History of Canada National Flag

The birth of Canada’s flag is a story of the longest debate in Canadian history. Canadians are not characterized as passionate people but passions ran high during the summer and fall of 1964. Fifteen politicians were appointed to a “confidential” committee to choose a new emblem for Canada. Prime Minister Pearson was partial to a design with three maple leafs, dubbed “Pearson’s Pennant”. The Conservative leader of the opposition, John Diefenbaker, wanted Canada to keep the red ensign. The filibuster ran for two months. Grant Deachman, Member of Parliament for Vancouver-Quadra, devised a strategy to trick the Conservatives into the Liberals’ choice. A series of votes would eliminate all but one design. The Conservatives wrongly assumed that the Liberals would push for “Pearson’s Pennant” so they voted for the single-leaf design submitted by Dr. George F.G. Stanley. The vote for our flag was chosen unanimously!

Diefenbaker, when tipped off by his members of the trickery, was so annoyed, he broke parliamentary rule and when to the press late at night to announce that the new flag “shows nothing of our heritage… it would be the Peruvian flag… we would have the Peruvians saluting it anyway.”

Not all Canadians know the story of Canada’s flag but they do respect and take pride in what it represents, and the rest of the world respects it, too.