Today the Government of Canada has decided to add the word ‘royal’ back in to the official names of the Canadian Air Force and the Canadian Navy. The word Royal was removed in 1968 when the Canadian Forces were amalgamated. The 1960s was also a time in Canadian history when we were trying to move away from our British ties. It was a time of Canadian pride and a change in direction. Canada was starting to align ourselves more with the United States as they began to eclipse Britain as our major trading partner.

Of course this change has garnered both positive and negative resposnes. Those in favour, generally monarchists, love the return of the word ‘royal’ to our Airforce and Navy. They support the monarchy and love anything that expresses our relationship to it. The detractors think we should keep the ‘royal’ out of our armed forces. It is not like the monarchy helps to pay the expenses associated with our military. Peter McKay states the change was made to align us with our Commonwealth countries who have ‘royal’ in their names. I think he is grasping at straws. I think the name change definitely tells us something important and may even be a predictor of things to come with the Harper government.

I really don’t care if we have the word ‘royal’ in front of the names of the various branches of our military. Even before Peter MacKay adding it back in we still had references to royalty for example, ‘Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry’. The fact is we live in a constitutional monarchy and our head of state is the Queen’s representative in Canada. We have the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the Royal Winnipeg Ballet what does it matter if our military has ‘royal’ in the name.

Returning to the past is something conservatives[1] value. They believe that the values of the past are superior to current values. Conservatism, by nature, is a reactionary political belief system. One thing we can expect for sure is very little to no progression on social issues. What will be interesting to see is if they begin to attack and roll back some of the progress the LGTB community has made. I can’t imagine they would try to roll back same-sex marriage. However, they may try to convert our marriages to civil unions or some other name. They won’t be able to take away the legal privileges we have as married couples but they may take the word away from us. After all, if they can add a word why can’t they take one away?

[1] In this I mean small-c conservative. Conservatism is defined by Wikipedia as: is a political and social philosophy that promotes the maintenance of traditional institutions and supports, at the most, minimal and gradual change in society. Some conservatives seek to preserve things as they are, emphasizing stability and continuity, while others oppose modernism and seek a return to the way things were.


One thought on “The Meaning of a Word

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