Senator Duffy is a colleague in arms:
A motion in the Senate that would alter the name of Canadian Forces Maritime Command to “Canadian Navy” represents a half measure. If there is a case to honour “the long service, sacrifice and courage of Canadian Naval forces and personnel” during its centennial year, as Senator Bill Rompkey asserts, then the appropriate way would be to restore the proper form, Royal Canadian Navy.
Mr. Rompkey, a Liberal, tied himself in rhetorical knots when speaking to his motion. He celebrated the wartime achievements of the RCN, and hailed it as a “major national institution” whose symbols and traditions, representative of a “long and distinguished legacy of service,” were cast away with armed forces unification. However, he then proceeded to say he would not fully restore what was taken, suggesting this would somehow harm the service’s post-1968 heritage. By applying Mr. Rompkey’s logic, the name Maritime Command should simply be retained.
Senator Mike Duffy, a Conservative, is frustrated by the timidity of the Senate motion. He says the restoration of the RCN could be readily achieved by a ministerial order, at little or no cost, and would be a “small but significant salute to the navy for all they have done over the past 100 years. Why would we deny this small but important sign of respect?” It is a very good question that should be directed at Mr. Duffy’s colleague, the Minister of National Defence, Peter MacKay.
The apparent fright over the use of “royal” is peculiar, given that Maritime Command has retained the HMCS designation for Canadian warships and that the Royal Canadian Sea Cadets are allowed the honour of a traditional designation. Moreover, such patronage has remained relevant for Commonwealth allies like Australia and New Zealand.
The Queen visits Halifax later this month to honour the centenary of Canada’s navy, its veterans and serving members. It’s an ideal time to celebrate Canada’s proud naval heritage by restoring the service’s proper name, Royal Canadian Navy.