The Canadian national flag was inaugurated in a public ceremony on Parliament Hill, Ottawa on February 15, 1965. Before this, our national flag was the Union Jack and the Canadian Red Ensign flew from government buildings: both emblems attached to our British heritage. In 1963, (newly elected) Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson promised to resolve the proposal of a unique and distinctive national flag in time for Canada’s centennial celebrations in 1967.
Thank you to Mr. Pearson for accomplishing his mission, and for hoisting the new flag proclaiming these words: “May the land over which this flag flies, remain united in freedom and justice … sensitive, tolerant and compassionate towards all.”
As of the beginning of February 2022, my husband and I have been concerned and curious to see and sense for ourselves how our country’s freedom and justice is being supported and upheld at Parliament Hill in our country’s capital. We checked our schedules – and the weather forecast – and on February 10, 2022 we packed up warm outdoor clothes, several flags and we were off on a road trip to Ottawa.
En route to Ottawa, we had a stopover to see family in Montreal. Where, unknown to us, a Freedom rally was planned for February 12, 2022! Perfect timing. I unravelled and waved my flag with thousands of Canadians gathered in Jarry Park for “United in Love for Freedom” (Unis Dans L’Amour Pour La Liberte). Politicians, educators and first nation leaders gave speeches; we sang the Canadian National Anthem, jostled amongst a crowd of young and old, shouted Liberté! We talked to friendly, smiling people en Anglais and en peu de français.
The next day, February 13, 2022 we drove about 2 hours from Montreal to Ottawa. We were there: the symbolic heart of our nation, home to Canada’s federal government.
We were there seven (very cold) hours walking the streets: it felt peaceful; humanizing; unifying; mingling, talking to other people spending the day just like we were; talking to truckers; listening to speakers, musicians; dancing to stay warm; an absence of anger, illicit signs or language.
We looked for and discovered some Nova Scotia connections: a trucker with his rig.
Our Nova Scotian flag identifying hospitality and welcome to an East Coast Kitchen Party. Too bad we were on a short visit and had to miss the party.
Sadly, on February 14, 2022 – the day after we left Ottawa – the peaceful landscape of this protest for protecting Canadians’ freedom and justice was disrupted when the federal government invoked the Emergencies Act.
How many and how deep are the potholes ahead for our wonderful country of Canada? Nobody knows.
I cry, I get frustrated, I share my heart and my words.
A truck flag –banner bears witness with my heart’s hope and prayer : God keep our land glorious and free!