For 50 years I have worked for the historic gains achieved by the NDP on May 2 by putting up NDP election signs, pulling the vote on E-day, and contributing handsomely to party coffers. Being Franco-Canadian, I followed the Election Night coverage on Radio-Canada only to find, as the telecast focused on the Constitution Room at the Metro Convention Centre, that our splendid electoral breakthrough was marred by an entirely avoidable visual image.
A sea of Maple Leaf flags – without a single Fleur de Lys in sight – greeted the tide of Quebecois voters as a backdrop to Jack Layton’s address as leader-elect of the Official Opposition. This was an inexcusable faux pas! We presume it happened without the prior knowledge of the Leader.
In any case it cannot be ignored – lest our break-through in Quebec turn into a one-night stand. Brad, while I have received e-mail messages daily from you leading up to May 2, I have waited for over a week for any kind of public acknowledgment of this blunder on election night.
It is for this reason that I am addressing this open letter to you . I have stood up in defence of the Fleur de Lys on several occasions in my life, both as a party member and as a former resident of Quebec. For example, at Brockville at the time of the Meech Lake Accord, when reactionaries publicly trampled the Fleur-de-Lys flag, and the media eagerly transmitted the hateful images of anti-Quebec chauvinism in action.
Brad, I believe I have the right to ask that the NDP, starting with you as the federal campaign director, publicly acknowledge the “flag error” and explain how it occurred. The party should apologize for it and pledge that at future NDP/NPD events the Fleur de Lys be accorded equal status with the Maple Leaf.
I wish this acknowledgment and correction be done expeditiously. I am sure that New Democrats would agree that we do not want the flag slap in the face of Quebec to mar the proceedings at the upcoming June federal NDP convention in Vancouver. Please respond to this appeal as soon as possible.
Member of the Federal Steering Committee,
NDP Socialist Caucus