Tomorrow, the country will celebrate Canada’s 145th birthday and we thought we might take a moment to reflect on the weighty words of some of our country’s foremost prime ministers, as they waxed poetic on patriotism, the Canadian flag and confederation.
“... In conclusion, I would again implore the House not to let this opportunity pass. It is an opportunity that may never recur. At the risk of repeating myself, I would say, it was only by a happy concurrence of circumstances, that we were enabled to bring this great question to its present position.
“If we do not take advantage of the time, if we show ourselves unequal to the occasion, it may never return, and we shall hereafter bitterly and unavailingly regret having failed to embrace the happy opportunity now offered of founding a great nation under the fostering care of Great Britain, and our Sovereign Lady, Queen Victoria.”
(Loud cheers, amidst which the honourable gentleman resumed his seat.)
<*R><BI>— John A. Macdonald, Jan.1, 1865,
in the House of Commons
“If my poor voice could be heard throughout the length and breadth of this country, and if, without any presumption, it could be heard also beyond the frontier, I would say to our American neighbours: flattering as may be to your pride, the idea that the territory of the republic should extend over the whole continent from the waters of the Gulf of Mexico to the waters of the Arctic Ocean, remember that we Canadians were born under the flag of your ancestors, a flag under which perhaps you may have suffered some oppression, but which to us has been, and is more than ever, the emblem of freedom.
“Remember that if you have founded a nation upon separation from the motherland, we Canadians have set our hearts upon building up a nation without separation; remember that in this task we are already far advanced, that with our institutions, with our national entity as a people and with everything that constitutes our national home, we are just as devoted as you are to yours. Remember that the blood which flows in our veins is just as good as your own, and that if you are a proud people, though we have not your numbers, we are just as proud as you are, and that, rather than part with our national existence, we would part with our lives.”
— Sir Wilfred Laurier, March 7, 1911,
in the House of Commons
“And so the new flag, joining and rising above the milestones of our history, today takes for the first time its proud place as the emblem of Canada, “The Maple Leaf Our Emblem Dear.”
“May the land over which this new Flag flies remain united in freedom and justice; a land of decent God-fearing people; fair and generous in all its dealings; sensitive, tolerant and compassionate towards all men; industrious, energetic, resolute; wise, and just in the giving of security and opportunity equally to all its cultures; and strong in its adherence to those moral principles which are the only sure guide to greatness.
“Under this Flag may our youth find new inspiration for loyalty to Canada; for a patriotism based not on any mean or narrow nationalism, but on the deep and equal pride that all Canadians will feel for every part of this good land.
“God bless our Flag! And God bless Canada!”
— Lester Bowles Pearson, during the dedication
of the new Canadian Flag, Feb. 15, 1965
To all Sun readers, we wish you safe travels as you make your way to the lake, start your vacations or as you wander down to the Riverbank Discovery Centre for Brandon’s all-day celebration.
Please drive safely — help our emergency crews enjoy the day, too.
Happy Canada Day!
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition June 30, 2012