Thursday, August 25, 2011

We are immensely grateful and extremely flattered by your kind and generous praise

And I do mean we -- for Padre Gregory Benton, a former chaplain with the Royal Regiment of Canada, deserves equal credit for this victory, yet has received precious little recognition for his efforts. If I was the public face, he toiled in private as chief strategist, as film producer, as architect of He wrote the words "Why We Are Here", he produced 'Royal Canadians', 'Voices' and 'The Honour Restored'. He cashed in his chits to recruit such eminents as Bob Dale and Astronaut Chris Hadfield. He wrote to our beloved 'Mr. Veteran', Cliff Chadderton, etc. He deserves enormous credit, and for any praise I received personally, I share with him equally and openly. Unfortunately, as a result of a serious illness, he was unable to attend the event with me in Halifax. Please know that both of us are humbled in this triumph by the hundreds of letters received from you in the days since the announcement, a small snapshot of which we include below:

I want to salute two individuals who were able to join us here this morning. Michael Smith, a retired sailor, spearheaded a campaign to restore the royal designations that gained the support of thousands of Canadians. And Senator Joe Day, himself a former member of the Royal Canadian Air Force, has been vocal in his support for this measure. Thank you both for your efforts and presence here today.

- The Honourable Peter MacKay, Minister of National Defence

Hi Michael: A hearty well done to you and Gregory and others for not giving up. Ready Aye Ready! Per Adua Ad Astra!

- MP Laurie Hawn, Wing Commander (Ret'd) and former Associate Minister of National Defence and early sponsor of our campaign. Laurie Hawn was the first Canadian qualified to fly CF-18s

Michael: A great day. You should be very proud of your role in restoring a critical element of our identity. BZ!

- Vice-Admiral Paul Maddison, Commander of the Royal Canadian Navy

Congratulations and good wishes to Michael Smith the founder and moving spirit of "Restore the Honour," which spearheaded the effort culiminating in today's good news. Michael's campaign has been long, arduous and hard-fought. He deserves enormous credit for harnessing opinion favourable to the restoration amongst members of the RCN, veterans, the public and officials in Ottawa.

- Robert Finch, Dominion Chairman, Monarchist League of Canada

Mr. Smith: Thank you.

- John Fraser, Master of Massey College, University of Toronto

Congratulations, Mr. Smith, on your success at returning us to colonial status.

- Jack Granatstein, distinguished military historian, Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada

Michael: Congratulations to you. Many heroes are looking down on you and your colleagues as the heroes of this important battle, one that they could not fight directly here on the Earth at this time. But their souls did fight through heroes like you.

- George DeWolf Shaw, nephew and godson of Admiral Harry DeWolf

Dear Mr. Smith, I was delighted to hear of the reinstatement of the proud names of Royal Canadian to the Navy and the Air Force. I served as a Nursing Sister in the Navy and I know of the pride of those who served in the R.C.N. Then I married into a Naval family. Thank you for your tireless effort.

- Dene Mainguy, daughter-in-law to Admiral Rollo Mainguy

When the RCN was abolished the 1.3 million living Canadians whose fathers, grandfathers, uncles,cousins, and brothers served and won the Battle of the Atlantic were disenfranchised. Now they can once again proudly claim this inheritance and pass on to succeeding generations the stories and exploits of the RCN, the RCN(R) and the RCNVR. All Canadians owe a debt of thanks to Michael Smith for his leadership in keeping this item on the agenda for the past number of years.

- John Jay, Chairman of the Canadian Naval Memorial Trust

You have much to be proud of in your own multi-year campaign to see the honour of Her Majesty's Canadian Forces restored. I don't believe it would have come about without your persistence and faith in the final outcome. My own role was a brief bit-part, one I was nonetheless proud to play.

- Dr. Christopher McCreery, Author, Historian and Canadian Authority on "Honours and Titles"

Mr. Smith: I would like to thank you from the bottom of my heart for your leadership in this matter. (As as former Flight Lieutenant Navigator in the RCAF, I am just tickled pink about this change.) As result of your leadership, I used the e-mail address book of our Ottawa Branch of the Monarchist League to send out mass mailings urging our members to support your lead in this matter. On behalf of all of our 360 members, therefore, may I thank you again.

- Allan E. Jones, Chairman Ottawa Branch, Monarchist League of Canada.


- Peter C. Newman, nationally celebrated author and journalist, Honourary Captain of the Royal Canadian Navy

Sir, We are most gratified with your leadership and conviction in returning our historic and honoured name to Canada's navy. Bravo Zulu !

- J. Gaylord Kingston, President, Atlantic Chief & Petty Officers Association


- Judge John Maher, Provincial Court of Alberta

Dear Mr. Smith...Tell you the truth, I was myself utterly amazed you pulled it off...God bless you for all you have done!

- David Warren, Columnist for the Ottawa Citizen

Congratulations on your victory. I think it a setback and a retrograde step, and I will continue to encourage Canadians to stand on their own Canadian feet.

- Jeffrey Simpson, Columnist for the Globe and Mail

Congrats on your superb accomplishment. Wouldn't have happened without your initiative, even tho' PM Harper was forecasting the move as far back as 2003, when I was Exec Director of the Air Force Assn. Your endevours made it a reality!

- Bob Tracy, Dodo Bird Club of retired RCAF Flight Sergeants

Michael, Well done.

- Brian Hodgson, Sergeant-at-Arms of the Legislative Assembly of Alberta

You are one of the few intrepid men in history who ever managed to "turn the clock back" to its proper time... A breathtaking achievement, and one that I thought was probably unattainable... May the RCN and RCAF be impregnable fortresses from this day forward, whatever the tint of future governments -- and may your perseverance be long remembered and recognized.

- Stephen Klimczuk, Senior Advisor to A.T. Kearney, Fellow at Oxford University's Saïd Business School and past Director of the World Economic Forum

Dear Michael, Congratulations and well done for all your efforts that have been so successfully fulfilled today by the restoriation of the Royal Canadian Navy, the Canadian Army and the Royal Canadian Air Force. Admiral Landymore and his colleagues would have been very happy and proud today.

- Gary Toffoli, Executive Director, Canadian Royal Heritage Trust

Dear Mr. Smith: It is my pleasure to extend my respect and admiration for your tireless efforts to restore the historic designations of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) as the Royal Canadian Navy, the Royal Canadian Air Force and the Canadian Army.

- The Right Honourable Stephen Harper, Prime Minister of Canada

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The Petition moves along...

May 1: Laurie Hawn, M.P. agrees to support petition
April 30: Sent draft petition to The Dominion Institute to seek their sponsorship
April 28: Sent draft petition to Captain(N) Pickingford, Project Manager, Canadian Navy Centennial Project
April 27: Sent petition to Blaine Barker of the Royal Canadian Naval Association and Bob Nixon of the Naval Officer's Association of Canada and Peter Dawe, Executive Director of the RMC Club
April 26: The Monarchist League of Canada members are supportive
April 25: Interesting - even heated - debate over at the Navy, Army, Air Force Forum, where the "Yeas" have it by a two-thirds majority.