Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Royal Fumble?

If you're unaware yet, Canada's navy and air force will soon get a new name - an old one, to be truthful. Those branches of the military are currently named Maritime Command and Air Command, names courtesy of former Liberal Defense Minister and professional nutbar Paul Hellyer's reorganization of Canada's armed services, one of the few bright ideas in his career.

Their names will be changed back to the pre-1968 names of the Royal Canadian Navy and the Royal Canadian Air Force - RCN and RCAF. Meanwhile, the land forces will be named the Canadian Army - this following a Commonwealth tradition that the land forces of a Commonwealth nation are their own sovereign forces, while the Navy and Air Force serve under the monarchy. Don't worry, though - Britain isn't going to commandeer our Sea Kings, thank goodness.

So, the big question here is why. The official reason is that veterans who served under the military pre-1968 wanted the name back - it's a tradition thing. With all due respect to our veterans, I find this reason a little lacking - chances are the majority of serving men and women in the CF came into the Forces under those names, and even likely they were not even born when those names were still in use. Switching the names now seems like a nice homage, but if you thought the 1968 name change was bad enough for yourselves, why would you do it to the next generation of soldiers?

The unofficial reason is likely that the Conservatives see this as a way to shore up support among its core supporters in the older generation. Barely anyone below 30-40 cares; some who are over 55-60 do. Add in the recent royal visit and you have a combination of opportunism and politics - after all, Canada is sorely lacking in its love for the monarchy (though we don't hate it either). Is this the Conservative government's slight-of-hand to try and instill a stronger sense of loyalty between Canada and the monarchy? After all, if we keep seeing "Royal ---" everywhere, we might feel a kinship.

Or, as is more likely, people won't care. That, or some might get ticked off. The mood toward the monarchy in Canada is fairly indifferent, but there's enough emotion in the argument about Canadian sovereignty and assertion to woo some people. If you keep spouting off that our Navy and Air Force serve the monarchy, even if its just a name, I guarantee some might not be too impressed. Then the next Liberal government in has a reason to change it back (who knows what the NDP would do).

So is this a smart move, a fumble, or won't make a difference? I honestly don't care either way - though I think RCN is an awesome abbreviation. I suspect I'm not alone.


  1. I wonder how much this will cost the tax payers? Think about it. New branding, logo, letterhead, and all that go with that. Possibly even new uniforms and the machinery and vehicles would probably need the new logos and names repainted and old names and logos stripped off. I'm sure that I can think of more if I wasn't so tired.

    While the Cons are thinking cuts to social safety nets and to jobs, they're doing something useless like changing the name to military branches, thus necessary costly branding changes?? Obscene!

  2. Good point CK, though I figured, or at least through second-hand knowledge, this would happen totally within the military's budget as-is, IF everything stayed within costs. That's a big IF, of course.

  3. But also remember that extra costs are nothing to the Harper Cons if it buys them votes. Example: G8/G20.

  4. buys them votes? What votes? Not in La Belle Province, that's for sure? I wonder how many in the Van Doos he'll piss off? The Van Doos are proud to fight for Canada--as a sovereign nation, yes--but not for any British monarchy, that's for sure.

    Then, there's the rest of us Quebecers. Simply put, we don't like having the British monarchy rammed down our throats at every turn and this PM seems intent on doing just that every chance he gets.

    Not to mention, this is another typical Harper step backwards, not forward. Why is he persistent in heading backward at every cost instead of going forward?