February 15, 2015
Prime Minister Stephen Harper today issued the following statement to mark National Flag of Canada Day:
“Today I join Canadians across the country in celebrating the 50th anniversary of the National Flag of Canada.
“While our flag dates back half a century, the use of the maple leaf as a proud Canadian symbol goes back much further to the early 1700s. A few of the highlights of the maple leaf’s storied history in Canada are: its use as a logo by many organizations, including the Saint-Jean-Baptiste Society who had it as their emblem in 1834; the use of it as a central and unifying theme in song, such as the ‘Maple Leaf Forever’ penned by Alexander Muir in 1867 as a tribute to Confederation; its use by Canadian military units, both pre-Confederation as well as during the first and second World Wars; and its use since 1921 in the Royal Arms of Canada as a distinctive national emblem.
“The Canadian flag is a symbol of the values of peace, democracy, freedom and justice that define and unite us as Canadians. It is a common rallying point for great moments in our country’s history and a testament to our ingenuity and achievements, both at home and on the international stage. Whether on the backpacks of Canadian travellers, the uniforms of members of the Canadian Armed Forces, or above the podium at the Olympic and Paralympic Games, our flag means home to all Canadians and inspires a fierce sense of national pride.
“Since it was first raised on February 15, 1965, our national flag has proudly flown on Parliament Hill, in communities across our nation, and at Canada’s missions around the world. It can even be found on the International Space Station.
“Our Government has made it a tradition on National Flag of Canada Day to present a PeaceTower flag to Canadians who exemplify the values that we hold most dear.
“I am therefore honoured today to present this great symbol of our country to the CanadianMuseum of History for posterity and the enjoyment of all our citizens. I am also proud to mark this very special semicentennial by presenting 50 Canadian flags to 50 Canadians and organizations across the nation in recognition of their tremendous contributions to our great country.
“On this special day, I invite all Canadians to take part in activities to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Canadian flag and to learn more about the history of this unique, enduring and remarkable symbol of our national identity.”
Statement by the Prime Minister of Canada on National Flag of Canada Day