Mr. A. J. ANDERSON (Toronto-High Park):
Mr. Speaker, this question seems to
have centred about the city of Toronto and the province of Ontario. I have not practised flag waving at all. As other hon. members have said I hope I am a good British subject and a first class Canadian citizen. It seems to me that what we require in Canada is cooperation in extending and building up a finer Canadian spirit than has sometimes been exhibited.
This motion is for the purpose of establishing a national flag. I must say I do not know the particular object which could be served by having another flag. People of this country so far as I can ascertain have not in any way shown any dislike for the union jack. For many years the dominions in all parts of the globe have spoken imperially and in the different conferences we have always stressed the point that we desired to continue to remain a part of the British commonwealth of nations. Up to the year 1926 we had considered our status in the empire from a legal and constitutional standpoint. It appeared to many people including myself that the tendency was toward separation rather than a continuation of a connection with the British empire. I think that feeling was apparent throughout the empire. The result was that when in 1930 representatives from various parts of the commonwealth assembled in London there was a desire, as evidenced by the addresses, to strengthen the British connection. It was urged that we had attained a certain amount of national or inter-imperial independence which greatly extended the powers of the dominions. There was a feeling however that something was lacking, and the result was that all the representatives at the conference stressed the necessity fbr something to bind the various parts of the empire together. It may be that that conference did not produce a great deal, but we find that later on those same dominions joined in an effort to strengthen their connection with the
result that the agreements of the year 1932 showed conclusively the dominions desired to remain closely connected with the motherland and with one another. In all our conferences and throughout our history our progress has been made under the union jack as it exists to-day.
For a few moments I should like to refer to those tragic days between 1914 and 1919. We saw a large army, to a great extent voluntary, proceeding across the seas to assist the motherland in her efforts to establish what she considered right. Those 500,000 men were assembled under the flag of Great Britain. So far as they were concerned there was no desire to have a distinctive flag over them. That was not necessary in order to ensure their loyalty and allegiance to the principles of British institutions and British justice. They did their best for the empire and in their great effort probably did more to advance Canadian sentiment or Canadian consciousness than had been done previously in our history. It is unfortunate that an event of such a tragic nature was necessary in order to bring about that sentiment. An observer whose statements I have read recently has said that one day he was standing near Poperinghe in the war region when a division of the Canadian army was marching towards the Somme. He states that for the first time in his life he felt a real thrill when he saw those men marching along to Canadian tunes and Canadian songs with the union jack at their head. He then began to feel that Canada had a sentiment. And that is the sentiment we ought to try to continue to-day. In my riding, which is part of the city of Toronto, there is no desire for a new flag. The sentiment is that the union jack is quite sufficient for all purposes; it represents the best there is in British traditions and in the history of the British people. It represents the best that is meant by the words Britain and British.
As regards the proposal to make the flag distinctive, we do not need anything of the kind in Canada. It might be advisable and in the interests of this country, for the sake of distinctiveness, that on the union jack there should be some design that would not to any great extent encroach upon the design of the flag as it stands now-merely something to bring out the distinctiveness of the flag as appropriate to Canada itself. But that would apply only to extraterritorial purposes, for instance, for use overseas by our embassies, in legations and so on. At any rate, so far as my own constituency is concerned, the sentiment there is that the union jack is quite
A Canadian Flag
sufficient for Canada and that any change that might be made should be simply an addition in a small way to make it distinctive of our country when it is flown abroad.
Subtopic: PROPOSAL FOR A NATIONAL EMBLEM ON WHICH UNION JACK SHALL BE CONSPICUOUS