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Lieutenant-Governor of Quebec (Canada)


Last modified: 2012-08-11 by rob raeside
Keywords: quebec | canada | france | fleur de lys (4) | saguenay | cross: st george |
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[Quebec - Lieutenant-Gouverneur] image by Martin Grieve

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Outside links for Quebec Flag Protocol and Laws:

About the flag

The Lieutenant-Governor represents the Queen in Quebec. This flag was adopted in 1950.
Luc-Vartan Baronian, 4 February 1997

Historical notes

1952: Adoption of a blue standard with the assumed arms of 1939 on a white disk. The arms have a Tudor crown.

1957: The Tudor crown is replaced by St. Edward's crown on the coat of arms of Canada.

Between 1957 and 1965, the crown is also replaced on Quebec's Lieutenant Governor's standard. We know it was no later than 1965, because the Lieutenant Governor's archives contain letters from citizens enquiring about the change from 1965 to 1970.

No information about the difference in the disposition and color of the scroll.

Quebec's assumed arms of 1939 always kept the Tudor crown.
Luc Baronian, 13 May 2005

About Crowns

In "Flags of Canada" Alistair Fraser, usually very accurate, says that the crown now has depressed arches. However in "Symbols of Canada" produced for the Minister of Supply and Services, it is shown with the original Tudor crown. In my opinion it should have a Tudor crown. The badge on the flag is the arms of Quebec, which were last modified in 1939. The flag should depict the arms as they are, still with a Tudor crown.

The arms of Quebec are an heraldic anomaly. In 1939 the Secretary of the Province arranged a modification to the arms of Quebec. It was approved by the Lieutenant Governor and sent to London for registration with the College of Arms. Garter refused to approve them. "It is not possible in Heraldry to assign HM's Crown pure and simple as a crest. In Heraldry, the King's Crown, taken by itself, bears the mark of the King's personal identity and cannot be used as a Crest of any Province or individual. It is different where the Crown is placed within a wreath, or otherwise treated in Heraldic fashion. The device containing it can then be used as a crest."

The matter was referred to the Canadian authorities for an expression of their wishes and on 2nd August 1940 the Canadian High Commissioner informed the Dominions Office that Garter's recommendations had been sent to Canada. The file [National Archives (PRO) DO 35/629/1] closed with no further letters on the matter.

The war had already started and there were more important things to think about. It is perhaps no coincidence that from 1940 to 1950 the Lt-Governor of Quebec, Sir Eugène Fiset, flew the plain Union Jack and not a defaced Union Jack (Swan [swa77]). His successor, the Hon.Gaspard Fauteux, introduced the blue flag with arms on a white disc in 1950 (Fraser [fra98]), or in the mid-1950s after using the Canadian Red Ensign until then [Swan].

I think that the crown has been 'floated' to make it part of the circlet of maple leaves. It is then not a crest, but "within a wreath", and so heraldically acceptable.

Detaching the crown from the shield complies with Garter's recommendations, and since the badge is then no longer an exact representation of the arms, I think that changing the crown becomes an option.

The quotation in my previous message was from a dispatch sent to the Governor General of Canada on 10th July 1916 explaining why British Columbia's 1915 application for its arms to be ensigned with a royal crown had to be refused.

In case they may be of interest here are more of Garter's, and others', comments on the Quebec arms.

The division of the field into three horizontal pieces was entirely foreign to British heraldry and that the only other instance of it was the Arms of Canada. [Comment in margin, 'and the existing Arms of Quebec!'. Also of course the 1868 Arms of Nova Scotia.

"Although it is an importation of Continental Heraldry into British Heraldry, and I think regrettable on that account, as a precedent for it exists in the case of the Dominion Arms, I should not be disposed to press an objection to it, the more so that in the present case there is no doubt historical ground for such importation."

Garter also objected to the blazon which did not conform to British methods. He thought that, as principal Heraldic Officer of the Empire, he should be free to write the blazon according to the principles of British heraldry when drawing up the Warrant.

"These are minor matters. The question of the introduction of the Crown I consider to be of more importance. With the sole exception of the Dominion of Canada, no Dominion, Province or Colony has been granted the right to ensign its Arms with the Imperial Crown. The Crown is personal to the Sovereign. It denotes His Majesty's rank, and is placed above the Royal Arms to indicate this, just as a Peer ensigns his Arms with his coronet."

The Royal Assent to the Arms of Canada was obtained before their design was submitted to Garter for his observations, and the ensigned crown was not a valid precedent for its use on the Arms of a province within that Dominion.

"If so desired, a Crest could be granted with the proposed Arms, which, pictorially, would occupy the position of the Crown. Following the usual constitutional practice in such cases application should be made for a Royal Warrant assigning the Arms, and I will draw up and forward for your consideration a draft of such a Warrant on receipt of your instructions in reply to this letter."

Dominions Office Memo. "As Governments are not persons, the use of the Crown or other badge of rank in such a position is evidently anomalous. The use of the Crown as part of the Arms or Crest, as in the case of the Arms of Melbourne and Canberra, is not open to objection on this ground."

Blue flags with the royal crest and scroll(s) were introduced for Governor-Generals in the 1930s (i.e. Australia, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa.

It is usually said that they were intended to show that, following the Balfour Declaration of 1926, Governor-Generals no longer represented the British Government, but had become representatives of the British monarch. However it is possible that this was not the original reason for introducing the flags.

A special defaced Union Jack existed for Governor-Generals when embarked in a boat or vessel, but there was no special flag for use on land. A plain Union Jack was flown daily from sunrise to sunset on Government House, the residence of the Governor-General.

In 1928 the Nationality and Flags Act established the practice of flying both Union Jack and South African Union Flag on Government buildings in the Union of South Africa. King George V did not want his personal representative in South Africa to fly any flag except the Union Jack. General Hertzog, the South African Prime Minister, was prepared to accede to the King's wishes on this point, but it was felt that there were bound to be protests from some members of the Assembly if the South African Union Flag was not flown with the Union Jack on Government House. It was suggested that if the Governor-General had a special flag, instead of the Union Jack, there would be no obligation to fly the South African Union Flag alongside it.

Unfortunately the file ends at that point, but the haphazard way in which the flags were introduced does support the idea that, although they did come to symbolise the new constitutional relationship between Britain and the Dominions, this was not their original purpose. Had it been, all four flags would surely have been introduced at the same time?

Perhaps on the 1st January 1932, after the British Parliament had given the Balfour Declaration legal standing by enacting the Statute of Westminster on 12th December 1931. Instead, the flag was already in use in South Africa (January 1931) and Canada (April 1931), but was not used in New Zealand until April 1935. The Governor-General, Lord Bledisloe, had refused to fly the flag, and it remained in store until he was succeeded by Lord Galway. In Australia the Prime Minister, James Scullin, did not favour the change, and the flag was not adopted there until July 1936.
[National Archives (PRO) DO 35/253/5, DO 35/628/3, DO 117/100]
David Prothero, 5-12 April 2005