is necessary, and must be as long as Canada is to remain a country, to bind it together by compromise. Under these circumstances I conceive that a common symbol which we all recognize as Canadian is something worth while, and a flag is such a symbol.

The same thing applies to race. We have in Canada two great races. Much of the tradition behind them differs, but the future which lies ahead ought to be a common future. If we had a flag to which they both could look, typifying Canada, it would help to weld those two great races in Canada into one. No policy can work in this country if, as has happened in the past-some of us here are not free from sin, and some hon. gentlemen on the other side also have tried to do it-we play one part of this country against another. If we go on doing that we shall destroy it. I for one want a flag to make my people realize that they are part of Canada and not of Nova Scotia alone.

When I hear the hon. member for Toronto Northwest talk about the five hundred thousand Canadian troops overseas, may I say that I was one out of the many. It is true we marched under the union jack, but of all the tunes to which we listened there was none that gave the thrill or throb of O Canada. I venture to say further that had we had a flag which was typically Canadian we would have been proud of it, and would have carried it with the same distinction with which we carried the maple leaf upon our shoulders. I do not want to discard the union jack; I believe firmly in the empire as being a benefit to the world and necessary to peace, but if Canadians are to be Canadians they must be Canadians as well as British citizens. If this country is to endure we need some symbol which is Canadian and Canadian only.

Topic:   A CANADIAN FLAG
Subtopic:   PROPOSAL FOR A NATIONAL EMBLEM ON WHICH UNION JACK SHALL BE CONSPICUOUS
Permalink
CON

James Arthurs

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. JAMES ARTHURS (Parry Sound):

Mr. Speaker, I had no desire to intervene in this debate but at the same time there are a few words I wish to say. The previous speaker has given only one reason why there should be any change in the flag of this 92582-9

country. He says there are four legations in foreign countries which fly a flag which is not rightly nor legally theirs. Who is objecting to this? The people in Japan or France or any of these other countries? I have heard of no objection from any of them. They are quite content to use the Canadian legation in those countries whatever flag flies over it.

For many years this proposal has been a hardy annual in this parliament-a great many more years perhaps than I care to look back upon. It has always been brought forward by hon. gentlemen who had some particular flag in their mind, and we have been pressed and harassed for years by people seeking our approval of their designs. Well, I do not claim to represent people as intelligent as they perhaps have in some parts of Nova Scotia, who can teach us how to speak English and that sort of thing, but I have yet to find a man in my riding who has any desire for a change in this flag. It is recognized in Canada that on our merchant ships we have the emblem sanctioned by parliament, and that our flag for use on the land is the union jack. We who went overseas were glad to go under that flag, we were proud of the flag, as are Canadians and Britishers the world over. A man who has been in a foreign country, and who, on approaching his own, sees for the first time the flag waving on the shore, is proud of his British connection. If he is a Canadian he does not need any distinctive flag for that purpose. With all this in my mind, and the union jack having been our flag for so many years, I still admit that something might be done to ease the mind of those who are so anxious for a change. Consequently I personally would be agreeable to amend the motion now before the house. Therefore I would move, seconded by Mr. Garland (Carleton):

That the motion be amended by striking out the last paragraph; and

Adding to the first paragraph the words "which shall be the union jack, upon which for use on marine vessels and for extraterritorial places the word 'Canada' and/or such national emblems as this parliament may approve may be placed, but such word and/or emblems shall not occupy more than one-eighth of the surface of the flag.

Topic:   A CANADIAN FLAG
Subtopic:   PROPOSAL FOR A NATIONAL EMBLEM ON WHICH UNION JACK SHALL BE CONSPICUOUS
Permalink
CON

David Spence

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. DAVID SPENCE (Parkdale):

Mr. Speaker, I think it is regrettable that so much time should be lost in this house in discussing unimportant questions of this kind, and I call this matter unimportant. It has been introduced repeatedly since 1921 from both sides of the house but, as some hon. members

A Canadian Flag

have said, I do not think there is any demand for a change except from one or two hon. members themselves. I very much regret having to go against the two estimable gentlemen who moved and seconded the resolution, but I have opposed this proposal on all occasions and I intend to oppose it again today, without regard to who moved and seconded it. Some may have thought that because the resolution was moved from the other side of the house in other years I was opposed to it for that reason only, but that is not so.

I have travelled over a large part of this world by land and sea; always I have been proud to be a Britisher and under the old union jack. I see no reason why we should not be satisfied with that flag. I do not think anything of an irritating nature should be introduced in this house at this time. This is the wrong time for that sort of thing. Changing the flag is not going to bring better times. We should be devoting our time to improving the conditions of the good people of Canada. God knows they need it. This depression is lasting too long. I do not believe it is with the approval of the Prime Minister (Mr. Bennett) that so much time is being lost in the discussion of the question of whether or not we should change our flag. We should be satisfied with what we have, as the hon. member for Toronto Northwest (Mr. MacNicol) and the hon. member for Bast Toronto (Mr. Church), have Said. My hon. friend from Queens-Lunenburg (Mr. Ernst) made a very good speech, but I cannot agree with all he said. I think we should get down to business and do something ih the interests of Canada instead of losing tide talking about a new flag that will not put'a bite in the mouth of anyone who is hungry.

