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Attention: News Editors  

It's time for Canada to update flag protocol on Commonwealth Day

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 Commonwealth Secretary-General.  

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? 



Founded in 2002, Citizens for a Canadian Republic is a not-for-profit, non-partisan organization advocating full Canadianization of the head of state. It proposes reforming the Governor General’s office as a transitional stage, eventually leading to a position rendered completely independent of the British monarchy. Similar to the goals of the republican movements of Australia and New Zealand, this change would make Canada a parliamentary republic, such as Ireland or fellow Commonwealth member, India.

More information is available at CCR’s website.

Susan Bazinet
Citizens for a Canadian Republic
2100 Bloor Street West, Suite 6 - 146
Toronto, Ontario M6S 5A5
Phone(416)705-5660, Fax(416)532-3792
Tom Freda - (416)705-5660 or national.director@canadian-republic.ca
Pierre Vincent - (780)987-8663 or  info@republique-canadienne.ca
The Commonwealth Flag

Citizens for a Canadian Republic