Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Battle Royal

Yesterday, Peter MacKay (remember him?) announced that the Canadian Navy and Air Force will be adding the "Royal" back to their name. The move is expected to be popular among nostalgic military veterans and nostalgic Royal Canadian Air Farce fans.

However, not everyone is smitten. Opposition may not be quite at the level of census-fury, or changing-the-lyrics-to-O-Canada-fury, but there have been some harsh words nonetheless:

History professor Pierre Anctill: "The reason why the name Royal was erased was to emphasize Canadian nationalism under [former Prime Minister Pierre] Trudeau and the willingness to create the national identity and to have these forces serve Canadian needs.”

Tom Freda, Citizens for a Canadian Republic: "This isn’t the 1950s, nor do we have 1950s values. Canada has been accustomed to moving away from colonialist symbols, not toward them."

Bob Butt, spokesman for the Royal Canadian Legion. “The fund would be better used to equip our sailors, soldiers and airmen.”

Historian Jack Granatstein: “I think this is appalling … it’s abject colonialism.”

This is an issue I'd love to take up arms against. After all, I'm a staunch republican - ditch the monarchy and become a real country. Turning back the clock 43 years, even if it's only a symbolic gesture, is something that should have me rattling off angry blog posts on a daily basis.

But truth be told, I can't muster the same level of outrage as the historians above. After all, like a Bloc nomination meeting in Mount Royal or the policy prioritization process at Liberal Conventions, this is rather meaningless. If we're not going to be a fully sovereign country with our own head of state, it's hard to get too worked up about this.


  • Canadian politics is just one administration overturning the actions of the previous so that nothing is done, but our money is all spent.

    By Blogger Robert Vollman, at 10:19 AM  

  • If the ships are called HMCS, as in Her Majesty's Canadian Ship, what is the problem with calling the Navy itself Royal as well. After all, the ship names could have been changed to simply CS back in 1968.

    By Blogger jad, at 11:11 AM  

  • For what it's worth, Australia still uses the Royal moniker for their air force and navy.

    By Blogger Bailey, at 1:38 PM  

  • I really dont see why there needs to be any opposition to this. Once in awhile there seems to be a government committed to defining what they believe a Canadian identity is. There really is no such thing as a Canadian identity. Nationalism is just a bad hangover that carries from the 19th century, the status quo is where it's at, so while I dont mind the changing of the name, it would have been wise to have left it the way its been.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:43 PM  

  • Alternative blog post title: "Royal with Cheese. Lots and lots of cheese."

    Because the arguments for and against are so full of the stuff.

    It's a silly little bit of waste of money for Harper to do. I've been surprised (and saddened) by the amount of sheer joy this has given so very many people.

    It would be even sillier though to make any deal about this, let alone a big one.

    But in the next election campaign, it could prove useful. If the theme is that instead of moving forward, Harper wants to throw us back into the past, I see a lot of use in something symbolic like this.

    Couple that with Harper's obvious low enthusiasm for Canadian independence with the priority given on trade over sovereignty in the border negotiations with the US and his western separatism past, and you've got one of those undercurrent themes that, on their own, don't take down governments but add to the distrust of his intentions that is already very strong.

    By Blogger Ted Betts, at 5:41 PM  

  • Oh, and that Jack Granatstein is not in favour of this is in itself quite interesting.

    By Blogger Ted Betts, at 5:41 PM  

  • A rare moment where I actually agree with the Harper government. I much prefer the old names.

    By Blogger Sean C, at 8:57 PM  

  • This was a punch in the nose to the military, along with the huge, corrupt bureaucracy that dominated the forces.
    Little by little, the stains of the Trudeau eara are being cleaned up.

    By Blogger ridenrain, at 11:29 PM  

  • Sorry, Ridenrain, but you don't know what you are talking about. Read some history before commenting, instead of relying on decades-old Tory whines.

    Lester Pearson, not Trudeau, made these changes.

    Trudeau increased military spending to record high peacetime levels. And he do so using a tried and true conservative approach (tried and tested by Reagan and Bush and Harper): increase military spending by going into big time debt , foist today's security onto the next generation.

    This is a silly move by Harper, a backstep in our independence as a full-grown and independent nation. But it is even sillier to make a big deal about it in opposition. It just doesn't really matter.

    By Blogger Ted Betts, at 10:03 AM  

  • Yes, Pearson was the republican.

