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PostPosted: Sat Mar 24, 2007 5:41 am
 


Veterans groups want to mark anniversary with ensign under which soldiers fought

ALEX DOBROTA

From Tuesday's Globe and Mail

OTTAWA — Nearly a century ago, Canadian soldiers crossed a muddy ridge in Vimy, France, as they fought and died under a flag relegated since to history -- the Red Ensign.

Today, a group of campaigners and veterans groups are mired in a fight with the federal bureaucracy to hoist that standard once more over Vimy Ridge.

But Ottawa is yielding not an inch. Next month, on the battle's 90th anniversary, the Maple Leaf, Canada's official flag since 1965, will fly alone at the newly restored Canadian National Vimy Memorial, a spokeswoman said.

And the Red Ensign will only be displayed inside an interpretative centre nearby, she said.

"That's a flag that more that 111,000 people died under -- what's going on here?" asked John Heyes, a retired public servant who has been lobbying Veterans Affairs Canada.

"For me, my granddad was in the Great War and he was wounded twice in France," Mr. Heyes said. "I look at this and say 'why isn't that flag going to be there?' "

As many as 3,598 Canadians died at Vimy in April of 1917, during what many consider as this country's greatest deed of arms.

Mr. Heyes and Bill Bishop, a B.C. maintenance worker, have led the brunt of the charge against Ottawa, sending hundreds of letters to government departments and MPs.

They want the Red Ensign to fly alongside the Maple Leaf at Vimy. And their campaign has garnered support from a dozen Ontario branches of the Royal Canadian Legion and from the RCMP Veterans' Association.

The proposal was also endorsed by Conservative MP Jason Kenney, the Secretary of State for Multiculturalism and Canadian identity. In a letter penned this year, Mr. Kenney said he approved of the idea of both flags flying over Vimy commemoration ceremonies, Mr. Heyes said.

But Veterans Affairs cited a governmental protocol that allows no other flag than the Maple Leaf to fly on federal property. The land on which the Vimy Memorial was build was donated to Canada by France.

"We know where the veterans are coming from . . . but we have to follow protocol," said Janice Summerby, a spokeswoman for Veterans Affairs.

The Red Ensign, a British naval flag, replaced the Union Jack as Canada's official standard a few years after Confederation.

Many Canadian soldiers who went into battles in the two world wars under the Red Ensign are not willing to give up their standard, veterans' advocates said.

And the latest debate has laid bare an old wound with veterans, while dividing historians, experts on both sides said.

"A lot of veterans are actually saying, 'when I am buried I want the Red Ensign [draped] over my coffin,' " said Dianne Crompton, president of the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 486.

The Dominion Institute, an organization that promotes Canadian history, is also sympathetic to the veterans' claims.

"The country they were fighting for was as much Britain as it was Canada," said Rudyard Griffiths, executive director. "The flag debate, for a lot of veterans is still not gone away."

But at least one historian would like to see that debate buried in the annals of history. David Bercuson, of the University of Calgary, said the Red Ensign was only adopted with the understanding that it was to be replaced by a permanent standard.

"The ensign was never an official flag," Prof. Bercuson said. "We left that behind 42 years ago and I don't see why anybody would want to revisit that."

On April 9, 1917, more than 15,000 Canadian soldiers attacked the heavily fortified positions at Vimy Ridge, advancing behind a barrage of artillery fire that swept through the German trenches.

Canadians captured the ridge within three days, realizing what French and British soldiers at the time considered an impossible task.

The Union Jack: Properly known as the Royal Union Flag, it has been flown in Canada as far back as 1621. While the Red Ensign had flown on government buildings since Confederation, its use on land was never formally sanctioned. In 1904, with the patriotic fervour toward the British Empire after the Boer War, the Union Jack was again hoisted above the Parliament Buildings, and was the flag Canadian troops carried into the First World War.

The Red Ensign: Also known as the Canadian Merchant Marine flag. This red flag with the Union Jack in the upper left corner, accompanied by a shield with the quartered arms of the first four provinces to join Confederation, was used as Canada's national flag from 1870 to 1904. As other provinces joined Confederation, their provincial arms were incorporated into the shield.

Canadian Red Ensign: In 1921 the Canadian government's request for a grant of arms was approved by King George V. In 1924, an order-in-council formalized the new Canadian Red Ensign with the new Canadian Coat of Arms, replacing the composite shield of provincial arms. The order also allowed the country to display this symbol on its government buildings abroad. A 1945 order-in-council permitted the Canadian Red Ensign to be used on federal buildings until a national flag could be designed.

