Nathalie Allard says “you’d have to be blind not to notice” the badly ripped Quebec flag flapping above the SAQ retail outlet on Sources Blvd. in Dollard.
Allard noticed it Feb. 23 while dining nearby and began to make some noise about what she considers an affront to an important Quebec symbol.
“I have a pet peeve when it comes to things like that,” Allard said.
“It shows a real disregard and disrespect. I really don’t care if it’s a municipal, provincial or federal flag.
“Either take it down if you’re not going to take care of it, or if you’re going to put it up, at least show some respect.”
Maintaining flags in proper condition, even in the throes of a particularly harsh Quebec winter, is a matter of respect, she said.
“It doesn’t matter what your political convictions are. I‘m not a separatist or anything like that, but I live here,” the 52-year-old Westmount resident said.
“To me it’s representative, it’s a symbol. It’s a small thing, but some people don’t care. Some people walk by and don’t notice it. But it bothers me.”
Allard wrote to The Montreal Gazette and also contacted local MNAs about the torn and tattered fleurdelisé flag, which celebrated its 70th anniversary in 2018.
The manager of the SAQ store next to the Galeries des Sources told the Montreal Gazette on Wednesday that a new flag has been ordered. “Don’t worry,” he said.
The manager did not know how long the flag had been in such poor condition, but said the store flag is replaced every three or four months.
Local Liberal MNA Enrico Ciccone said he also heard about another torn flag at a shopping mall in Lachine through social media. He immediately offered to replace the flag, but was told that it was too icy to try changing it now.
The former NHL hockey player-turned-politician said he’d be happy to replace the ripped flags at both locations if need be.
“Anything for my riding,” he said. “It’s a Quebec flag and it’s very important it gets fixed.” I want to make sure our province is well-represented and our flag deserves all the respect.”
As a French-speaking Quebecer, Allard is bothered the flag has been allowed to wither away through neglect.
“It’s not an isolated thing,” she said. “I see it everywhere. At some point, somebody has to the stop passing the buck. It’s not hard to fix.”
“Go to the U.S, you’ll never, ever see an American flag looking like a rag,” Allard said.
“We should do the same, but it’s the whole mentality of the thing. It’s not in our DNA.
“I’m French Canadian and I think that for some reason … we have this inferiority complex, like we’re this little French place in big, wide North America. We’re trying to secure ourselves, we’re trying to identify ourselves and we’re just lost. We’re always having to explain ourselves, and we’re always having to defend ourselves.
“It’s nationalism and anyone who shows pride in the Quebec flag, ‘Oh, you’re a nationalist or a separatist.’ I’m not a separatist. I’m happy to live here.”
Allard said some places in Montreal get it right.
“Selwyn House, the boys’ school down the street, give them credit; their flags are always, always in good shape.”