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.

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