MPP Pierre Lemieux visited St. Jude’s Catholic Elementary School in Vankleek Hill March 2 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Canadian flag. The official anniversary was February 15, however, Lemieux said it is always a good time to celebrate our national flag. “It’s just wonderful to see you honouring our flag and our honouring our country today,” said Lemieux.
Lemieux spoke to a full house Monday telling the children some little known facts about the flag. “Before we had this flag, we had a variety of flags. It was confusing,” said Lemieux. “This flag unites us as Canadians. People around the world recognize our national flag.”
Lemieux shared a few stories about the national flag, including the reason why Ottawa has an annual tulip festival. “During World War II, the Queen of Holland had to escape. She came to Canada. We welcomed the Royal family with open arms. While they were here, princess Margaret was born in Ottawa.” Lemieux went on to explain that the hospital that princess Margaret was born in was made into Dutch soil during the birth so the princess could remain a princess of Holland. “The Peace Tower always has a Canadian flag, except for the day princess Margaret was born. It is the only time a foreign flag was flown over the Peace Tower.” Lemieux explained that for these reasons, Ottawa receives thousands of tulips from Holland each year to say thank you for what Canada did in World War II.
Lemieux explained the maple leaf represents all of Canada and red and white is used because they are the official colours of Canada. He then opened the floor to questions from the students. Grade 8 student, Madeleine Fortin asked why red and white were the official colours, but Lemieux could not answer. “I don’t really know the answer to that,” he said. According to the Canadian Heritage website, the colours represent England and France and were approved as Canada’s national colours in the proclamation of her coat of arms in 1921.
Lemieux told the children that soldiers wear the Canadian flag on the arm of their uniform to let people know they are Canadian. “Everyone loves Canadians,” said Lemieux. “Whenever you travel, always be proud to wear the flag and people will love you.” He asked the children if they could think of a time to be proud to wear the flag. “My brothers are in the cadets,” said 6-year-old Seamus Baxter. “I am proud when they wear a flag for cadets.”
Lemieux remained to present students with ‘Student of the Month’ and ‘Public Speaking’ awards. Afterwards, Lemieux was presented with a binder to thank him for coming to speak with the students of St. Jude’s. Several grade 8 girls asked him for his autograph. “I not sure why, but I seem to have rock star status here at St. Jude’s,” Lemieux joked.