Note: This project started in 1992 but only became public in Sept. 1994.
Oct. 5, 1995
In the interest of national unity, many articles are being written now before the Quebec referendum. Most of the articles are written by very knowledgeable people and conclude that the Francophone population especially in Quebec, needs to be recognized as a distinct society.
Excerpts will be presented below to illustrate the general consensus:
1) "Back to the future" From urging that Quebec's distinctiveness be recognized, to its call for free trade with the U.S., the Macdonald royal commission was on the mark.
By: Mr. Jacques Shore in the Montreal Gazette, Sept. '95.
Further text inside says:
With respect to Quebec issues, the Macdonald commission recommended that official bilingualism be encouraged "in the greatest number of provinces" and that the constitution's preamble be amended to recognize Quebec's society's "distinctive character" and Canada's duality.
2) "Canada need Quebec for the sake of its soul"
By: John R. Matheson, chief architech of Canada's Maple Leaf Flag, from The Ottawa Citizen, July 7,'95.
I dare not imagine what I might do if the Parizeau agenda for dismemberment of Canada succeeds, I simply advance the arguement that Canada needs Quebec. I'm not wedded to any particular formula for constitutional renewal. Only a quitter would refuse to consider new strategies and possibly even radical innovation.
I'd argue that Canada needs Quebec not for its resources, not primarily for material reasons, but for profound cultural and spiritual considerations....
Canadians are what they are, tolerant and kindly, compassionate and fair, because of a creative tension "The French fact". We respect and and nurture major differences. We've developed skills in managing diversity. We value individual and collective rights. We search out majority and minority opinions on important issues. We accept that in a democracy no person can have his or her way entirely. We abhor and oppose any selfish disposition to bully or dominate those who are weak or vulnerable. We remain open to new suggestions. All Canadians are willing and eager to improve....
Our national horizons have been enormously broadened by "the French fact", this forever having to "accommodate". Being bonded together in spite of ourselves in this large chilly room has made us what we are.
Canada's federation provided the protective ambience for a small and fragile French community to grow and flourish mightily. It will be recalled that the American Revolution was furthered by passage of the Quebec Act of 1774, designed to safeguard the legal, cultural, religious, and linguistic values all French Canada cherishes today. Quebecers since then have occupied and adorned all highest offices of the state. They have enriched the jurisprudence and letters and life of our nation...
3) Charles Taylor of McGill Univerity and Stephane Dion of L'Universite de Montreal, both political scientists, argue that the status quo is no longer acceptacle after a NO victory and that Quebec's distinct society needs to be recognized.
*** In view of the above and many other relevent articles, I am proposing a Unity flag representing both French and English together, and hoping one day it will be Canada's renewed flag.
- On Canada Day '95, as I was rollerblading through the streets of Montreal with my renewed flag in the Canada Day Parade, the Ottawa Sun published an article with a 3 x 6" black and white photo of the flag and the acompanying text:
"Flag waver hoping for unity" Red, White and Blue: Hank Gigandet hoists his Quebec-friendly Canadian flag. By: Glen Whalen, July 1, 1995.
Taking a cue from Betsy Ross, Hank Gigandet is hoping that a stitch in time will help keep a nation together forever. Gigandet, a technical manger for a local high-tech firm, has added a touch of blue to the Maple Leaf in an attempt to recognize Quebec as a distinct society.
His plans call for two vertical bands to be added just inside the red borders of the flag. He also wants the Maple Leaf enlarged by about 5% to symbolize our great country, resources and Native people.
The idea came to Gigandet during the 1992 round of constitutional negotiations. Living in Montreal at the time, he noticed the colours red and blue were increasingly being used to symbolize the two cultures and their causes.
"The red and white of the Canadian flag always seemed to be butting heads with the blue and white of the fleur-de-lis," he said. "Nationalists in Quebec always say make a choice between red and blue."
Remark: We can have both!
- The next is an editorial comment by Gord Sinclair of CJAD on Tuesday, July 18th. 1995:
"I wrote a column for the Financial Post recently in which I commented on the large number of Canadian flags one sees in Quebec, even though Canadians outside this province often expect to see only the blue Quebec flag.
That, in turn, resulted in a letter I received today from Hank Gigandet, a former Montrealer who lives in Ottawa, about how, as a matter of promoting national unity, we should change the Canadian flag.
Good god I thought, this is ridiculous, the Canadian flag is cherished by Canadians, all over the country, and has been since it was first displayed thirty years ago.
But I read more of what Gigandet was saying and it made some sense.
