Current Status: First Reading Carried
Bill 57 2013
An Act to recognize Brockville as the birthplace of the National Flag of Canada
On February 15, 1965, the National Flag of Canada was raised for the first time on Parliament Hill.
Canadians today share a tremendous sense of pride for our national flag and the Maple Leaf has become symbolic around the world for the values of freedom and tolerance Canada represents. The journey from design to a place in the hearts of Canadians was difficult and its success can be attributed to a plan devised in the City of Brockville.
To survive “The Great Flag Debate”, Canada’s flag needed a champion to steer it through an all-party Parliamentary Flag Committee, the House of Commons and the Senate. The Hon. John Ross Matheson, MP for Leeds County, was that champion. Although chosen by Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson to be chairman of the Flag Committee, Matheson suggested the role of Project Manager would be a better fit. Working long hours, many from his home on North Augusta Road in Brockville, Matheson developed the strategy to ensure the Maple Leaf design was on the final selection board when the 15-member committee made its decision. His powers of persuasion and quiet diplomacy during this process — which lasted only six short weeks — succeeded tremendously and the committee endorsed Matheson’s design by a 14-0 vote on October 22, 1964.
Although much more controversy followed during the debate in the House of Commons, the design steered by Matheson through the committee was ultimately approved by a vote of 163-78 at 2 a.m. on December 15, 1964.
The Senate approved it two days later on December 17 and Queen Elizabeth II would approve Canada’s new flag on Christmas Eve. The Royal Proclamation was signed January 28, 1965 when Prime Minister Pearson and Leader of the Official Opposition John Diefenbaker were in London for the funeral of Sir Winston Churchill.
Of Matheson’s role, Alistair B. Fraser wrote in his book The Flags of Canada: “The fact that Matheson succeeded gloriously earned him the Prime Minister’s appreciative appellation: ‘the man who had more to do with it than any other.’”
Therefore, Her Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Legislative Assembly of the Province of Ontario, enacts as follows:
Birthplace of the National Flag of Canada
1. Brockville, Ontario is recognized as the birthplace of the National Flag of Canada.
2. This Act comes into force on the day it receives Royal Assent.
3. The short title of this Act is the Birthplace of the National Flag of Canada Act, 2013.
The Bill recognizes Brockville, Ontario as the birthplace of the National Flag of Canada.