Canadian flag removed from Quebec National Assembly
Published Monday, September 17, 2012 4:50PM EDT
Last Updated Monday, September 17, 2012 5:55PM EDT
As some Quebec politicians were sworn in as Members of the National Assembly on Monday, one item was noticeably absent from the proceedings: the Canadian flag.
According to reporters who attended the swearing-in, the flag had been removed from the National Assembly. The Maple Leaf had been on display during Jean Charest’s nine years as premier.
Although the Canadian flag did not fly during the ceremony, Parti Quebecois Leader Pauline Marois, who will officially become premier on Wednesday, did pledge allegiance to the Queen, and to the people of Quebec.
Political commentator and former Liberal MP Jean Lapierre said Monday the Maple Leaf’s absence marks the beginning of “probably a lot of confrontation” with the federal government.
“We’ve never seen a PQ government do anything in the shadow of the Canadian flag,” Lapierre told CTV’s Power Play. “But obviously we can see the difference because for nine years, every time there was an important event, Jean Charest made sure the Canadian flag was there.”
Marois was sworn in as MNA for Charlevoix-Cote-de-Beaupre during a two-hour ceremony Monday along with 54 other PQ MNAs. Marois will officially become premier and leader of a minority government on Wednesday, when she is invited to form a government by Lt.-Gov. Pierre Duchesne.
She is also expected to unveil her cabinet at that time. Liberal and Coalition Avenir Quebec MNAs will be sworn in on Tuesday.
While the federal government did not immediately comment on the missing flag, relations between the PQ government and Ottawa got rocky on Friday after the federal government announced it will no longer oppose the worldwide fight against asbestos.
Industry Minister Christian Paradis announced the government will no longer oppose efforts to list chrysotile as a hazardous material, a move it blamed on Quebec’s new government.
In his remarks, Paradis blamed Marois for killing jobs in the province by vowing to cancel a $58-million loan that would have re-opened the Jeffrey asbestos mine. The loan had been promised by the Charest government.
"First off I'd like to remind you that Pauline Marois, the premier-designate of Quebec, has clearly stated her intention to forbid chrysotile exploitation in Quebec," Paradis told reporters.
"Obviously that decision will have a negative impact on the prosperity of our regions...In the meantime hundreds of workers in our region are without jobs, are living in uncertainty and hoping the mine will reopen,” he said. “It would be illogical for Canada to oppose the inclusion of chrysotile in annex III of the Rotterdam Convention when Quebec, the only province that produces chrysotile, will prohibit its exploitation.”