The Maple Leaf: In 1964, Prime Minister Lester Pearson informed Parliament of the government's intention to have a national flag designed ahead of the nation's centennial celebration of Confederation. The new design was approved by both houses in December, 1964, and proclaimed by the Queen on Feb. 15, 1965.

Globe & Mail


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 24, 2007 5:50 am
 


the flag which they fought under at the time


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 24, 2007 5:51 am
 


The flag of Canada.


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 24, 2007 6:31 am
 


Red Ensign or both.


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 24, 2007 6:35 am
 


"Red Ensign or both"?!? Jesus!... :roll: :lol:

I think both would be fine, as long as the Maple Leaf takes precedence.


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 24, 2007 7:06 am
 


Streaker wrote:
"Red Ensign or both"?!? Jesus!... :roll: :lol:

I think both would be fine, as long as the Maple Leaf takes precedence.
It's what they fought under, so let them rest under it.


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 24, 2007 7:15 am
 


Tricks wrote:
Streaker wrote:
"Red Ensign or both"?!? Jesus!... :roll: :lol:

I think both would be fine, as long as the Maple Leaf takes precedence.
It's what they fought under, so let them rest under it.


Like I said, I don't mind having both flags present. I got the impression that your first choice would be to eliminate the Maple Leaf and have solely the Red Ensign flying at Vimy - something which even the vets aren't demanding.

Overall, my first choice would be to have the Maple Leaf alone, for the same reasons that David Bercuson mentioned, but having both flags present - with the Maple Leaf taking pride of place - seems like a reasonable compromise to me.


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 24, 2007 7:18 am
 


The PM made the call earlier this week. Both will fly at the re-dedication.

Quote:
Prime Minister Stephen Harper has requested the Red Ensign flag fly at Vimy Ridge ceremonies next month, The Globe and Mail has learned.

Mr. Harper told his cabinet ministers yesterday that he wanted both the Red Ensign and the Maple Leaf hoisted in Vimy, France, at the 90th anniversary of the First World War battle, sources close to the Prime Minister said.

"He said, 'The Red Ensign of 1917 will fly over Vimy,' " one source told The Globe.

The decision was hailed as a victory by veterans' groups and advocates, who have been lobbying Ottawa to have the historical ensign displayed over the Canadian National Vimy Memorial.


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 24, 2007 7:22 am
 


Wullu wrote:
The PM made the call earlier this week. Both will fly at the re-dedication.

Quote:
Prime Minister Stephen Harper has requested the Red Ensign flag fly at Vimy Ridge ceremonies next month, The Globe and Mail has learned.

Mr. Harper told his cabinet ministers yesterday that he wanted both the Red Ensign and the Maple Leaf hoisted in Vimy, France, at the 90th anniversary of the First World War battle, sources close to the Prime Minister said.

"He said, 'The Red Ensign of 1917 will fly over Vimy,' " one source told The Globe.

The decision was hailed as a victory by veterans' groups and advocates, who have been lobbying Ottawa to have the historical ensign displayed over the Canadian National Vimy Memorial.
Holy shyte!!!

The man just climbed a couple rungs on the ladder.

My opinion would have been to fly the Red Ensign atthe top and the Maple Leaf at half mast, upside down, but I'm willing to compromise.


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 24, 2007 7:25 am
 


Streaker wrote:
Tricks wrote:
Streaker wrote:
"Red Ensign or both"?!? Jesus!... :roll: :lol:

I think both would be fine, as long as the Maple Leaf takes precedence.
It's what they fought under, so let them rest under it.


Like I said, I don't mind having both flags present. I got the impression that your first choice would be to eliminate the Maple Leaf and have solely the Red Ensign flying at Vimy - something which even the vets aren't demanding.

Overall, my first choice would be to have the Maple Leaf alone, for the same reasons that David Bercuson mentioned, but having both flags present - with the Maple Leaf taking pride of place - seems like a reasonable compromise to me.
Yeah I didn't word that great, Both should fly.


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 24, 2007 7:31 am
 


Red Ensign and Canadian Flag – perfect nod to the past and a recognition of its scarifies for the present and future


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 24, 2007 1:13 pm
 


I think they should have both flags flying.


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 24, 2007 1:14 pm
 


and kudos to Harper for suggesting it!


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 24, 2007 1:24 pm
 


I like the idea of both flags. Like Mustang says, nice way to tie in past and present, but the flag the fought under has to be there for sure.


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 24, 2007 1:49 pm
 


Both

The Red Ensign to honor those who fought and died under it.

The Maple Leaf because it is now the official flag and as a symbol of what their sacrifices helped to create.


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