Original Maple Leaf Flag On Ebay?
Canada’s first Maple Leaf flag won’t return home to Parliament Hill on Canada Day as expected; the European woman who has the historic banner wants to “clear up” whether she’s owed money from her late husband’s federal pension.
“Why should I be in a hurry to hand this flag over to a government who refuses to me what I guess all widows are normally entitled to?” Elisabeth Hoffmann-Lamoureux, widow of former Liberal MP, House Speaker and ambassador Lucien Lamoureux, wrote in a recent e- mail to the Citizen.
In telephone interviews from her Brussels law office this week, she even raised the possibility of auctioning the historic national artifact on eBay. “The Canadians want this flag, the alternative is, I sell it by eBay and take this money as my pension.”
Soon after it was raised on the Peace Tower during a nationally televised ceremony on Feb. 15, 1965, officially replacing the old British Red Ensign, it was secretly given to Mr. Lamoureux. The Ottawa native was MP for Stormont-Dundas from 1962 until his retirement from politics in 1974. He was named Commons’ Speaker in 1966.
The gift was possibly a reward for his respected role as deputy Speaker during the tumultuous 1964 great flag debate between prime minister Lester B. Pearson’s Liberals and John Diefenbaker’s Conservatives.
Recently discovered 1964 federal cabinet directives reveal that the Peace Tower flag, and a second smaller first flag raised that day on Parliament Hill, were supposed to be placed in the custody of a federal museum for safekeeping.
But the Peace Tower flag has remained in a wooden box in a bedroom closet, and later a plastic shopping bag, at Mr. Lamoureux’s homes here and in Europe for the past 40 years.