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Obviously the Canadian Embassy thought it was a good idea at the time when it e-mailed invitations for its annual Canada Day celebration on Tuesday with a drawing of a famous French explorer holding a dish of poutine, a French-Canadian snack of French fries covered in cheese curd and gravy.

However, the invitation offended Jean-Paul Perreault, president of Imperatif Francais, a French-Canadian language rights organization. He claimed the drawing of Samuel de Champlain disrespected the founder of Quebec City, which is celebrating its 400th anniversary this week. He demand an apology from Prime Minister Stephen J. Harper, Foreign Minister David Emerson and Canadian Ambassador Michael Wilson.

Canadian Embassy spokesman Tristan Landry, a French-Canadian, said the embassy has removed it from its Web site.

“We apologize if it offended anyone,” he told reporters.

Call Embassy Row at 202/636-3297, fax 202/832-7278 or e-mail