In Canada, he wrote, red basically represents the English ..blue the French,
True, I thought, we hadn't planned it that way.. but that is the way it is.
But..wrote this Canadian unity promoter, the Canadian flag has no blue.
Think about it..the American flag, the British flag, the former Canadian flag are red, white and blue..ours is red and white only.
Then I looked at the flag decals that Gigandet had sent me. They are the usual flag, but inside the red bars, one quarter the size, representing the one quarter of our people who are francophone, is a blue bar.
Do you know what? It actually looks good..it is actually very attractive!
Would it make Francophone Canadians throughout the country happier if there were those blue bars inside the red, representing the one quarter Francophone makeup of Canada?
Maybe..maybe not. But I repeat.. the proposed flag looks good..better than I expected.
Hank Gigandet is proposing a flag change to the House of Commons.
I'm Gord Sinclair."
Furthermore, letters of commendation from our government officials and leaders of the other political parties are too long to reprint but here are some excerpts as well:
- Office of the Prime Minister, Nov. 3, 1994:
On behalf of the the Right Honourable Jean Chretien, I wish to acknowledge receipt of your correspondence of September 21 and the accompanying illustration depicting a restyled Canadian flag.
Thank you for providing the Prime Minister with your contribution to the promotion of a united Canada. Your concern for the future of the nation, embodied in your proposal "A Vision for Canadian Unity and Harmony", is most heartening.
- Office of the Leader, Reform Party of Canada, October, 1994:
Thank you for your letter of September 29, 1994. I appreciate the opportunity to reply personally.
Please be assured that the Reform Caucus is fully committed to the Reform program of parliamentary, constitutional and fiscal reform, and that we will continue to press the Liberal government for much needed changes. However, in order for Canada to flourish economically and internationally, we have to resolve Canada's growing unity problems. It's a tall order; but one thing is certain: we're not going to get anywhere at all by doing nothing.
....Your input is both appreciated and timely.
Again, thank you for taking the time to write.
Preston Manning, M.P.
PS Thank you especially for your views on renewing the flag. PM
- The Secretary to the Governor-General and Herald Chancillor, December 15, 1994:
On behalf of his excellency the Governor-General, I would like to thank you for your letter of November 14, 1994 in which you submit your proposal to renew the Canadian flag. Thank you as well for the attractive restyled flag which you have developed to express your strong desire for greater unity and harmony in our country.
Please be assured that His Excellency is always heartened to learn of the concerns of Canadians who share his love for our nation and his optimism for its future.
- Leader of the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada, M. Jean. J. Charest, Jan. 16, 1995:
Thank you very much indeed for your correspondance of September 28, 1994, and information on your proposed new design for the Canadian flag.
I do appreciate you contacting me with this information. Again, thank you very much for your correspondence.
- Office of the Prime Minister, March 7, 1995:
On behalf of the Right Honourable Jean Chretien, I would like to thank you for your most recent letter concerning your proposal to redesign the Canadian flag to promote national unity. Your kind words about the Prime Minister's address to the people of Canada on the occasion of the 30th. anniversary of the Canadian flag were warmly appreciated.
The future of Canada is, by definition, a legitimate matter of concern to all Canadians. The Prime Minister is in daily receipt of their ideas and input on how our Government should tackle this vital matter. Your plan to incorporate the colour blue in the flag to make Quebecers feel at home in Canada is a welcome addition to this outpouring of patriotism.
Thank you, again, for taking the time to further express your views on this important matter.
Should you agree with the proposal of renewing the Canadian flag to symbolize both French and English together, please print out the petition in this series, sign it and return it by mail to:
TRCF P.O. Box 33015, Ottawa, ON K2C 3Y9.
Please have it signed by as many people as possible before returning it, i.e. relatives, friends, students, associates etc..(there is no age limitation). These petitions will keep getting presented to Parliament as a substantial number of names are accummulated.
The Canadian flag is beautiful because of its simple and clean design. The proposal of the renewed flag keeps in the spirit of simplicity and symmetry and in essence is just recolouring the flag for very symbolic and apropos reasons, and as a result making the Canadian flag even more beautiful.
[Unity flags 27"x54" and 36"x72", silkscreened on premium 200 denier nylon, are available free of charge to unity groups or organizations promoting unity. They are also available at cost to interested individuals.
[Unity decals 2"x4" printed with UV inks on vinyl and then laminated are also available.]
Load Canflag.bmp or Canflag.gif and display it on a light-blue sky background.
A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words.