Fighter pilot, Royal Navy 1945, Hydrographer Iraq 1947-52 India 1952-53, Canadian Hydrographic Arctic explorer 1953-1960, Writer-producer Canadian National Film Board 1961-72, Freelance journalist, audio-visual producer 1972-2009, National Press Club of Canada 1961 - 2006

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Is it time for Canada to turn over a new leaf?

How could an entire nation get it so wrong for so long?

For the many stalwart Canadian generations who lived during the nation-building century ending in 1965, the Canadian flag under which they lived their hard working peaceful lives, and fought for so decisively on the battlefields, was the red duster emblazoned with the Union Flag and the Coat of Arms of Canada.

But, then, in 1965 a new flag was hoisted over the Dominion. It its centre it flaunted an impressive, stylised maple leaf. But, strangely, the leaf depicted, was upside down. And so it remains after these several decades past.

Once, some years ago during a Toronto Blue Jays baseball away game down in the United States, they had a US Marine Corps Honor Guard and its military band perform the pre-game honours. Out on the field they marched carrying Old Glory up on high and, side by side with equal pride, they carried the Canadian Maple Leaf flag.

Unfortunately and inadvertently the Marines had innocently mounted the Canadian flag allegedly upside down. Thousands upon thousands of Canadians watching the game either in the ballpark or on television back home were greatly upset. Everybody.

Well everybody except, as far as I know, me. I was the only one to murmur hesitantly that, haughtykulturaly speaking, that was the correct way it should be depicted and flown — with the tip of the leaf pointing downwards.

It’s only natural. I ask you. Have you ever seen any self-respecting, healthy and mature maple leaf sticking rampantly and blatantly upwards? No! They always hang down in their proper, relaxed, and Canadian fashion to bask drowsily in the sun.

For a long period, to confirm again my inner belief, I inspected every maple tree in my verdant vicinity. Not a single skyward-pointing leaf was to be seen. All, without exception, pointed down to mother earth as directly as wind and other circumstance permitted.

The United States Marines had maybe erred in diplomatic protocol. But it was a perfectly reasonable error when sustained by botanical accuracy.

Should not a royal commission be held about the matter?

Or is it too late?

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