Saturday, August 20, 2011

The Royal Canadian Navy

We didn't have a Navy before this week.  We had ships.  We had sailors.  But all we had was a Sea Component or a "Maritime Command" of the Canadian Armed Forces.

I first learned of the progressive tinkering of the military that lead to the symbolic defacing of the RCN when I was a teenager.  I was a member of the Royal Canadian Sea Cadets; an institution older than the Navy itself.  When I started, Sea Cadets and Air Cadets had to wear green uniforms.  We had to explain to every new recruit that Canada doesn't have a Navy and so we all had to wear green because yadda yadda... all history now.  It was an awesome day when we were issued black.  Generations before mine had to wear greens and I was lucky enough to be among the first to don traditional Navy black.  Air Cadets got their light blue and the Army Cadets kept the green.  It felt great. 

It always seemed like a crime to me that we Canadians had a Navy and good one, but we had to submit to some progressive naming scheme to call it the Maritime Command or the Sea Element of the CF.  Bull!

I am very proud of my Conservative Government for healing this old wound.

Restoring the Royal Canadian Navy, Royal Canadian Air Force, and Canadian Army was a very excellent move and I thank them.  I'm sure all veterans and active members are equally thankful.

Some might think it's all about "buttons and bows," as the offending Liberal famously said.  It isn't.  The military is an institution that is built on honour and tradition.  I think of our Service men and women as knights.  -Not as they were historically, but how knights always should have been.   They do not steal, rape or kill without cause.  They are the honourable warriors we as a people decide they should be.  They devote themselves to our national will and security under oath to the Queen. 

And then we take away who they are.  Imagine some liberal decided that police are no longer police but Human Rights Engineers?  Imagine if Firefighters were somehow held in contempt by these self-loathing liberals?  How many recruits do you think the lowly Department of Uncontrolled Combustion would score?  Seriously.  What politically correct term would they rename you?

The one valid concern has to do with cost.  Part of the reason to homogenize the armed forces was to cut the bureaucracy and turf wars that came with having separate armed forces.  One only needs to look at the USA for examples of this.
There's Obama climbing out of Marine One.  Marine One is just one of a whole air force of helicopters and Harriers that belong to the United States Maine Corps.  The Marine Corps is the elite army of the United States Navy.  The US Navy also has its own air force that runs off of Aircraft Carriers.  The US Air Force also has its own small army and the US Army also has its own army aviators.   That seems like a lot of duplication if you ask me.

That's not how we do it.  We can use Land Command and Canadian Army interchangeably.  Same with the Navy and Maritime Command etc...  Everyone knows they mean the same thing.  There is no need to pull out signs, change letterheads and most importantly, segregate the operations of each service.   Even so, there is a report that DND has become bloated and top heavy as it is.

Use the new names where convenient, but don't spend an extra dime on these changes.  

Since we are actually acknowledging that we have a Navy again, we may as well return their traditional name.  King George gave them the royal title so why not not fully return the original name while we are at it?  People have become fixated on the word Royal lately and they are missing the point entirely.  Its about having a Navy an Army and an Air Force again.  The Royal is less important but isn't a Royal Navy better than your garden variety Peoples Democratic Banana Republic Navy? Sure it is.  

I hope that I have brought some insight into why this decision needed to be made.   You can tell who is distant from the military by where they fall on this issue.  Even left of center friends of mine who respect the military have grudgingly given this one to the Conservatives.  We've all been waiting for this for most of our lives.


Anonymous said...

Did I understand you correctly? Use the names interchangeably? Or use the names where convenient but don't spend an extra dime on the changes? If so, what was the point? I was the second signatory to the Restore the Honour petition and I can tell you this; a lot of good people put in a hell of pile of energy to return the traditional service names so that they would be honoured, recognised and used instead of the bureaucratic unification nonsense. As a matter of fact, I would like to see far more of the trappings of unification undone. I joined Sea Cadets in 1977 and wore a proper naval uniform. You know, the one that actually looks like a naval uniform with a big wide collar and bell bottoms and worn, in some stripe, by almost every navy in the world. Then, I lost it to the green forerunner of what you wore. Painting the thing black didn't make it a naval uniform. It was simply a stupid looking unification era uniform of a different colour totally unsuitable for a sailor.

Alex said...


We called those dress blues in my day, which is also ancient history.

You also understood me correctly. I'm so very glad those people put the time in to bring back the RCN. I do not think we need to rush out of unification at extra expense. Replace everything at the earliest convenience. A sign has a lifetime. Is this sign a matter of some paint? Well repaint it. If we have to get one expertly carved to look as nice as the old signs than I say we wait until the old signs are fit to be wood chipped... or at least donated to museums.

Thats how I see it and thats how I would do it. I do realize that the spit and polish culture will want it changed yesterday. These are the types who would lovingly chisle their own signs. Do stuff like that.

Just please remember the taxpayer. No extra costs PLEASE!

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