12 September 2005
The Royal Canadian Legion
OTTAWA – The recent appointment of the Governor General of Canada has caused considerable controversy. Apparently the government of Canada was not concerned that the designated appointee was a citizen of France as well as Canada and that she was known to have had a perceived relationship with separatists. But, this view was not supported by many Canadians. In particular the veterans and members of The Royal Canadian Legion feared that Madame Jean’s loyalties were divided and that she would not properly represent veterans as the potential Patron of the Legion.
However, when Her Majesty the Queen of Canada accepted Madame Jean as the Governor General designate, the Executive of the Legion dropped their opposition to the appointment in loyalty to Her Majesty. The Legion holds the Royal Charter and is sworn to allegiance to the Queen of Canada. As such it must accept Her duly appointed representative in Canada. In respect of that obligation, and in keeping with the tradition of the Legion, the Legion Executive will request the Queens representative to stand as the organizations Patron.
The Legion also regrets that calls have been made by some veterans and disgruntled citizens for veterans on parade at the upcoming 11 November Remembrance Ceremony at the National War Memorial in Ottawa to turn their backs on the Governor General when she takes the dais for the Royal Salute on her arrival and when she lays her wreath. Such action would be a disgrace and an offence to Her Majesty as well as to the memory of our fallen veterans.
The intent of the National Remembrance Day Ceremony is for people to pay their respects to Canada’s war dead, not to protest an appointment initiated by the Government of Canada regardless of how unacceptable it may be to some people. To turn ones back to the Governor General is to turn ones back on all that the office stands for and defiles the memory of the dead and the country for which they fought. The Royal Canadian Legion believes individual protest is a right for which our veterans fought, but it also firmly believes that there is a time and a place for protest and the National Remembrance Ceremony is not one of them.
The Royal Canadian Legion has been the voice of Canada’s veterans through thick and thin and has been the major catalyst that has driven the governments of the day to take appropriate care of those who have given their all for this nation. Its history is one of unstinting service to veterans, the continual perpetuation of remembrance of those who could not return and service to all those who need assistance in our communities. It is a Royal organization which carries the crown of the Queen on its badge. Its loyalty is to the Queen of Canada, and respect for her appointed Commander-in-Chief.
The current opposition to the appointment of Madame Jean as the Governor General of Canada is reminiscent of the Legions opposition to the flag of Canada which now flies with pride all over the world. The Legion opposed it, and vehemently I might add, but when it was adopted and run up the pole as our official symbol of nationhood, we and our veterans saluted it. We did not turn our backs on it. We had no choice then and we have no choice now.
Madame Jean will become the Governor General of Canada on 27 September, 2005. Of that there is no doubt. But whether we agree or not, it behoves us all as Canadians to respect the position and what it represents in our Constitutional Monarchy.
Questions on Madame Jean’s credentials to hold the title may linger, and many will criticize the process by which she was appointed, but the duly elected officers of the Legion are confident that she will carry out her duties consistent with her oath of loyalty to the Queen of Canada.
For further information please contact Bruce Poulin at Dominion Command, The Royal Canadian Legion, at (613) 591-3335 ext. 241 or by cell at (613) 292-8760.
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