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Closure ends flag debate

The Story

After sitting 210 days, an extended parliamentary session ends in December 1964 as the House of Commons votes for closure on the flag debate. The motion, introduced by the ruling Liberal party, puts an end to a wild session of name-calling and intricate political manoeuvering. Opposition leader John Diefenbaker says closure is bad for the parliamentary system and accuses Pearson of trying to impose his flag on the people. New Democratic Party leader Tommy Douglas says he's glad to see an end to the Progressive Conservative filibuster, although the Liberals are to blame because they pushed for the maple leaf flag. Liberal member of Parliament John Matheson says the new design's use of the national colours of red and white, rather than blue, is more "correct" for Canada because blue harks back to the Queen.

Medium: Television
Program: CBC Newsmagazine
Broadcast Date: Dec. 15, 1964
Guests: Réal Caouette, Gordon Churchill, John Diefenbaker, Tommy Douglas, Guy Favreau, John Matheson, Patrick Nowlan
Host: Norman DePoe
Duration: 19:21

Did You know?

• Against party line, Progressive Conservative MP Léon Balcer agreed with the Liberals, suggesting the government invoke closure on the flag debate.
• After passing a closure motion, Parliament voted to adopt a new flag 163 to 78 at 2 a.m. on Dec. 15, 1964.
• Back in 1925, Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King declared that the government would not adopt a national flag without a House of Commons resolution "and the full sanction of the Parliament of Canada."



The Great Canadian Flag Debate more