The Canadian Flag Debate Essay

1318 words - 5 pages

Canada had been an outstanding country for many years but has always lacked one important thing. Until the year 1965, Canada did not have their own official flag. The Canadian flag debate was a major controversy to Canada because many thought it was about time for Canada to have their own flag years after gaining their independence from Britain. The Canadian flag debate had a very interesting background and the Canadians involvement towards the flag debate was just phenomenal. As well as the creation of the Canadian flag, there was also a great deal of importance behind the Canadian flag debate itself within Canada. The Canadian flag debate was one of the most significant parts of Canadian history in the modern era.In the 1963 federal election campaign, Liberal Opposition Leader Lester Pearson promised that he would give Canadians a distinct national flag during his first term in office. ("The Great Canadian Flag Debate," Flag Debate) The Canadian Flag Debate had taken place on June 15, 1964 Prime Minister Lester Bowles Pearson scheduled his plans for a new flag in the House of Commons to represent Canada. ("Flag Debate," The Canadian Encyclopedia) Since Canada entered Confederation in 1867, Canada's official flag had been Britain's Union Jack, although the Red Ensign was regularly flown about for qualified purposes. Pearson wanted to create a distinctly Canadian flag that would reveal no colonial or cultural symbolism of Great Britain. The French Canadians followed a keen interest in the debate while tensions were mounting amongst the English Canadians. John George Diefenbaker had taken an opposition towards Pearson's idea of the Canadian flag and that Britain should be honored on the flag of Canada. Now the ensuing controversy raged not over whether there should be a new flag, but on its design. This little conflict had lasted for more than six months, bitterly dividing the government in the process. Later on, soon after Diefenbaker's government came into power he continued his protest of the Canadian flag and he set out a filibuster that brought the debate to a big halt. After delaying and preventing the passageway of a new Canadian flag, the Conservatives in power had enough and forced a vote over Pearson's design of the new flag. The results came out that 163 members voted in favour of it so on 15 February, 1965, the red maple leaf was flown for the first time as Canada's official flag and The Maple Leaf quickly became a powerful Canadian symbol, showing how much Canada had changed in a single generation. ("Flag Debate," The Canadian Encyclopedia)Under pressure from pro-imperial public opinion, Sir Wilfrid Laurier raised the Union Flag over Parliament, where it remained until the re-emergence of the Red Ensign in the 1920s. In 1945, Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King, having flown the Union Jack over Parliament throughout the war, made the Canadian Red Ensign the official Canadian flag by Order in Council. Mackenzie King also tried...

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