Sunday, February 15, 2009

A Day of Change

I knew a professor of history, whom, compared the british queen, and the regard and devotion towards her, to that of a living flag. In the United States, there is an extreme relation to the flag. This pledge to the flag, done here, is too outré. The rutherfordites, Jehovah witnesses, are not right on much, but they are right*, that, this is to engage in homage to an idol. The first Bush won an election, on the false threat, that crazed, venomous blasphemers were waiting for a great flag bonfire. Some people are willing, and ready, to die for, and to kill for a flag.

When I was born, the national flag of Canada was the british red ensign, with a canadian heraldic shield. That flag is not the canadian flag to-day. To-day is flag day for Canada. Somewhere in between, it became apparent, that a great majority of canadians, and virtually all canadiennes, wanted a uniquely canadian flag; and a majority wanted a maple leaf design.

The flag of Canada, for over two centuries, was the fleur-de-lis of France. On the Plains of Abraham, Canada became part of British North America. In 1867, Canada began independence. The british red ensign, a naval union jack, with a canadian shield, became first, de facto, and later de jure, the national flag. Similar flags still exist as national flags of Australia, New Zealand and elsewhere.

When John Diefenbaker (Conservative Party) was premier, Lester “Mike” Pearson (Liberal Party) promised, early in 1960, a new flag. On the 15th of June 1964, Premier Pearson began the parliamentary debate. The new flag would be without a british reminder. A committee of 15 would choose a design. Pearson proposed three, red, maple leaves, on a white field, between two blue bars--the traditional maple leaves of Canada from sea to sea. An historian, George Stanley, proposed a single leaf, with red bars. The committee voted 14-0 for the latter.

Diefenbaker (say this with un accent québécois) led the opposition, in six weeks of debate, then the francophone conservatives voted with the liberals for cloture. It was passed 15 December, 28 January, Elizabeth signed, 15 February 1965 the Maple Leaf, l'Unifolié, became the national flag. Diefenbaker wept, many veterans were nostalgic for the ensign. The provincial flags of Manitoba, and Ontario have red ensigns to-day, which were adopted in 1965.

On 15 February 1971, the british, and the irish decimalised their money. ₤.s.d. were the, natural, abbreviations for pounds, shillings and pence; Oh, pounds were libræ, shillings--solidi, denarii--pence. There was 240 silver denarii to the roman pound, and twenty shillings to the british pound.

Russia decimalised the ruble in 1710, the french, the franc in 1795. Lord Wrottesley tried Parliament in 1824, and a few years later life was made simpler, for schoolchildren and foreigners. Now, groats, tanners, florins, tuppence, guineas and other purse coins can be found in victorian novels, and a hundred pennies (pee) to the pound. Shove an ha’penny.
*West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette, 319 U.S. 624 (1943)

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