|FLAG DESIGNER -- Songwriter's Ballad Honours Former Lieutenant-Governor|
Ex-pat strums tribute to former lieutenant-governor
By CHUCK BROWN
The New Brunswick Telegraph-Journal, St. Stephen bureau
News, Monday, February 16, 2004 – Print
Edition, Page A1/A7
A Canadian singer-songwriter who now lives in Nashville has penned a tribute to
George Stanley, a former New Brunswick lieutenant-governor and the man
who designed Canada's maple leaf flag.
Lisa Lapointe, a Montreal native, wrote One Single Leaf: The Ballad of George
Stanley in the fall of 2002 after reading Mr. Stanley's obituary in the Montreal
"I had never really heard of him, I barely knew anything other than that the
flag just sort of came out in the '60s," Ms. Lapointe said Sunday in a telephone
interview from San Francisco.
Then she read Dr. Stanley's obituary and did some research into the birth of the
maple leaf flag.
"I was just really moved by the story. It's fascinating and I think it's a real
shame that more people don't know how the flag came about. George Stanley, after
I read more about him, he's just incredible."
Ms. Lapointe and her husband, John Klepko, first performed the song on National
Flag of Canada Day, Feb. 15, 2003, at Montreal's Yellow Door Coffeehouse. She
and Mr. Klepko recorded the song in their Nashville living room last fall.
The maple leaf flag was raised for the first time at noon on Feb. 15, 1965 and
in 1996, Prime Minister Jean Chrétien announced that Feb. 15 was to be
officially designated National Flag of Canada Day.
Dr. Stanley's simple red-and-white flag design was chosen from thousands
submitted in 1965 under Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson.
The historian, educator, author and former New Brunswick lieutenant-governor
died in 2002 in Sackville at age 95.
Speaking on the importance of a flag to a nation, Dr. Stanley once said:
"A flag is more than a means of identification. It is the embodiment of what a
country stands for: it is the symbol of the ethos or spirit of a people, its
hopes, its aspirations, its will to live and its determination to play its role
Dr. Stanley was born in Calgary and, in addition to being a Rhodes Scholar, was
also a Spengler Cup-winning hockey player.
Dr. Stanley returned to Canada from England in 1936 to head the history
department at Mount Allison University in Sackville.
He then joined the army, first as a lieutenant with the New Brunswick Rangers
and then as an infantry training officer in Fredericton before going overseas to
be a historian at the Canadian army headquarters in London.
He was discharged as a lieutenant-colonel in 1947 in Vancouver.
In the 1940s, Dr. Stanley researched the history of the Canadian government's
policy on dealing with native people. By 1949 he was the head of the history
department at the Royal Military College in Kingston, Ont., a post he held for
The maple leaf flag was born from a sketch Dr. Stanley drew at the bottom of a
memo that he sent to John Matheson, Mr. Pearson's parliamentary secretary who
was in charge of the flag committee. The committee saw the sketch of the simple
design and approved it unanimously.
In 1969, Dr. Stanley returned to Mount Allison University to set up the first
undergraduate program in Canadian Studies at a Canadian university. He taught
brand new courses in Canadian civilization that dealt with literature, music,
architecture and culture.
In 1982, Dr. Stanley became New Brunswick's 25th lieutenant-governor since
Confederation; he held that post for five years.
He was also one of the founders of the Université de Moncton, and the author and
editor of 18 books and numerous articles and book reviews.
During his lifetime, Dr. Stanley received countless honours in recognition of
his academic and public-service contributions, including Companion of the Order
of Canada, a Canadian Forces long-service medal and 12 honorary degrees.
Ms. Lapointe has performed with some musical heavy hitters. She's opened for Ray
Charles and backed up Celine Dion as a member of the Montreal Jubilation Gospel
Choir. She's also performed as a soloist in Handel's Messiah and she's played in
the famous Haight-Ashbury area of San Francisco.
She has also lead and arranged music for church choirs and plays guitar and
With files from Canadian Press
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