Canada (proposed, 1895)
"The advocates of a maple leaf do not seem to recognize that such an emblem only symbolizes weakness and decay; they regard Summer beauty as everything, and overlook the fact that a floral decoration is not at home "in the battle and the breeze," that storm and tempest so familiar to us seafaring people is not the place for a fragile leaf or wreath of leaves."
— “NEW FLAG FOR THE DOMINION.; CANADA WISHES TO HAVE A DISTINCTIVE EMBLEM”, The New York Times, 13 August 1895, p. 4.
Originally from the Halifax Morning Herald, this 19th century article isn’t just opposed to the the maple leaf as a national symbol, but also the 1868 red ensign (“not distinguishable at any distance”), and the beaver (“belongs to the same family (rodents) as rats and mice”).
Instead, it endorses a proposal by Sir Sandford Fleming, a.k.a. the time zone guy. He wanted the Canadian flag to feature a seven-pointed north star, with each point representing a province. If this idea sounds familiar, it’s because the Australians used the exact same symbol on their flag only a few years later.
The idea of a north star flag popped up again in the 1930s but it didn’t get much traction. By that time the maple leaf was firmly ensconced as Canada’s national symbol, objections of seafaring people notwithstanding.