The Images of a Country
Saskatchewan Council for Archives & Archivists
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On 8 September 1964, telling Pearson and Diefenbaker they and their parties had acted "like two old bulls in a pasture butting their together," Tommy Douglas, leader of the New Democratic Party, hoping a solution could be found "before we do irreparable damage to parliament and to confederation," called for an all-party committee to review and report on the flag issue. This proposal was accepted and by 10 September, 15-member committee was formed.

The committee eventually divided the designs into three main types: one-leaf designs, three-leaf designs and those containing the fleur-de-lis and Union Jack in some combination. The field was narrowed to one flag of each type.

On 29 October, after 45 meetings, several votes were taken: adoption of the Red Ensign as the national flag was defeated 10 to 4; having a national plebiscite on the flag issue was rejected; the committee was unanimous in its determination to bring before Parliament its recommendation on a single flag.

In another vote, both designs containing maple leaves were retained: the Union Jack/fleur-de-lis design was rejected.

That left the choice between "Pearson's pennant" and the maple leaf flag. Assuming the Liberals on the committee would support Pearson's choice, the Conservative members voted in favour of the single maple leaf. The initial outcome was 14 to 0 for the maple leaf flag, with one abstention. A second, confirming vote was taken and the maple leaf flag passed, 10 to 4.

 2003 Diefenbaker Canada Centre Archives