False facts fol­low flag

The Compass - - ED­I­TO­RIAL OPIN­ION -

T-shirts, caps and tourist items in­cor­rectly re­fer­ring to it as “the Repub­lic of New­found­land” flag not only per­pet­u­ate this false­hood but also give the im­pres­sion that New­found­land, like Ire­land, was at some point a re­pub­lic — it was not. While New­found­land was an in­de­pen­dent Do­min­ion of the Bri­tish Em­pire from 1907 un­til 1949, it was never a re­pub­lic.

It is not my in­tent to tell New­found­lan­ders what they should or shouldn’t fly as their flag — that is some­thing they must de­cide for them­selves. But be­fore peo­ple raise the Pink, White and Green in the be­lief that it was the “old New­found­land flag” or the “ Repub­lic of New­found­land” flag, I be­lieve they should at least be aware that in ac­tual his­tory it was nei­ther.

Tourism gim­mick

If they wish to fly it as the old Star of the Sea flag then they would be cor­rect in do­ing so.

To ad­dress a sen­ti­ment from a re­cent Com­pass con­trib­u­tor: “I was born un­der the Union Jack and the pink, white and green,” while I deeply ad­mire his pride in his past, un­less he was the son of a Star of the Sea mem­ber he most cer­tainly was not born un­der the PWG. The same gen­tle­man later re­marked that, “ The only flag I knew in my early years was the Union Jack,” lead­ing me to be­lieve that, like many New­found­lan­ders, he never heard of the PWG him­self un­til its re­cent push by the com­mer­cial tourism in­dus­try.

If peo­ple wish to learn more about the true ori­gins of the Pink, White and Green flag, as well as other ear­lier New­found­land flags and em­blems, I en­cour­age them to read the thor­oughly re­searched ar­ti­cle “Em­blem of our coun­try: The Red, White and Green Tri­colour,” by Carolyn Lam­bert in Vol­ume 28, No. 1 of New­found­land and Labrador Stud­ies, or the Wikipedia en­try “New­found­land Tri­colour,” both of which are freely avail­able on the in­ter­net .

Casey Butt writes from Detroit, Michi­gan. She is a for­mer res­i­dent of

Car­bon­ear and Har­bour Grace1

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