Our True Colours

The Revolution Starts Here!
[Published in The Sunday Independent, on 17 September 2005)]

Dear editor,

This year my friends and I took advantage of the May 24th weekend to do something different. We decided to raise the native flag of Newfoundland — the Pink, White, and Green — over the southside hills in St. John’s. We didn’t just raise a flag — we raised a 15-foot flag. You can imagine a flag of that size would stir a bit of commotion in town. And it did. It was on the radio and in the news. People were talking about it in the streets and at ultimate Frisbee games. In all my life I have never heard so much passion over what seemed to be so small a thing.

When we raised the flag I viewed it as a sign of rebellion but when it was flying on the hill I started to see so much more. Everyone I talked to seemed to have a different feeling about the flag. Some viewed it as historical and cultural; others saw it as a sign of independence; still more viewed it as a sign of rebellion; and some people viewed it as a sign of the new Newfoundland. There was one common theme — everyone was passionate about it.

Find me one person who could say the same about our current provincial flag. Our current flag was given to us back in 1980. I think it can be best described as the scrap pieces handed to us from the construction of the Union Jack. Its colours and shapes have been arbitrarily assigned meanings as if to say, “This flag represents Newfoundland.” Blue is for “water.” Is this supposed to be Newfoundland creativity?

The Pink, White, and Green has been part of our history for many years. In fact, it’s the second oldest flag in Canada (next to the Fleur-de-lis). It was created in an effort to resolve a religious conflict in the city. The Protestant English were represented with a pink flag (the colour of the Tudor rose of the royal family at that time) and the Catholic Irish were represented with a green flag. The two churches took their conflict to Bishop Michael Flemming who simply wrapped a white banner between the flags as a sign of peace. It was since adopted as the unofficial flag of Newfoundland and stills flies high over the homes of many Newfoundlanders, both in town and around the island.

Last week columnist Ivan Morgan wrote a piece calling for the Pink, White, and Green to be officially ours (Raising a new Flag, Sept. 11-17edition of The Independent). Well now I’m seconding that motion. Why not? It’s a flag selected by the people and has remained so since the 19th century. To aid Morgan in his effort I have developed an online petition. I encourage all Newfoundlanders to band together to petition for this cause. Every name counts. The revolution starts here! The online petition is located at www.pinkwhitegreen.ca.

Greg Pike

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