A few of us, a vanishing few, remember when Canada changed its flag in 1965.
Change the flag? What a concept!
We probably forget that the U.S. flag, while recognizable since 1789, changed quite a bit between then and now, mostly in stars, but also in stripes.
Here’s what Canada settled on in 1965, after a surprisingly bitter debate that ran for months in 1964:New Zealand contemplates changing her flag, with a referendum on the action pending, probably in 2016. What are they in for? Will the debate in New Zealand be so bitter as Canada’s was?
New Zealand is to hold a binding referendum in 2016 on whether to change the national flag.
The announcement by Prime Minister John Key of the referendum came after his government last month won a third term in a general election.
A panel of “respected New Zealanders” will lead the public discussion on potential designs for a new flag.
Mr Key has previously said he would like to see a new flag featuring a silver fern, on a black background.
That would be similar to the banner already used by many New Zealand teams such as the All Blacks national rugby union team.
“I believe that this is the right time for New Zealanders to consider changing the [flag’s] design to one that better reflects our status as a modern, independent nation,” Mr Key said.
A fern leaf. Hey, that’s rather like Canada’s switch from the mostly-red flag with a Union Jack to a maple leaf. Canada’s been happy with that flag for more than 50 years, now. Right?
OTTAWA — Prime Minister Stephen Harper surprised media this morning by unveiling a “new-look” Canadian flag in red, white, and blue that “just by fluke” matches the colours of the Conservative Party’s logo.
“I was doodling with my magic markers a while back and it just came to me out of the blue. Our flag needs some blue!” said Harper sporting a lapel pin with his proposed new flag design.
“Frankly, the boring old flag doesn’t reflect my new Canada…we needed something with more energy, something gutsier to better reflect my world leadership role.”
Harper’s doodle, cleaned up a bit:
When a CBC reporter pointed out that Harper’s new flag colours are identical to the Conservative Party logo the PM said he was surprised by the question and hadn’t really noticed the similarity.
“Wow…I guess if you squint at our new flag you could maybe see some loose, loose likeness to my party’s logo colours. But my new design really captures the new Canada…bold and not to be messed with.”
“Proud Canadians will rally behind this new flag as a patriotic symbol of what Canada has become.”
Liberal Party leader Justin Trudeau reacted immediately telling the Ottawa Citizen, “I, like most Canadians, must now question the very sanity of Mr. Harper. Has he gone nuts? That’s a real and pressing question. Has Mr. Harper’s ego finally won the sweaty arm-wrestling match that goes on in his brain.”
“The NDP has been calling loudly for increased spending on mental health care and Mr. Harper just proved the need,” said opposition leader Tom Mulcair.
[Well, no, not really. Notice that the source of the Canadian flag proposal is The Lapine, Canada’s most successful on-line satirical news site — the Onion of the Frozen North. Yes, I got suckered in, until I read the entire article; if it makes you shake your head, be suspicious, even if it doesn’t trigger your Hemingway™ Shit Detector. New Zealand is serious, though.]
Flag wars ahead! Social studies teachers, you should tee this up so your students can enjoy the popcorn.
Good thing the U.S. had Betsy Ross around to tell the rebels what the flag would be, eh?*
More, and resources:
- What exactly is the Commonwealth to which so many former colonies of Britain belong?
- Denmark may have the oldest flag in the world, with its current design dating from 1370, or perhaps earlier; Malawi is the latest nation to have changed its flag, last in 2012; see Wikipedia list
- One proposal for New Zealand’s silver fern flag retains the red, white and blue colors, which are sacred to the Maori natives of New Zealand
* If you can’t find several errors in that sentence, you’re not trying, or you need very remedial history.