History of Canada Canada’s Maple Leaf Flag Before 1965, Canada’s official flag was the Union Jack, Britain’s national flag. At the same time, the Red Ensign (the Old) with the Union Jack in one corner and the Canadian Coat of Arms in another corner together on a red background was raised on Canadian flagpoles. History of Canada Canada’s Maple Leaf Flag In 1948, Quebec adopted the fleur-de-lys as its provincial flag. Quebec was stating its nationalist intentions within Canada’s federation. On June 24, Quebec celebrates St. Jean Baptiste Day. It is the “light of the world” event. History of Canada Canada’s Maple Leaf Flag During the 1956 Suez Crisis, Britain had invaded Egypt to try and prevent Egypt from nationalizing the Egyptian oil industry. To maintain peace, Canada sent troops as part of the UN peacekeeping force. The Egyptians protested the clear British elements on Canada’s Red Ensign flag. History of Canada Canada’s Maple Leaf Flag Canada needed a new flag to reflect its growing identity. Canada was a Middle Power in world organizations such as the United Nations. A distinct flag was needed to describe Canada’s role. Canada was also a growing multicultural society. The Prime Minister was Liberal Lester B. Pearson. History of Canada Canada’s Maple Leaf Flag The new designs would purposefully have to avoid… Symbols, events or word in English and French…Canada had “two founding nations” to represent Religious symbols…Canada was a growing multicultural society with many religions History of Canada Canada’s Maple Leaf Flag A number of different designs were considered. The Maple Leaf was used because it was already used as a symbol in Canada’s army. A “sea-to-sea” design was wanted. That design had blue borders (sea) with three joined maple leaves. The final flag was designed by George F.G. Stanley. It was based on the flag flown at RMC in Kingston. History of Canada Canada’s Maple Leaf Flag Using a filibuster delay in Parliament (a filibuster means talking endlessly to prevent other government work until the bill (proposed law) is dropped), John Diefenbaker’s Conservatives stated their objections for 33 days. It looked like a new flag design would not be selected before the government stopped working for a period. In effect, this would “kill” the action. History of Canada Canada’s Maple Leaf Flag Closure was used. Closure is a rule to limit the amount of time to discuss a bill. Debate ended at 02:30 on 15 December 1964. The bill passed, and MPs rose to their feet to sing O Canada. Senate approval was granted two days later. Royal Assent was granted 28 January 1965 and the new flag was officially unveiled on 15 February 1965. This day is officially Flag Day in Canada.