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A Canadian Flag 

Published by 




National Secretary-Treasurer 
Transcona, Man. 


In the year 1869 by order of Sir John A. 
Macdonald's government the Red Ensign with a 
Canadian badge in the fly, was flown as our 
official flag. This practice was continued for 
35 years. 

In 1904 by order of the Minister of Public 
Works at that time, the Red Ensign was replaced 
by the Union Jack. 

In the year 1924, in order to distinguish offices 
and buildings such as those of the Canadian 
High Commissioner in London, and offices in 
foreign capitals as in Tokyo, Washington and 
Paris, the Red Ensign was authorized to be 
flown on such buildings. This same flag is 
authorized for use by Canada's merchant 
marine. At the same time the Union Jack was 
flown as our flag for use within Canada, though 
never authorized by Parliament. 

In any country (Canada excepted) the flag 
represents sovereignty of that country's 

In the United Kingdom, sovereignty resides in 
Parliament. The Union Jack then represents 
the authority of the British government. ... It 
is the proper flag to fly in any country under 
the rule of that government. This includes the 
United Kingdom and its dependencies. 

Canada is not a dependent but is a self- 
governing country. It is not proper therefore 
to fly as OUR flag one which indicates sover- 
eignty of another country. 

The Red Ensign is primarily a British flag 
flown by merchant vessels. It is used, however, 
as the flag of many British colonies. These 
colonial flags are all basically the Ensign. They 
differ only in that the badge in the fly represents 

a particular colony. The place of honor, the 
upper staff quarter, is given to the Union Jack, 
thus indicating that the British government 
exercises authority over the colony. Since that 
authority has, in the case of Canada, ceased to 
exist, it is not proper that we should fly a 
colonial flag. The place of honor on the Can- 
adian flag should be given to an emblem 
distinctive of the country for which the flag 
flies; that is, for Canada. 

We often hear the question, "What is wrong 
with the Union Jack? 

There is nothing wrong. It typifies the free- 
dom that has been won for the individual man 
under its protection. It has a sentimental value 
for those of British origin. It is a beautiful 
flag and cannot be mistaken for any other flag 
in the world. It represents the authority of the 
British government. We need a flag represent- 
ing the authority of OUR government. 

Though a flag really represents the govern- 
ment of the country for which it flies, it is 
looked upon also as representing the people of 
that country. 

The Union Jack in the place of honor on the 
Red Ensign is seen by people of foreign countries 
as indicating dominance of one particular race. 
The population of our country is of many racial 
origins. If we attempted to represent all or 
even a few of them, we should have, not a flag 
but rather something resembling a patchwork 

Order-in-Council P.C. 5888 of September 5th, 
1945, states that: until such action is taken by 
Parliament, "His Excellency the Governor - 
General-in-Council, on the recommendation of 
the Prime Minister is pleased to order and doth 
hereby order that the Red Ensign with the shield 
of the Coat of Arms of Canada in the fly may be 

flown from buildings owned or occupied by the 
Federal Government within and without 

This of course was only a temporary measure 
pending the report of the "flag committee," and 
action thereon by Parliament. 

In November, 1945, a joint committee of the 
Senate and the House of Commons was 
appointed to choose and to recommend the 
adoption of a suitable design for a Canadian 

On July 11th, 1946, this committee submitted 
the following recommendation: "that this Com- 
mittee recommend that the National Flag of 
Canada should be the Canadian Red Ensign 
with a Maple Leaf in autumn gold colors in a 
bordered background of white replacing the 

coat-of-arms in the fly " No action was 

taken by the government at the session then 
sitting nor was it introduced at the next 

Here the matter rests. We are still the only 
self-governing country in the world without a 
distinctive flag. 

One of the greatest needs in our country is 
to secure unity among all its people. Unity 
can be typified by something truly Canadian 
that will appeal to all. The Maple Leaf is 
admittedly the emblem of Canada. Let the 
Maple Leaf or some design with it as the most 
prominent feature, be in the place of honor on 
our new flag. To our people of every race and 
creed it will then be a symbol of unity.