Canadian flag returns to Quebec legislature
Published Tuesday, September 18, 2012 6:17PM EDT
The Canadian flag was back at the Quebec National Assembly for the swearing-in of Liberal and CAQ MNAs on Tuesday, a day after it was removed for the swearing-in of Parti Quebecois politicians.
The Maple Leaf was noticeably absent from the Red Room of the provincial legislature Monday when PQ leader and premier-elect Pauline Marois pledged allegiance to the Queen and the people of Quebec. PQ MNAs were sworn in on Monday, followed by their Liberal and Coalition Avenir Quebec counterparts on Tuesday.
On Tuesday, Quebec politicians dismissed any notion of a controversy.
“I think it is not a priority for Quebecers,” said CAQ leader Francois Legault. “I think right now the last thing people want to see at the National Assembly is a battle over flags.”
The flag’s absence was nothing new for a PQ swearing-in. The Maple Leaf was nowhere to be seen in 2008, and it has been absent each time a PQ government has taken power since the first time, in 1976.
The flag was a mainstay during the nine years of Jean Charest’s Liberal governments.
Monday’s missing flag sparked outrage among many Canadians, but the federal party leaders in Ottawa stayed mum on the issue.
Even most MPs refused to get tangled up in the issue on Tuesday.
Industry Minister Christian Paradis said only that, “We’ll stay away from these old fights and flag fights and stuff like that.”
NDP MP Alexandre Boulerice said, “It’s a decision of Pauline Marois and her minority government, and it’s their decision.”
However, Liberal MP Stephane Dion called it unacceptable.
“Most Quebecers would like to see the Quebec flag and the Canadian flag,” Dion said. “We love both our flags.”
NDP MP Charlie Angus said to get wrapped up in criticizing the PQ would be playing into the party’s hands.
“We’re not going to be engaged in the politics of provocation,” Angus told reporters. “Have you never seen a PQ government before? C’mon guys.”
With a report from CTV’s Roger Smith