Oops-German flag attached by government officials to a tree planted by Belgium's Queen in 1977 prior to official visit by Belgian royals this week. PHOTO: Wim Dehandschutter-Twitter

Oops! Canada flag gaffe


Flag fail for government staff:  Snub by Prime Minister?

 When national leaders or royalty visit any country, the red carpet is rolled out, and national flags aplenty are seen in honour of the guests, and on such occasions these high ranking guests usually meet the heads of state and/or national leaders of the host country.

Belgium’s King Philippe and Queen Mathilde are on an official state visit to Canada this week.

It is the first state visit by Belgian royalty in over 40 years.

During that previous visit in 1977, Belgium’s Queen Fabiola planted a maple tree on the grounds of Rideau Hall, the official residence of Canada’s Governor-General.

On the first official day of this visit, Monday, the royals were to be guests at Rideau Hall for a new tree planting ceremony, and some Canadian officials thought to highlight that original special maple tree with the flags of Canada and Belgium.

Unfortunately, someone didn’t bother to google the Belgian flag, and placed a German flag instead. The German flag has black red and yellow vertical stripes, while Belgium’s flag has its stripes in a different order, and are vertical black yellow and red.

A Belgian reporter noticed the mistake by Canadian officials and tweeted.

Canadian officials never noticed the gaffe until it was pointed out to them by a Belgian reporter after which it was hastily removed. A Rideau Hall spokesperson Marie-Ève Létourneau, said the “mix-up” was quickly rectified before the ceremony with the royals.

It is somewhat ironic in that the visit this year, the 100th anniversary year of the end of the First World War, is in part to thank Canada for its vital contribution in liberating Belgium,..from the Germans.

King Philippe, left, and Queen Mathilde ( in red) of Belgium greet visitors– holding proper Belgian flags– at Rideau Hall, along with Governor General Julie Payette during a state visit in Ottawa on Monday, PHOTO: Justin Tang, Canadian Press

No Meeting with Trudeau.

Belgium is taking the state visit very seriously as the group includes seven Belgian ministers, 100 business leaders, and several representatives from Belgian universities and schools.

One of the Belgian reporters,Wim Dehandschutter in an interview on a CBC current affairs show says the Belgians are taking the visit very seriously, but wonders if the Canadian government is.

He mentioned the flag gaffe as an example, but also noted that although a meeting with Canada’s Prime Minister was not on the schedule, King Philippe had met with the Prime Ministers of each country on six other state visits and not getting a meeting with Canada’s political leader “is strange for us”.

Belgian reporter Wim Dehandschutter on CBC current affairs show wonders whether Canadian officials are taking the Belgian state visit seriously. PHOTO via CBC-Power and Politics

Yesterday at a ceremony at the Canadian War Museum in Ottawa to marking the centennial of the end of WWI the royals unveiled an 18 pounder field artillery gun on loan to the museum from Belgium.

A former Canadian Army field piece – an 18 pounder – is removed from its crate at the Canadian War Museum in Ottawa on Friday March 9, 2018. It is on loan from the City of Mons to mark the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War. PHOTO: Kristen Everson-CBC News

The gun was used by Canadians in the final moments of the war on November 11, 1918, as they liberated the city of Mons, and had subsequently been gifted to the city by Canada.

The Belgian delegation continues its visit with trips to Toronto and Montreal this week.

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