Notice anything small, lately?
The Westmount Examiner April 16th 1992
By ALISON RAMSEY
Click the image to see original article
LOOK at lapels, and you may soon notice a number of tiny Canadian flags.
Nothing ostentatious, the pins are just a hint over one centimeter long and half as high.
Former Val Morin resident Philip McMaster, now living in Westmount, has a pocketful of them. In his travels, in Montreal, in the Laurentians, he keeps an eye out for people at cash registers or other visible positions.
On occasion, he asks, "Are you a Canadian?"
The person usually looks taken aback, and may respond suspiciously. Or they may simply say, "Yes" without the "Why?"
If a yes is part of the answer, Mr. McMaster delves in his pocket, pulls out a pin and hands it over.
"It's a gift," he says, "IF you put it on right now, and wear it all the time."
The size of the pin is part of its appeal for Mr. McMaster, who likes the fact that it conveys a muted love of country not a showy political statement.
"What the flag represents is a great thing," he says. "It's something to be proud of."
Mr. McMaster notes that no one has turned down his pins in the two months he's been casually handing them out.
"I talked to this guy, a sovereignist, I said, 'I'm giving these pins to people who are Canadian," and put it in his hand. He held it, looked at it. The important thing is he didn't hand it back.
"He wasn't against Canada. He didn't take it and stomp on it. He might have put it on his dresser, or in a pin box. Of course, I don't know what the hell he did with it, but he didn't hand it back."
Though Mr. McMaster is trying to keep politics out of the pins, they are throwbacks from the flag-waving early 1980s.
"I worked from the Canadian Unity Information Office," said Mr. McMaster. "I had this job going around Canada with an exhibit (promoting unity during the Quebec referendum debate)."
Thousands of pins were left over, and Mr. McMaster continued to distribute them.
With each one he gives out, he also encourages the recipient to write him a postcard expressing their "passion for Canada."
His plan is to drop them at the doorstep of top-level politicians.
If you feel so inclined, post cards can be sent to Philip McMaster, Passion for Canada, Box 933, Station "H", Montreal, Quebec, Canada.
Lost in a sea of denim, this Canada flag pin is intended as a subtle message.
Photo by: OWEN EGAN