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The Great Canadian Flag Debate

The Great Canadian Flag Debate

The Story


For nearly a century Canada had no distinctive national flag. Each time Canadians suggested a new symbol to replace the Canadian Red Ensign, modelled after a British naval flag, there was controversy. Maple leaves, beavers, crosses, crowns -- propositions that went nowhere. In 1964 Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson said he'd introduce a new national flag. But Opposition leader John Diefenbaker and the Royal Canadian Legion wanted to stick with the Red Ensign. Everyone had an opinion before Canada finally chose the red and white flag with the maple leaf.