NEWS

Pauline Marois removes fleur-de-lis from her poppy

11/02/2012 03:23 EDT | Updated 01/23/2014 06:58 EST
In response to an outcry from Canadian veterans, Premier Pauline Marois will no longer pin the symbol of Quebec, the fleur-de-lis, to her poppy.

Marois was sporting a fleur-de-lis pin inside her poppy when she gave her first inaugural address at the Quebec legislature Wednesday.

Veterans were outraged, and Margot Arsenault, the Legion's provincial president, accused the Parti Québécois premier of playing politics.

"I find it's very political and, right now, the veterans are very, very, very upset because they fought for Canada not just for Quebec," she said. "We are in Canada. If she wants to wear the poppy she should just wear it like it is."

She said she received about 15 phone calls and a dozen emails Thursday from veterans who complained the premier's gesture was not acceptable.

Arsenault said she sent a letter to the premier, saying it's not proper to wear the poppy with a pin inside.

No offence intended, says Marois's office

Marois' press secretary Marie Barrette said the premier did not intend to offend anyone.

"She has always had the greatest respect for veterans," she said.

Barrette explained that Marois was basically consolidating the two symbols, since she always wears that fleur-de-lis pin and wanted to avoid wearing two separate decorations on her lapel.

"Her objective was not to create a controversy," said Marois's director of communications, Shirley Bishop.

Federal Veterans Affairs Minister Steven Blaney said it is inappropriate to wear any other symbols in combination with the poppy.

Arsenault, whose father was a veteran, agreed.

She said the poppy is a Royal Canadian Legion symbol and nothing should be attached inside — not even the Canadian flag.

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