Reverse chill - the leadership of the Navy put on the defensive. This is very good news for our campaign:
OTTAWA – The head of Canada’s navy says he never squashed efforts by former sailors to rename the naval forces the Royal Canadian Navy.
Canada’s navy is officially called Maritime Command, but some former sailors had hoped the government would change its name back to the Royal Canadian Navy during its centennial celebration this year.
“Vice-Admiral Dean McFadden, chief of the maritime staff, has not provided any direction to the Naval Officers Association Canada (NOAC) regarding the proposed named change for Maritime Command,” said Jennifer Eckersley, a spokeswoman with the Department of National Defence.
But senators heard conflicting testimony Monday that suggested the navy had told NOAC not to campaign for the royal designation.
“The navy has sort of said to the Naval Officers' Association of Canada: Do not push it. We have bigger fish to fry and we do not want to get everybody upset about something that we can live without,” retired Comdr. Chris Thain, the association’s Winnipeg branch president, testified.
“The message that was passed down to us sitting around the table at national meetings was: Please don’t (push for the designation). We are trying to support what the navy wants,” Thain told QMI Agency Tuesday. “They didn’t want to cause a controversy.”
Thain said he “wouldn’t mind” going back to the Royal Canadian Navy, but he knows many Second World War vets would love to see the name come back.
Canadian Forces spokesman Capt. Dave Scanlon said the navy had passed “no such direction” to the NAOC, which is outside its chain of command.
“The navy is not empowered to pass to such direction down, nor would it try to,” he said, adding that at present, the navy’s focus “is on building ships.”