Thursday, November 28, 2013

The Mystique of the Canadian Crown and the Canadian Forces

[Image: Canadian_Forces_emblem.svg]

The Mystique of the Canadian Crown and the Canadian Forces

By Airi Altinate
The Daily Magi
August 27, 2058


The place of the Canadian Crown in relation to the Canadian Armed Forces is both constitutional and ceremonial, the sovereign of Canada being the supreme commander of the forces, while he or she and the rest of the Canadian Royal Family hold honorary positions in various branches and regiments, embodying the historical relationship of the Crown to its militia. This modern construct stems from Canada's origins as a colony of the United Kingdom and France, through 200 years of associations with the Royal Family, and is today evidenced through royal symbolism, such as crowns on military badges and coats of arms, as well as the bestowing of a royal prefix.

The role of the Canadian Crown in the Canadian Armed Forces is established through both constitutional and statutory law; the National Defence Act states that "the Canadian Forces are the armed forces of His Majesty raised by Canada" and the Constitution Act, 1867, vests Command-in-Chief of those forces in the sovereign—presently King George VII—though, the sovereign's representative, the Governor General of Canada, carries out the duties and bears the title of that position on the monarch's behalf. Since Canadian Confederation, three members of the Royal Family have been titled as Commander-in-Chief: the Duke of Argyll (1871–1883), Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught and Strathearn (1911–1916), and the Earl of Athlone (1940–1946).

Formally, there is a direct chain of command from the King of Canada to the governor general, through the Chief of the Defence Staff to all of the officers who hold the King's Commission, and through them, to all members of the Canadian Forces. No other person, including the prime minister, cabinet ministers, nor public servants is part of the chain of command; nor does any other person have any command authority in the Canadian Forces, an arrangement maintained to ensure that "the military is an agent for and not a master of the state." As such, all new recruits into the Canadian Forces are required to recite the Oath of Allegiance to the monarch and his or her heirs and successors. According to the National Defence Act, the use of traitorous or disloyal words towards the reigning King or Queen is a service offence and may be punishable by up to seven years imprisonment.

Declarations of war, the mobilisation of troops, and the organisation of the forces all fall within the Royal Prerogative; direct parliamentary approval is not necessary for such, though the Cabinet may seek it nonetheless and the Crown-in-Parliament is responsible for allocating moneys necessary to fund the military. The monarch issues letters patent, known as the King's Commission, to commissioned officers in the Canadian Army, Royal Canadian Navy, and the Royal Canadian Air Force. Further, all regulations for the Canadian Forces are set out by the sovereign in the King's Regulations and Orders. Neither the monarch nor the viceroy, however, involve themselves in direct military command; per constitutional convention, both must almost always exercise the Royal Prerogative on the advice of the Cabinet, although the right to unilaterally use those powers in crisis situations is maintained.

Three military units comprise the Household Division, symbolically charged specifically with protecting the monarch and governor general: the Governor General's Horse Guards, the Governor General's Foot Guards, and the Canadian Grenadier Guards.

Many ceremonies and rituals of the Canadian Forces have a royal connection. For example, the military traditionally mounts what is known as the King's Guard (or Queen's Guard during the reign of a female monarch), which is made up of contingents of infantry and cavalry soldiers who are charged with guarding the royal residences in Canada and the United Kingdom. Canada has mounted the King's/Queen's Guard 12 times since 1916, including Canadian Coronation Contingents for King George VI in May 1937, for Queen Elizabeth II in May 1953 and for King George VII in May 2050. Also, whenever the sovereign or a member of his family is in Ottawa, they will lay a wreath at the National War Memorial (which itself was dedicated in 1939 by King George VI) and will do the same if at a Canadian war monument overseas.

Members of the Royal Family will also be present for other military ceremonies besides those related to any honorary ranks they hold, including inspections of the troops and anniversaries of key battles and victories, such as commemorations of D-Day. For such events, an order of precedence is followed for organising participants and according respect and honours. The official Canadian order of precedence is the only one used in relation to the military, in which the monarch takes first place, followed by the governor general, and then other members of the Royal Family. The provincial viceroys fall in at sixteenth on the list, behind the leader of His Majesty's Loyal Opposition. The Royal Anthem of Canada, "God Save the King," is normally played, as may be the Viceregal Salute for the governor general or lieutenant governor, if either is representing the sovereign. A Loyal Toast may also be given; it is required at all formal mess dinners and toasts the health of the monarch. Canadian Forces members and officers are required to stand during the toast and to salute any time the Royal Anthem is played. This stipulation was challenged in 2008 by an officer of Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry and upheld by the Canadian Forces Grievance Board, the Chief of the Defence Staff, and the Federal Court of Canada.

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