Sixty Joyless De-Britished Uncrowned Commonpoor Years (1949-2009)

Elizabeth II Vice-Regal Saint: Remembering Paul Comtois (1895–1966), Lt.-Governor of Québec
Britannic Inheritance: Britain's proud legacy. What legacy will America leave?
English Debate: Daniel Hannan revels in making mince meat of Gordon Brown
Crazy Canucks: British MP banned from Canada on national security grounds
Happy St. Patrick's: Will Ireland ever return to the Commonwealth?
Voyage Through the Commonwealth: World cruise around the faded bits of pink.
No Queen for the Green: The Green Party of Canada votes to dispense with monarchy.
"Sir Edward Kennedy": The Queen has awarded the senator an honorary Knighthood.
President Obama: Hates Britain, but is keen to meet the Queen?
The Princess Royal: Princess Anne "outstanding" in Australia.
H.M.S. Victory: In 1744, 1000 sailors went down with a cargo of gold.
Queen's Commonwealth: Britain is letting the Commonwealth die.
Justice Kirby: His support for monarchy almost lost him appointment to High Court
Royal Military Academy: Sandhurst abolishes the Apostles' Creed.
Air Marshal Alec Maisner, R.I.P. Half Polish, half German and 100% British.
Cherie Blair: Not a vain, self regarding, shallow thinking viper after all.
Harry Potter: Celebrated rich kid thinks the Royals should not be celebrated
The Royal Jelly: A new king has been coronated, and his subjects are in a merry mood
Victoria Cross: Australian TROOPER MARK DONALDSON awarded the VC
Godless Buses: Royal Navy veteran, Ron Heather, refuses to drive his bus
Labour's Class War: To expunge those with the slightest pretensions to gentility
100 Top English Novels of All Time: The Essential Fictional Library
BIG BEN: Celebrating 150 Years of the Clock Tower

Tuesday, 24 April 2007

Petition to reinstate the Royal Canadian Navy and the Royal Canadian Air Force

Please note that the following draft petition is a petition to resume usage of the Royal designation only, and is not intended to disrupt in any way the corporate unity of the Canadian Forces.


We, the undersigned citizens and residents of Canada, and loyal subjects of Her Majesty the Queen of Canada, draw the attention of the House to the following:

WHEREAS the Naval Service Act received Royal Assent on May 4, 1910, and the Canadian navy will commemorate and celebrate its centennial in 2010;

AND WHEREAS the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) was the navy of Canada until 1968 when the three Canadian armed services were unified to form the Canadian Forces, and the modern Canadian navy has been known as Canadian Forces Maritime Command since unification, but still refers to itself unofficially as the "navy" and maintains many RCN traditions;

AND WHEREAS Command-in-Chief of the Canadian Forces is vested in the Canadian Monarch and ships of the Canadian Forces continue to be called "Her/His Majesty's Canadian Ship";

AND WHEREAS it is currently improper to use the expression "Royal Canadian Navy" and its abbreviation "RCN" in references to the Canadian navy after February 1, 1968;

AND WHEREAS the Royal designation of the Canadian Navy was executed by a Royal Proclamation which has never been revoked, and that the Canadian Government and the Canadian Forces are required to resume usage of the expression “Royal Canadian Navy”, if the expression “Canadian Navy” is used in any official capacity;

AND WHEREAS the above also pertains to the "Royal Canadian Air Force" and its abbreviation "RCAF" in references to the Canadian air force after unification, which has been known as Canadian Forces Air Command since February 1, 1968, but still refers to itself unofficially as the "air force" and maintains many RCAF traditions;

AND WHEREAS notwithstanding the National Defence Act, which states that "The Canadian Forces are the armed forces of Her Majesty raised by Canada and consist of one Service called the Canadian Armed Forces", separate service uniforms were reintroduced in 1986, separate service chiefs were reinstated and returned to National Defence Headquarters in 1997, separate service websites were officially established and references to the separate services are now commonplace throughout the increasingly tri-service Canadian Forces, all of which have been accommodated without in any way compromising the unified command structure, integrated nature or corporate unity of the Canadian Forces;

