This is because a lot of people aren't quite clear on the fact that Canada is a Dominion of the British empire and that one of those Germans I mentioned is our head of state. For the longest time, our (unofficial) national flag:
reflected that fact. Since it's a red naval ensign defaced with the lesser coat of arms, people called it the Red Ensign. That being said, not everyone was content with things as they were. For years, the people who thought that our connection to Britain was what defined us as a nation fought those who wanted a symbol that said we're Canadians first and subjects of Lillibet second. If things had been left to run their course, we'd be like Australia or New Zealand and still be debating adopting a distincive flag were it not for the tenacity of Lester Pearson. His own preferred design was something that the veteran's groups who were most opposed to the change (based on the fact that they thought that their dead comrades would have an opinion on the matter) called "Pearson's Pennant":
The reason that this wasn't adopted wasn't that it didn't have the union flag. The reason was that blue isn't an official Canadian color. An expert on heraldry took this design and after a bit of tweaking, came up with the design we have now:
The reason that I mention this is that Jim is a veteran and thus would have been rather likely to resent having Mike Pearson come along and change things for the sake of change. Then again, he also probably bitched about having French on cereal boxes!!