Toronto, March 13, 2006 - Citizens for a
Canadian Republic is calling on The Department of Canadian
Heritage to bring Canada into the 21st century in
regards to the official flying of the Royal Union Flag (also
known as the Union Jack).
According to Canadian Heritage, the Royal Union
Flag is required to be flown along with the Canadian Flag on all
Government of Canada buildings and establishments across Canada
on March 13, Commonwealth Day.
But given the facts, the Canadian republican
movement wonders why this is still official Canadian policy:
The Commonwealth has its own official ceremonial flag that's
quite distinct from the Union Jack, which very adeptly
characterizes the diverse nature of the organization's
membership without colonial symbolism.
Britain, which uses the Union Jack as it's national flag, is not
the organization's leader. It's a member nation of The
Commonwealth just like any other. Even 1931's Statute of
Westminster states that Canada and other signatories are "equal
in status" to Britain. And, in 1949, in order to accommodate the
growing number of republics as members, The Commonwealth even
officially dropped "British" from the name.
The institution of the British monarchy also has no leading role
in the organization. The reforms of 1949 revised membership so
that allegiance to the British Crown was no longer a prerequisite.
Granted, the Queen is the current Head of the Commonwealth, but
it's an honourary title granted to her personally, not the
monarchy, and does not automatically pass to her royal
successor. New Zealander Donald C. McKinnon is the elected
So why are we flying the national flag of Britain as a symbol of our membership in an
international organization where most members are independent
republics? Why not fly the official flag of the Commonwealth,
which even boasts a design with roots in Canada? Clearly, the
modern Commonwealth has evolved to reflect contemporary
realities. Why has Canada not kept up?