Quebec Premier Pauline Marois
Credits: STEVENS LEBLANC/JOURNAL DE QUEBEC/AGENCE QMI
OTTAWA - Separatist Quebec Premier Pauline Marois has backed down from her attempt to put a nationalist Quebec spin on her Remembrance Day lapel poppy.
The premier's office confirms Marois will no longer pin the poppy to her lapel with Quebec's fleur-de-lys.
"The goal was not to offend anyone," spokeswoman Shirley Bishop said Friday. "On the contrary, Ms. Marois is very respectful of veterans and for all those who gave their lives for their country."
Marois mixed the fleur-de-lys with her poppy on Thursday.
That led to the Quebec branch of the Royal Canadian Legion complaining to Marois because veterans felt "insulted" by the improper display.
The legion's 62-page poppy manual states that attaching a poppy to a lapel with another pin - even a Canadian flag - is a faux pas because the poppy is the "sacred symbol of Remembrance and should not be defaced in any way."
Veterans Affairs Minister Steven Blaney says Marois did the right thing by backing down.
However, some NDP and Bloc Quebecois MPs say they don't see what all the fuss is about.
"I think (Marois is) expressing her belief, but she's also expressing some type of... respect for our armed force and everything," Quebec New Democrat Francoise Boivin said.
Separatist MP Andre Bellavance dismissed the issue as "a storm in a glass of water."
Conservatives say they take the issue seriously.
"People expect this of sovereigntists," New Brunswick MP John Williamson said. "It's disappointing, but I don't think Canadians get too, too worked up about it anymore."
Tory MP Harold Albrecht of Kitchener, ON, says he knows better than to mess with the poppy.
"My position has always been I will not put any other centre in it because I think the veterans have this as their icon and I've always felt to leave it in its pure form is the best," Albrecht said.
- with files from Dominique La Haye