k it does bear restatement as it does, judging
Ah, I need to edit this, as I seem I'm repeating myself.
Nevertheless, I think it does bear restatement as it does, judging by the writer's name, represent the view of someone not of British heritage but yet having been brought up steeped in our ersatz provincial version of it. This was a letter to the editor that appeared in The Star on Sept. 19, 1987...
Ontario's flag isn't representative
The patriation of the Constitution in 1982 made Canada, at long last, legally and technically independent from Britain.
Unfortunately, Canada is still colonially and symbolically subordinate in carrying Britain’s symbols.
Ontario’s so-called provincial flag, for one, is nothing more than an 18th century British naval squadron-rank flag — the red ensign version with three sickly maple leaves dominated and crowned by England’s cross of St. George.
The total Canadian content of this flag is less than 10 per cent. Isn’t it time for Ontario to finally have a flag representing its plural reality with total Canadian symbolism?
I think it's fair to say there are probably a lot of Ontarians who feel the same way, but it's not a big enough deal for them to really get exorcised about. Nevertheless, it's a fair take on the matter. And I think having the Union Jack on the flag, this late in history, is probably needlessly antagonistic to Franco-Ontariens (not to mention francophones elsewhere in Canada) for whom it might be a constant reminder of the Conquest. As well, to people from such places as India and Pakistan who have a complicated relationship with Britain and who, while they might be eager to raise their families in a place largely formed around a British model, might prefer to do wo without necessarily feeling they're being reminded of 'who's in charge'... and after all, let's be honest, that's why Ontario (and Manitoba) grabbed the Red Ensign before it even hit the ground back in 1965. It was a faintly cynical attempt by conservatives to hold back the tide on the sea of history. Whether we embrace the Red Ensign or not, that's genuinely a factor that needs to be taken into consideration when we discuss whether it has a proper place representing us all. I don't say it lightly; it took me a long time to come around to accepting that as a legitimate perspective.
you raise some interesting points.
There is no debate on the Ontario flag, so far as I am aware. I can probably assume with a high degree of certainty that the general public doesn't care. They accept it as it is, almost certainly with little or no thought. Of course, the Toronto Star trots out stories on it (and, sigh, the monarchy) as regularly as clockwork; it must be their Editors' own personal hobby horse or whatever. There was a flash in the pan last summer by a chap recently arrived in Canada who was none too happy with his adopted country's Provincial Flag. His story was given wide coverage (surprisingly so, did he have backing from somewhere) but attract diddly squat support.
made a very insightful point about why can the UJ be accepted without debate as the Hawaiian state flag, but ours isn't by some here. You may not agree, but let me put this out there: the litmus test of our maturity as a nation is acceptance of the UJ on national emblems, provincial flags, Coat of Arms etc.
Because here is something that really spun me out of orbit. I am a big fan of Canadian history and know the ins and outs of the Flag debate. But in 2016 New Zealand, a nation about as similar background to our as you'll find in the world, voted to retain their current flag, the Blue Ensign. Now I was brought up on the myths of the 'struggle' for Canadian nationhood etc and how we came of age when we ditched the British Empire and Red Ensign (loved by - grrrr! Conservatives) and adopted the Maple Leaf. But NZ spun this narrative on its head. As a mature, free, progressive country they voluntarily voted to retain the 'British' emblem in their national flag. Moreover, and research this yourself, the popularity of the current flag was strongest amongst the 18-25 and 26-35 year old cohorts (3rd place 65yo+). There's more. By a slight margin, the popularity of the Blue Ensign was greater amongst the Maori/Asian/Pacific Islander ethnic population than the ethnic European. Eh?? And tell 900,000 Fijians that there beloved Light Blue UK Ensign doesn't represent them! ;-)
What am I arguing? Simply that changing our flag is neither a foregone conclusion nor is it naturally antagonistic to those of non-British background. There is no sea of history to hold back
. Our flag is what we want it to be, why not as you suggest, make it a symbol of achievement? There is so much negativity in our country currently. After all, if you want something to crow about, can we not take pride that our Province was the main destination in British North America that escaped slaves sought freedom? The Union Jack was the symbol of that freedom? Its all there if you want it
As for adoption of the Ontario and Manitoba Provincial Flags in 1965, you painted it in a very negative light describing it as a cynical conservative policy. If so, why did it pass through the Legislature with a unanimous (bar one) vote?* Although the Conservatives had a majority, both opposition parties could've voted against as a protest and still not stopped the Bill. Why not? I do not know, but it is an interesting question.
But let me speculate. There was more of a contentious debate and a lot emotion in the argument over the Canadian Flag, 1963-65, than we give credit for today. Naturally, the winners get to write the history and the emotion and genuine affection for the old flag is either glossed over or delegitimised. But back then, many of those who wished to see a distinctive flag had mixed emotions over changing it. If you read Jose Iguartua's book on the subject, his research makes clear many didn't want change but did so for the sake of bringing Quebec into the fold. Could the adoption by Ontario and Manitoba of provincial flags based on the Red Ensign be seen as a runner up prize for this old, familiar symbol? Might the Ontario and Manitoba provincial flags have helped defuse emotions, and even enabled or encouraged the acceptance of the new Maple Leaf flag? Could our Provincial Flag not be so much a symbol of revenge, but one of reconciliation? These questions aren't asked because they go against today's narrative. They only ones interesting in the flag seem to be those vested in its change. But, Jose Iguartua's book brings to life the complexity of emotion in the Canadian public at the time. Life is rarely binary.
Oh, and in light of current events, who will be the first politician to raise changing flags as an issue. With increasing bitter public debate and polarisation, no.
*P.S. Thank you for not quoting Elmer Sopha! Trotted out every time, ever so tiresome.