AND WHEREAS resuming usage of the Royal designation as it pertains to the "Canadian Navy" and "Canadian Air Force" could be facilitated without in any way undermining the unity of the Canadian Forces acting as a single organization under a unified command structure, and without in any way compromising the integration of military operations, logistics support, personnel and administration of the separate services acting together under the current functional command system, which was the intent of Bill C-243, The Canadian Forces Reorganization Act, which we the petitioners strongly support;

AND WHEREAS resuming usage of such Royal designations could be facilitated without in any way replacing Canadian Forces Maritime Command and Canadian Forces Air Command, whose Chiefs of Staff would continue to exercise nominal command over the navy and air force respectively;

AND WHEREAS resuming usage of such Royal designations could be efficiently accomplished and executed without material cost to Canadian taxpayers;

AND WHEREAS resuming usage of such Royal designations would restore the traditional esprit de corps of the navy and air force, just as continued usage of the Royal designation of longstanding regular force and reserve regiments has preserved the traditional esprit de corps of the army, and just as continued usage of the Royal designation of the longstanding Royal Canadian Mounted Police has preserved the traditional esprit de corps of Canada's federal constabulary force;

NOW THEREFORE, your petitioners call upon Parliament to take whatever action is necessary to officially resume, restore and reinstate usage of such Royal designations in time for the 2010 centennial celebrations of the Canadian navy, such that the Canadian navy is reincorporated as the Royal Canadian Navy and its abbreviated expression RCN, and the Canadian air force is reincorporated as the Royal Canadian Air Force and its abbreviated expression RCAF, and such reincorporation is made retroactive to February 1, 1968.

Cross-posted to The Torch

Progress Updates:
- April 25: Interesting - even heated - debate over at the Navy, Army, Air Force Forum, where the "Yeas" have it by a two-thirds majority.
- April 26: The Monarchist League of Canada members are supportive
- April 27: Canvassed Laurie Hawn, M.P. to sponsor draft petition
- April 28: Sent draft petition to Captain(N) Pickingford, Project Manager, Canadian Navy Centennial Project, Peter Dawe, Executive Director of the RMC Club, Blaine Barker of the Royal Canadian Naval Association and Bob Nixon of the Naval Officer's Association of Canada
- April 29: Sent draft petition to The Dominion Institute to seek their sponsorship


Juan said...

Someone finally brought this up, and I am glad. While I can certainly see the advantages of a unified CF, I feel that the change in name and style all those years ago was pushing it too far, what with the loss of heritage and connection to the past that resulted. At the very least, "Royal Canadian Navy" has a much better ring to it.

Of course, I'm not sure how far this resolution will go, but I tend to be a hopeful person. In any case, it would be interesting to see this pass around next year, 40 years after the reorganization.

However, if we're going to do this, we might as well try to do the same for the army and air force. Can't forget about the grunts and pigeons, can we? ;)

I wonder where one signs...

Matt Bondy said...


Excellent looking petition. (May I ask why redesignating the Air Force as the Royal Canadian Air Force was not similarly included in the petition?)

Would The Monarchist consider putting the effort into creating an image to complement this petition? My thought is this: If you create an image and post the corresponding HTML somewhere prominently on The Monarchist website, all your readers could type the HTML code into their own blogs. The image would be a clickable link, that would direct the person who clicks it to wherever it is in cyberspace that the petition is held. That would be a good way to collect signatures, no?

I, for one, would be thrilled to post such an image prominently on my website and join any other reasonable efforts to see the petition successfully and popularly sent to parliament.

Hope you might have a moment to follow up on this.

For what it's worth, let's look at the context: the blogosphere is filled to the brim with potential to rally sympathetic voices to shared goals. Also, we now have a pro-military government in Ottawa. It should not be forgotten that, at least prior to its merger with the Progressive Conservative Party, the Canadian Alliance (*under Harper*) publically advocated for the redesignation of the Navy as the RCN and the air foce as the RCAF.

I think The Monarchist's leadership on this issue would be a very welcome thing on the blogosphere. Since deunification in 1968, circumstances have never been more in our favour.


Matt Bondy said...

that is, *unification*, not *deunification*, of course.


