ICYMI: Why a flag has New Zealand in a flap

Our flag debate was controversial and divisive at the time. While there is still some nostalgia in some quarters for the red ensign and flying the Union Jack, comment by New Zealand Prime Minister Kay on how it is accepted is correct:

Prime Minister John Key, an avowed monarchist (and a buddy of Prime Minister Stephen Harper), wants a new flag. Last month, he pledged a referendum on the matter if he’s re-elected this fall, which is highly likely.

“Back in 1965, Canada changed its flag from one that, like ours, also had the Union Jack in the corner, and replaced it with the striking symbol of modern Canada that all of us recognize and can identify today,” Mr. Key said last month.

“Fifty years on, I can’t imagine many Canadians would, if asked, choose to go back to the old flag. That flag represented Canada as it was once, rather than as it is now.”

Mr. Key is right about that. Many Canadians will recall the “flag debate” in which former prime minister John Diefenbaker led his Progressive Conservatives in a ferocious and protracted parliamentary battle to preserve the Red Ensign. Mr. Diefenbaker was on the wrong side of history (as he often was, despite today’s Conservative attempts to lionize him). Today, almost no one wants to return to the Red Ensign. Apart from hard-core Quebec secessionists, the red Maple Leaf is liked and admired both in Canada and abroad.

We sometimes had discussions with Minister Kenney’s staff on which flags should be on stage for various events. Their general preference was to have the historic flags as well as the current flag.

Why a flag has New Zealand in a flap – The Globe and Mail.

About Andrew
Andrew blogs and tweets public policy issues, particularly the relationship between the political and bureaucratic levels, citizenship and multiculturalism. His latest book, Policy Arrogance or Innocent Bias, recounts his experience as a senior public servant in this area.

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