Friday, January 16, 2015

Happy Birthday Canadian Flag (sort of)

On February 15, 1965 the Canadian flag as we know it was raised officially for the first time. Next month is the 50th anniversary of this event, but where are the Conservatives who have figuratively, if not literally, wrapped themselves in the flag at every opportunity? Pretty much missing in action.

Having spent boatloads of cash on the War of 1812 ($28 million) and recently on Sir John A. Macdonald's 200th birthday ($4 million), how much have they set aside for our national flag's 50th?

$50,000. Yep.

To put that in perspective, I created this little infographic:

Pretty sad.

When I mentioned this on twitter, I was surprised to find there were still barnacled conservatives for who this is still a sore point. The Red Ensign forever! No to the "Pearson Pennant"! It was another Liberal plot to rob us of our identity and hand our heritage over to minorities, etc.

And you thought dinosaurs were extinct.

Some decried the absence of British blue (actually Scottish, as the blue part of the Union Flag is for Scotland's St Andrew Cross). In fact, red and white (no blue) were declared the official colours of Canada in November 1921 by King George V in the last month of Conservative Prime Minister Arthur Meighen's government. Until 1946 the British flag (known erroneously as the Union Jack) was the official flag of Canada. The Red Ensign was used on government buildings unofficially. Updated with the Canadian shield granted in 1921, the Red Ensign only officially became the Canadian flag in 1946.

Finally, what is there to make of this from the 2015 Government of Canada History Awards essay competition?

"Current flag"?  "Does it still reflect Canadian society today?"  If I didn't know better, I'd think someone was testing the waters to see how attached we are to our "current flag".