The Images of a Country
Saskatchewan Council for Archives & Archivists
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Stating "in Newfoundland we stand for the Union Jack," Premier Joey Smallwood negotiated a compromise with Lester Pearson: legislation bringing in the new flag also would allow for the Union Jack to be flown to denote Canada's membership in the Commonwealth. John Diefenbaker delighted in what became known as the "Two Flag Policy," calling it "one for show and one for Joe."

Throughout the debate many Canadians expressed a desire to incorporate the Union Jack within any new flag. As reasons they cited Canada's membership in the Commonwealth, the parliamentary system and rule of law; many had been outraged when Queen Elizabeth's safety was threatened during a tour of Quebec.

Original: wax crayon, pencil crayon, ballpoint pen; Alberta, 1964.

I am an ex-soldier and we were proud to stand under the Ensign and fight and Die. Please give this your immediate attention. We are all Canadians.

The Commonwealth and Empire has in the past been a tremendous, active, and moral force for sense and reason in a troubled world and its members have shown remarkable unity in testing times. We hope this unity of kindred peoples be not allowed to disappear.

Saskatchewan, 20 May 1964

Do away with our present flag with all its traditions, next the Queen and Commonwealth, then what - welcome Communism?

Manitoba, 23 July 1964

Original: ballpoint pen; Saskatchewan, 17 June 1964

The ten maple leaves represent the ten provinces and encircle the rose, thistle, shamrock, and fleur-de-lis. This recalls to mind that we used to sing in school about 1910: The rose and the thistle, the shamrock and lis all bloom in one garden 'neath the maple tree.

It is, in a sense, not the flag itself that is important....What is important is what the flag represents. And this is our British constitution...founded...on the principle of the supremacy of the law...guarantees that I am a free man. If the one major thing which makes us different from the Americans is allowed to be eroded, or destroyed outright, we shall find ourselves not only culturally and economically Americans, but politically Americans as well.

British Columbia, 8 August 1964

I am not a Conservative - but I am very grateful to you for your support of the Red Ensign and the Union Jack. If our flag goes - the ties with Crown and Commonwealth will inevitably follow. We want our flag with its Union Jack to symbolize our pride in our heritage, and to honour the great nation which has nurtured us to maturity. We want our rightful place in the British Commonwealth of Nations. And we want Quebec, as well as all the other provinces, to share in the greatness and growing prosperity of our country.

Alberta, 19 November 1964

Originals: watercolour and ballpoint pen; Alberta, May 1964



 2003 Diefenbaker Canada Centre Archives