Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Our Flag Turns 50 This Year


“The flag is the symbol of the nation's unity, for it, beyond any doubt, represents all the citizens of Canada without distinction of race, language, belief or opinion.”

                                                    - Maurice Bourget (1965)

Each year as we approach the National Flag of Canada Day, I’m reminded of these words by Maurice Bourget, the Speaker of the Senate at the official inaugural ceremony of the Canadian Flag in 1965. I truly believe that our national flag reminds us of our nation’s unity, and our commitment as Canadian citizens to our great country's well-being.

The National Flag of Canada was approved by Parliament in 1964 and proclaimed by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II to take effect on February 15, 1965. It is a red flag, twice as long as it is wide, containing in its centre a white square bearing a red maple leaf. Red and white are Canada's official colours and, with the maple leaf, are the symbolic elements found in the Canadian flag.

Do you know the story behind our national flag?

The maple leaf had long been an important part of the Aboriginal lifestyle because of the maple sap they used to gather every spring. Sometime around 1860, the maple leaf was adopted as the national emblem. Later, in 1921, the colours, red and white were approved as Canada's official colours in the proclamation of the royal arms of Canada by King George V. In 1964, Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson strongly advocated the need to have a distinctive national flag as a symbol of unified Canada. Soon after, a committee was formed and the search for the Canadian flag initiated.

Every year, we celebrate the National Flag of Canada Day with great enthusiasm. This year marks 50 years since the flag was first hoisted at the Parliament Hill. MP Brad Butt will be hosting a special ceremony on Sunday, February 15, 1:00 pm to 2:00 pm at Streetsville Village Square to celebrate this 50th anniversary. I hope you can attend.

Have a wonderful family day weekend... and Happy Valentine's Day too! 

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