Topic:   A CANADIAN FLAG
Subtopic:   PROPOSAL FOR A NATIONAL EMBLEM ON WHICH UNION JACK SHALL BE CONSPICUOUS
Permalink
CON

George Spotton

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. GEORGE SPOTTON (North Huron):

Mr. Speaker, as this is my first opportunity let me congratulate you on your appointme'ilt to the position of Speaker of this house, for which you are eminently fitted by training, talent and temperament.

I do feel that if I remain silent at this moment I might be misunderstood by the people of my county. I have heard no one in the county of Huron suggest that he was t0o good for the union jack or that the uniofi jack was not good enough for him. While I have remained silent year after year when this question was under discussion, believing there was no danger of any action being taken, because of the temper of the chamber to-day I feel that I must place myself on record on this occasion. It is only too true that we might be better engaged in doing something which would relieve the suffering [Mr. Spence.J

of our people, instead of being engaged in this discussion, but since this matter is under consideration I feel that it is of sufficient importance to warrant my taking up some of the time of the house.

I notice that hon. gentlemen opposite arp very impatient and, indeed, are determined that they shall direct the course of this house. They forget, of course, that there was an election in 1930; they think they are still in the saddle. They are trying to tell this house what it shall take up and when, and during the recent by-elections in the province of Ontario they were trying to tell this government when the next election should be held. I well remember in the session of 1930 that when the then Prime Minister gave notice that he was going to dissolve the house and appeal to the country I said to one of his ministers, "Do you not think you are making a mistake in going to the country now, when conditions are not good?" He said, "Oh, no-

Topic:   A CANADIAN FLAG
Subtopic:   PROPOSAL FOR A NATIONAL EMBLEM ON WHICH UNION JACK SHALL BE CONSPICUOUS
Permalink
LIB

Frederick George Sanderson

Liberal

Mr. SANDERSON:

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker-

Topic:   A CANADIAN FLAG
Subtopic:   PROPOSAL FOR A NATIONAL EMBLEM ON WHICH UNION JACK SHALL BE CONSPICUOUS
Permalink
CON

George Spotton

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SPOTTON:

-"we are just on the slide down, and conditions will be much worse next year. Therefore we are going to the country now."

Mr. SANDERSON; I rise to a point of order.

Topic:   A CANADIAN FLAG
Subtopic:   PROPOSAL FOR A NATIONAL EMBLEM ON WHICH UNION JACK SHALL BE CONSPICUOUS
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CON

Pierre Édouard Blondin (Speaker of the Senate)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SPEAKER:

Order.

Topic:   A CANADIAN FLAG
Subtopic:   PROPOSAL FOR A NATIONAL EMBLEM ON WHICH UNION JACK SHALL BE CONSPICUOUS
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CON

George Spotton

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SPOTTON:

Then when it comes

Topic:   A CANADIAN FLAG
Subtopic:   PROPOSAL FOR A NATIONAL EMBLEM ON WHICH UNION JACK SHALL BE CONSPICUOUS
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LIB

Frederick George Sanderson

Liberal

Mr. SANDERSON:

My point of order is that the hon. member for North Huron (Mr. Spotton) is entirely out of order in discussing, on the resolution now before the house, when an election will or will not take place. He is not speaking to the resolution at all.

Topic:   A CANADIAN FLAG
Subtopic:   PROPOSAL FOR A NATIONAL EMBLEM ON WHICH UNION JACK SHALL BE CONSPICUOUS
Permalink
CON

George Spotton

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SPOTTON:

I am explaining the attitude of the speakers on the other side of the chamber.

Topic:   A CANADIAN FLAG
Subtopic:   PROPOSAL FOR A NATIONAL EMBLEM ON WHICH UNION JACK SHALL BE CONSPICUOUS
Permalink
LIB

Frederick George Sanderson

Liberal

Mr. SANDERSON:

I want your ruling, Mr. Speaker.

Topic:   A CANADIAN FLAG
Subtopic:   PROPOSAL FOR A NATIONAL EMBLEM ON WHICH UNION JACK SHALL BE CONSPICUOUS
Permalink
CON

Pierre Édouard Blondin (Speaker of the Senate)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SPEAKER:

I do not think the hon. member has been out of order as yet.

Topic:   A CANADIAN FLAG
Subtopic:   PROPOSAL FOR A NATIONAL EMBLEM ON WHICH UNION JACK SHALL BE CONSPICUOUS
Permalink

January 23, 1935