The accidental flag

Fascinating history in the NZ Herald of how Canada chose its flag:

One day historian George Stanley was walking with John Matheson, a Liberal MP on the committee, when he looked up and saw the Royal Military College flag and its vertical panels of red-white-red, with the college crest of a fist in the middle.

“There, John, is your flag,” he said.

Mr Matheson recalls the moment: “I remarked that Canadians would not accept a mailed fist symbol. He said, ‘No, I mean with a red maple leaf in the place of the college crest’.”

Mr Matheson was immediately taken with it, but had to sneak it into the committee room to add it to the wall alongside the other proposals.

The committee firstly rejected the red ensign 10 votes to four.

They then had to vote on Pearson’s Pennant, the red maple leaf ensign and the Union Jack or fleur-de-lis. When the latter was voted out, it was clear that the new flag would not have a Union Jack.

The Conservatives assumed the Liberals would vote for the Prime Minister’s design, and they wanted the vote to be as inconclusive as possible, so they voted for the red maple leaf ensign which, to their horror, was the unanimous choice.

The quirks of history.

%d bloggers like this: