Among fears that newly elected Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government may be trying to excise her images from Canada’s national life, a portrait of Queen Elizabeth II has been removed from a prime location at the Foreign Affairs building and replaced by twin paintings by Quebec modern artist Alfred Pellan.
The Alfred Pellan paintings, called Canada West and Canada East, were on display since the opening of the building, before they made way for the giant portrait of Queen Elizabeth II.
The brightly coloured pieces of work depict some of the best that Canada has to offer.
John Manley, the former Liberal Foreign Affairs minister has called the moving of the painting entirely appropriate and he feels displaying such a giant portrait of the Queen in such a prominent location sent ‘the wrong message’.
The Pellan paintings were commissioned for the first Canadian mission in Brazil for its opening in 1944 and Pellan painted them just after returning from Paris after the Second World War.
The Queen officially opened the building in 1973 and the painting were placed above the reception desk.
Just before the visit of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge in 2011 the Pellan paintings were replaced with the Queen’s portrait which remained pride and place for four years before it’s abrupt removal.
Not everyone was impressed with the change though and the chairman of the. Monarchist League of Canada called the decision “outrageous”. He questioned why the three paintings simply cannot be on display together.
The Liberals have spoken in strong support of the monarchy in the past, which makes the decision all the more puzzling. So far it is unclear where the Queen’s portrait has been moved to and a spokeswoman responded that it was an “internal decision”.
The news comes after the Liberal party won a surprise majority in last months General Election, taking 184 of the 338 seats in parliament with roughly 40% of the popular vote.