Thursday, February 26, 2009

Manitoban MLA from Riding Named After Convicted Traitor Wants to Change This Flag

Manitoba flag outdated, says NDP

WINNIPEG -- Manitoba should adopt a new flag, because the current one - as well as that of Ontario - is an archaic symbol of British rule, say some grassroots members of Manitoba's governing New Democrats.

Manitoba's flag "is outdated and a relic from the days of our former British colonial heritage," reads a resolution by the NDP's Riel constituency association in south Winnipeg. The resolution is on the agenda of the provincial party's annual convention next month.

"Manitoba's flag is often confused with Ontario's flag, with the only difference being a bison ... instead of three maple leaves."

Both provinces' flags are similar to the Red Ensign that Canada used as a national flag prior to adopting the maple leaf design in 1965. There is a red background, a Union Jack in the upper left corner, and a provincial symbol toward the bottom right corner.

In 2001, a U.S.-based volunteer group of flag enthusiasts called the North American Vexillological Association ranked the flags of 72 states, provinces, territories and districts. Ontario and Manitoba placed 43rd and 44th respectively.

The group criticized flags that were not distinctive, and praised those with simple, bold designs such as Quebec's fleur-de-lis, which ranked third behind Texas and New Mexico.

The Riel constituency association is proposing the government hold a provincewide public contest to develop a new flag. But any change is likely to be an uphill battle.

Manitoba's opposition Progressive Conservatives say the current flag is an important symbol of the province's roots.

"Certainly many of our traditions came here as a result of the British democratic parliamentary system," Tory Leader Hugh McFadyen said.

Premier Gary Doer did not comment. A spokesman for the Premier's office said Mr. Doer attends conventions to listen to debates and "not prejudge what [the] convention may or may not pass."

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