Kipling said...

Where Do I Sign?

Beaverbrook said...

Signatures will come later on an off-site petition form that will ask for name and address; right now, I'm interested in flushing out this first draft a bit better, and canvassing thoughts to perfect it. As Matt said, The Monarchist is probably best positioned in the blogosphere to shephard this through to success. That I'm a former naval officer is an added bonus I suppose.

Matt is also right about the political timing. This government approved a state funeral for the last Great War veteran and the Red Ensign now flies in perpetuity on Vimy Ridge. I count our chances quite good, considering.

Here's the thing: the Canadian Army was not deprived of its esprit de corps in 1968 because the regimental families stayed in place. For a grunt, regiment is everything - it's your family, be it the PPCLI, RCR, or whatever. The regimental equivalent in the navy and air force was the RCN and RCAF respectively. That was their family, and that yahoo Hellyer murdered it. So we should work in the RCAF here, but nothing needs to be done as far as the army is concerned.

I'm hearing rumours that a small movement is afloat to reinstate the RCN in time for its 100th. The problem is serving personnel are not in a position to petition the government like we are. What we need is an MP to sponsor it (I'm thinking about Hawn here from Edmonton Centre, who is a former CF-18 fighter pilot, but perhaps you could come up with other suggestions) and 25 signatures. I think we should strive for hundreds if not thousands of names. The Dominion Institute was able to attract some 50,000 names for the Great War funeral petition. If we're lucky, and this thing really takes off, we could do same. We have three years until the RCN centennial. Should be no problem.

Splendor Sine Occasu said...

Tell me where to sign, and I'll sign!

Younghusband said...

You mean to say they do NOT refer to the navy as the ROYAL Canadian Navy?!?!?
When did this happen?!?

Scott said...

Go for it. I'd sign in a second.

Matt Bondy said...


Wasn't aware you're RCN (ret'd). I served for a few years in the Essex and Kent Scottish (Reserve). You couldn't be more right - regiment *is* everything.

With a little momentum, I'd be surprised if it wasn't possible to solicit the formal and pro-active support of the Monarchist League of Canada, the Dominion Institute and myriad other loyal societies.

I agree that parliamentary sponsors are important. Would be happy to assist in developing a strategy for that, if you find you'd like some help.

I'll look forward to assisting you in anyway I can, at your discretion.

Three years. Let's make this happen.


Anonymous said...

Absolutely!! It should never have been removed in the first place! I've never been able to understand why they removed the titles RCN and RCAF, especially when there was no need to even with the unification, and yet kept the titles of HMCS before ships? It would be interesting to find out if there was vocal opposition to the removal and this was a compromise? Anyone know? At any rate once that petition is up I'll sign it!

Beaverbrook said...

I've made some additional changes. I think I'll float the idea over at the Monarchist League and see if they would be interested in supporting it.

By the way, only Canadian citizens and residents are eligible to sign the petition, as much as I believe all Commonwealth loyalists have a stake in our shared heritage.

Younghusband: Where have you been over the past 39 years?

Matt Bondy said...


I would be happy to send an email to the Dominion Chairman of the MLC in strong support of the idea. I won't do this until you've notified us that you've floated the idea.

(PS: I believe it was Palmerston that, about a week ago, said The Monarchist would be interested in posting my column on the Anglosphere that ran in the Guelph Mercury on Tuesday, 24 April. I sent the text of the column as it appeared in the Mercury to the Monarchist's email address.)


Anonymous said...

Of what value is esprit de corps to a military force and to what extent has the absence of a separately designated navy and air force diminished such esprit de corps among sailors and airmen? Can you give anecdotal examples of such diminishment and its effects?


Beaverbrook said...

Burton, you need to sit down for a few dinners with the retirees of the Naval Officer's Association of Canada to understand the institutional pride these men had in the old RCN. When the old white ensign came down in 1968 men literally wept, and there were mass resignations when the blues and whites were handed in for the greens. Ask anyone who was around: morale collapsed overnight.

All that of course has dissipated over the years, and things have swung back with the restoration of proper environmental uniforms under Mulroney in the 80s and new ships in the 90s, but there is still some lingering bitterness.