    Funnily enough, it was actually Trudeau who entrenched the monarchy by putting a 10-province amending formula on it. The Monarchist League should be drinking a toast to him and Richard Hatfield (who insisted on it) every year.

    Re Trudeau and the military, though, does that take into account inflation and GDP growth? Compare the force capabilities in 1968 and 1984, and it's hard to say that PET was a friend to the military...

    By Blogger Ben (The Tiger on Politics), at 6:38 PM  

  • This "royal" thing is the last straw!!!

    The Libbers and Dippers must unite and merge to oppose this insult to Canadian nationalism, and Quebec nationalism too.

    This "royal" thing will polarize the country and the opposition must be united in opposition.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:13 PM  

  • Maybe this goes with the royal pounding that Libya's taking right now. Who will be next?

    Anon Deux

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6:43 AM  

  • Forty or fifty years ago maybe Canada needed to create some symbolic distance from Britain by dropping the "Royal."

    But now we're all grown up. We don't need to do that anymore.

    Acknowledging our history through adding the "Royal" adjective makes sense.

    Besides, it gives the navy and airforce much classier names.

    P.S. It would be richly entertaining to see the Liberals or NDP try to use this as a wedge issue. But I don't think even the dippers are that stupid.

    By Blogger Brian Henry, at 9:41 AM  

  • Besides, it gives the navy and airforce much classier names.

    To a monarchist, sure. Maybe Brian thinks the US Military would also be "much classier!" with 'Royal' and a monarch added.

    Like you CG, I'm a ditch-the-monarchy-tout-de-suite republican kind of guy, and I feel annoyed at a regressive stab at bonding with the "mother country", but - meh. It's just not that big a deal.

    If colonialist monarchist empire-lovers get some jollies off this, I say -- give it to them.

    By Blogger Jacques Beau Vert, at 1:04 PM  

  • This comment has been removed by the author.

    By Blogger Jacques Beau Vert, at 1:12 PM  

  • By the way...

    "Bob Butt, spokesman for the Royal Canadian Legion. “The fund would be better used to equip our sailors, soldiers and airmen.”


    Anyone (hi, Brian Henry) who thinks "this is such a cool idea" might consider what the money could be better used for.

    No fiscal conservative (like myself) can possibly justify this. It may be a "minor expense" in the big picture but a lot of veterans and soldiers are also "minor expenses", and more deserving ones, too, than the freaking British Monarchy.

    By Blogger Jacques Beau Vert, at 1:14 PM  

  • Oh double-posted... apologies CG

    By Blogger Jacques Beau Vert, at 1:15 PM  

  • just one administration overturning the actions of the previous so that nothing is done, but our money is all spent

    Robert that's BRILLIANT!! I'll vote for any candidate who says so on camera! Haha

    By Blogger Jacques Beau Vert, at 1:31 PM  

  • Abolish the monarchy in Canada. Now!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3:27 PM  

  • As a serving member of the now RCN, I whole-heartily support this move. Our institution was the one most effected by the silly move by Paul Hellyer and Bob Lee. (if you don't know who they are then you have no idea why the RCN was so po'd at the unification move). Integration was a logical move started by the Diefenbaker government and was supported by the RCN, RCAF, and Canadian Army but Hellyers final gambit was a pure political move by Hellyer to look "Progressive" in his run-up to the liberal leadership convention. Then the jack-ass left the mess at DND for others to clean up.
    It is the outrage from some in the liberal/NDP, republican and Quebec sovereignty camps that I find amusing. Most of you folks couldn't tell the difference between a frigate and an AOR and are likely surprised that we even have a Navy and you are all outraged by a Name!?!? You crack me up. So when do you start the campaign to get rid of the Royal in the RCMP?
    Have a great RCN day!

    By Anonymous Don M, at 11:33 PM  

  • I keep reading about people pissed off with "all the outrage" over this small dumb move by Harper. I keep looking for this outrage myself. I'm re-reading the comments here and all I see is a bunch of people noting it's a dumb or silly backstep in our independence as a sovereign nation (which it is), but not a big deal and not worth fighting over.

    Some people just have such a pent up anger and almost a need to feel outraged that they need to make stuff up to be outraged about, I guess.

    Just another example of Harper moving us into the past instead of the future. But only a small example of it designed to tap into that anger for the sake of anger.

    By Blogger Ted Betts, at 12:54 PM  

  • Pretty effective data, thank you for this post.

    By Anonymous, at 8:47 AM  

  • By Blogger, at 2:47 AM  

  • By Blogger chenlina, at 9:45 PM  

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