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A composite of Diamond Jubilee Medals, honouring Queen Elizabeth's 60th year of reign.


Six Quebec MPs have turned down the Jubilee medals handed out by the Canadian government.

All 308 members of the House of Commons were given the Jubilee medals, but as anyone could have predicted, all four Bloc Québécois MPs refused to have anything to do with it. Two Quebec-based NDP have also said they intend to give the awards back.

"In Quebec, the Queen is not a priority. It would have okay to just wish her or make a declaration in the House of Commons," Bloc MP Louis Plamondon said Tuesday. "Australia – also part of the Commonwealth -- isn't handing out these medals. Why is Canada?"

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He admires the Queen, Mr. Plamondon said, but the buck stops there. "I will not participate, none of the Bloc will hand out these medals and we hope other Quebec MPs also say non," he said.

It's not just parliamentarians who are pushing back against the pomp and celebrations marking Queen Elizabeth II's Diamond Jubilee.

Anti-monarchy group Citizens for a Canadian Republic also took a pointed stab at the Conservatives "massive royal PR campaign."

"Fleeting celebrity interest in the royal newlyweds aside, one has to wonder why the government is spending tax dollars on something that opinion polls show that Canadians are either against or care little about, especially at a time of supposed government austerity," said the group's spokesperson J.J. McCullough in a statement.

Tom Freda, the group's director, agreed, saying the plan to spend $7.5-million is excessive.

"It's one thing to commemorate the achievements of a deceased public figure but the Queen is a living person," Mr. Freda said. "For our government to spend one penny on the jubilee – or even the Queen's birthday or huge portraits – is absurd."

Heritage Minister James Moore brushed off the criticism, saying the federal government had spent close to $100-million on Quebec City anniversary celebrations – or more than 13 times the sum currently being spent to celebrate the Queen.

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Meanwhile, on the Hill, the Diamond Jubilee celebrations continued with a dedication of a new stained glass window in the Parliament.

The colourful window is a gift from the Senate to Her Majesty to mark her 60th anniversary on the throne, and also commemorates the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria, incidentally Canada's only queen who has reached this landmark.

The royal fervour is at an all-time high in the nation's capital, with other tributes planned for the Queen including an ice-carving of the jubilee emblem at the annual Winterlude festival and the release of a commemorative Canada Post stamp.

One wonders whether the Queen wanted all this pomp to be dedicated to her, but apparently, Her Majesty at least gave the nod to the window design back in 2010. Both queens are depicted wearing a diamond necklace and drop earrings, which were made for Queen Victoria in 1858 and later worn by Elizabeth II at her coronation in 1952.

With reports from The Canadian Press

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