Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Our Emblem Dear....

I admit to having a problem with our national logo... i like it and don't.   What to do?

As a design, the current Canadian flag is a paradigm of elegant simplicity, like the Japanese, English (not British)  and  even the French flag.   As an aesthetic choice, i love it.

At the same time, i can't escape this nagging feeling that it looks like a  corporate logo   It is too perfect and is precisely the sort of design companies spend millions to have an "identity firm" come up with. 

When I see the flag flapping in the crisp northern wind, i don't think "Canada!"  but Syrup Inc.,  Western Family, Inc., Fracking, Ltd. and  General Petro.   This is very distressing because as much as i  like the flag i hate the haunting feeling that it was secretly commissioned by the Fraser Institute or Chamber of Commerce.    Actually, its genesis was almost as bad.

For at least 147 years, the Maple Leaf  (along with the beaver and looney) has been Canada's symbol by un-legislated and socially spontaneous choice.   One can't get more popular than that.   At the same time, the leaf is divorced from history; and it seems to me that a good flag should be historically grounded. 

In this respect the Union Jack is a great flag because it symbolises a real historical process.   In contrast, the impetus for the current Canadian flag was the avoidance of controversy ... in particular appeasement of that cantankerous province which shall go unnamed.   In this sense our flag is an artificiality.

The best idea for a national flag, it seems to me, was the one proposed in 1941 -- a blue ensign with the Union Jack in the upper left quadrant and the maple leaf in the lower right.    Perhaps a fleur de lis in the centre of the Union Jack would have been appropriate.  Such a flag would have represented both what Canada was and how it came to be.



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