Along with proper equipment, regiment is everything to the military. In the navy, ships are not the equivalent of regiments because sailors move around to different ships a lot, whereas in the army, your regiment is your permanent family and home. Sailors and airmen do not have an institutionally designated permanent home, because that was taken away from them without any substitute to take its place, other than unofficial use of the term "navy". That they are deprived of formally referencing themselves as the "Canadian Navy", is all we are trying to correct with the petition.

Anonymous said...

As a serving officer in the Canadian Navy I support your petition 100 percent. I only wish I could sign it! Please do everything you can to restore the "Royal" to the Canadian Navy. Bravo Zulu to you and all your efforts to make it so.

Rick Gill said...

Beaverbrook said above "Here's the thing: the Canadian Army was not deprived of its esprit de corps in 1968 because the regimental families stayed in place. For a grunt, regiment is everything - it's your family, be it the PPCLI, RCR, or whatever. The regimental equivalent in the navy and air force was the RCN and RCAF respectively." I continue to be a proudly serving member in the Canadian Army. (33 years) Despite my clearly-stated "Army bias", I will say that I have met and gotten to know enough sailors over the years to safely express an opinion that "a ship and all who sail on her" IS a family. Likewise, in the Air Force, the individual squadrons ARE families. I have served for a number of years both at home in Canada and deployed overseas with the Air Force, and in my view, squadrons ARE families. Enough said on that. Where and how (other than in this comment) do I add my name to the many willing to support this very worthy cause? Let's do the right thing.

Anonymous said...


Just eliciting further data. I support this initiative.


Beaverbrook said...

You raise the relevant issue in all of this, Burton, which is where all of the WHEREASes lead to. If I had the time, I would attach a paper to the petition outlining heaps of anecdotal evidence, but alas, that would require a great deal of research. By the way, there are those (a minority) who oppose the move, even within the CF, but they tend to mostly be army types.

I've made some significant changes to the petition. It's starting to look pretty solid. The big issues as I see it are:

1. Is this just a matter of resuming usage of the Royal designation, or do the RCN and RCAF have to be reincorporated in some way.

2. If so, will this require a legislative amendment, or could this be simply done by an Order-in-Council

I'm not a lawyer, so I don't know. But I've framed the petition in a way that makes it clear that we are not asking too much here. Just a name change. That is it.

Matt Bondy said...

Very wise.

Roy Eappen said...

I love the idea of restoring the names of the RCAF,RCN

Kyle said...

I really like the idea of making it retroactive to February 1, 1968. I think that speaks volumes in itself.

Splendor Sine Occasu said...

While they're at it, bring back the executive curl and the RCAF ranks!

Cato, author of said...

The petititon is well written, and the case undeniable. Splendid work Beaverbrook! I only wish I could sign, but alas I am not a Canadian citizen (although if Tony Blair wrecks the British Constitution any further, I might well consider emigrating!)

Beaverbrook said...

Patience, Splendour. One step at a time.

Splendor Sine Occasu said...

Understood, Lord Beaverbrook. I'm just engaging in some wishful thinking!

Though I used to be Militia, I feel that the ditching of the RCAF and RCN in favour of "Air Command" and "Maritime Command", and the ensuing rank structure integration, to be the greatest bureaucratic crime committed against the Canadian military.

Anonymous said...

You might want to try these sites for support, if you haven't already:

Wannabe-Sailor-of-the-Queen said...

I've waited a very long time for something like this to come along. As a former Royal Canadian Sea Cadet I was extremely fortunate to wear one of the last links to the RCN, the RCN pattern square-rig uniform (with Sea Cadet insignia, of course), before it was ripped away and replaced by that god-awful green 'safari' uniform. I didn't know whether to cry or hunt wildebeest.

Beaverbrook, I'd like to correspond with you regarding this petition and your experiences as an advocate for separate service identity while serving in a unified CF. Is there any way to contact you?

Beaverbrook said...

I too was a Royal Canadian Sea Cadet and a Royal Canadian Air Cadet, so this is the culmination of that experience. Please contact me at