Displacing A Flag Means Displacing A History

Displacing A Flag Means Displacing A History :
The Red Ensign Forever

By Rose Smith

On February 15, 1965, at 12 noon EST, the Red Ensign, Canada’s flag from as early as 1868, was lowered on Parliament Hill. In its stead, in spite of overwhelming opposition from veterans of two World Wars and the British-Canadian majority, a new Maple Leaf flag unreflective of our heritage was raised.

The displaced Red Ensign flag had consisted of two symbols on a red background :


(1) The symbol in the top left was the Union Jack which represented the union of England, Scotland and Ireland. It was intended to show the influence of The English, Scots and Irish in the history of Canada. The Union Jack represented Canada’s Christian heritage. It contained three crosses : One was the red horizontal cross of Saint George, the patron saint of England. The second was an “X” shaped white cross which depicted the “X” shaped cross on which Scotland’s patron saint, Saint Andrew, was crucified. The third was the diagonal St. Patrick’s red cross of Ireland.

(2) The second symbol (bottom right) was a shield which contained five sections, four of which represented the influence of the English, the Scots, the Irish and the French. The fifth section contained three maple leaves. One of the interpretations of the three leaves is that they represented the Aboriginal, English and French history of Canada.

Present at the ceremony, Honourable Maurice Bourget, then Speaker of the Senate, stated, “The flag is the symbol of the nation’s unity, for it, beyond any doubt, represents all the citizens of Canada without distinction of race, language, belief or opinion.” To the veterans and many other Canadians, this statement represented the erasing of Canada’s rich history and the unofficial beginning of Multiculturalism in Canada.

The replacement of the Red Ensign also foreshadowed the massive social and cultural changes that were to take place not long after. In changing the flag that honoured the Aboriginal, British, and French founding peoples to a flag honouring none of them, Canada had signaled that its new Maple Leaf flag would precede major changes.

One of the first changes came in 1967 with the implementation of the Immigration Points System, which veered the focus of immigration away from culturally-compatible immigrants, from traditional sources like Great Britain and Europe, to immigrants from virtually anywhere in the world.

Many other negative changes followed. One of the most significant was the virtual institutionalizing of a 250,000 immigrant intake in 1990. Almost all of the changes were implemented without any consultation with the people of Canada.

On this, the 50th anniversary of the great flag change in Canada, Canadians should ponder what has happened to their country. They should also think of what will happen unless Canadians re-take control of the country’s immigration policies.



To see the litany of changes that followed the change in Canada’s flag,, read “The Demolition of A Nation, One Step At A Time” : http://www.immigrationwatchcanada.org/?s=tim+murray&button=search

For a short video featuring P.M. Lester Pearson addressing a large gathering of members of the Canadian Legion, see http://youtu.be/OCOQxVz6neQ

For the Department of Canadian Heritage’s description of the symbols in Canada’s Red Ensign, see the information in this link : http://www.pch.gc.ca/eng/1359472226443/1359472288882#a2 The following is part of the Department of Canadian Heritage’s description of the shield in the Red Ensign :

The design of the arms of Canada reflects the royal symbols of Great Britain and France (the three royal lions of England, the royal lion of Scotland, the royal fleurs-de-lis of France and the royal Irish harp of Tara. On the bottom portion of the shield is a sprig of three Canadian maple leaves representative of Canadians of all origins.

The first quarter consists of the three gold lions of England walking and shown full face, on a red background. The lion is the oldest device known in heraldry and, as “king of beasts”, was adopted by kings of Leon, Norway and Denmark as their emblem. However, the origin of the three royal lions of England still remains a mystery. In the 11th century, Henry I, known as “the lion of justice”, may have been the first English king to use a lion. It is uncertain as to why a second lion suddenly appeared. When Henry II married Eleanor of Aquitaine, whose family emblem was also a lion, it is believed that he added the third lion. There is no question that, when he led his English troops in the Crusades, Richard I, “the Lion-Hearted” carried a shield emblazoned with three golden lions on a red background. To this day they have been the royal symbol of England.

The second quarter consists of a red lion rearing on the left hind foot, within a red double border with fleurs-de-lis, on a gold background. The royal lion of Scotland was probably first used by King William, who was known as “the lion”. However it was certainly used by his son, Alexander III, who made Scotland an independent nation.

The third quarter is a gold harp with silver strings, on a blue background. North of the present city of Dublin, there is a hill called Tara which for centuries was the religious and cultural capital of ancient Ireland. If you visit the site, you will see a 750 foot earthen work that is said to have been the site of the banqueting hall of Irish kings. Thomas Moore recalls the history of this site in one of the most famous of all Irish lyrics that begins: “”The harp that once through Tara’s hall the soul of music shed…”” There is a legend, recorded in C.W. Scott-Giles monumental work The Romance of Heraldry, that this harp was found and came into the possession of the pope. In the 16th century, Henry VIII suppressed the Irish people in his attempt to become the lawful successor to the kings of ancient Ireland. The pope sent the harp of Tara to England whereupon Henry added its likeness to his royal shield. From this time it has remained a symbol of Ireland.

The fourth quarter depicts three gold fleurs-de-lis, on a blue background. The fleurs-de-lis was the first heraldic emblem raised in Canada. On July 24, 1534, Jacques Cartier landed at Gaspé and erected a cross, affixed with the symbol of his sovereign and the royal house of France.

The bottom and final section consists of a Canadian symbol : three red maple leaves conjoined on one stem, on a silver or white background. Throughout the 19th century, the maple leaf had gradually become closely identified with Canada. The maple leaf had been worn as a symbol of Canada during the visit of the Prince of Wales in 1860. The song “The Maple Leaf Forever”, written by the Toronto school teacher Alexander Muir in 1868 had become Canada’s national song. During World War I, the maple leaf was incorporated into the badge of many Canadian regiments. It was most appropriate that three maple leaves were given a commanding position within the shield, which made it unmistakably “Canadian”.