150+ Canadians Day 14: The Canadian Flag
The Canadian Flag contributes to peace as a symbol that demonstrates how democratic means can promote a peaceful nation. #Canada150
The first government attempt to give Canada its own flag came in 1925 when Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King established a committee to study the question. He immediately backed down when there was a general outcry against any attack on the Union Jack. He tried again in 1945 with a joint committee of the Senate and House of Commons, but support for the Union Jack remained strong.
When Lester B. Pearson, as leader of the Official Opposition, raised the flag question again in 1960, national unity was threatened by a growing separatist movement in Quebec. Many Canadians had become attached to the Canadian Red Ensign, which they believed to be their national flag, while others still clung to the Union Jack. Since 1948, Québec viewed its provincial flag, the Fleur-de-lis, as its national emblem.
Though all parties agreed that Canada should have a flag, there was no agreement on its design. Some 2,000 suggestions were submitted in 1964 and examined by a steering committee, in addition to 3,900 others, “including those that had accumulated in the Department of the Secretary of State and those from a parliamentary flag committee of 1945–1946.”
Debate in the House of Commons lasted six exhausting months and involved 308 speeches. At last, on 15 December 1964 at 2:00 a.m., the committee’s recommendation was accepted by a vote of 163 to 78. Senate approval followed on 17 December, and the royal proclamation was signed by Queen Elizabeth II on January 28, 1965. Canada’s national flag officially unfurled on February 15, 1965 at Parliament Hill