Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Tradition or Squirrel?

I had a running argument on twitter with http://twitter.com/pmlagasse about the new effort by the Harper government to bring back more Royal stuff to smother the Canadian army in tradition.  Phil likes it because it reminds people that the Crown is the fount of all that is Canadian, more or less.  I dislike it because Harper is trying to re-define Canada's identity away from multilculturalism.  Identity politics can be fun, but I tend to worry that efforts to change the status quo often do not ponder the implications very far.  I also hate it when Conservatives are anything but conservative--proposing change almost for the sake of change but definitely not being conservative about change.

The fun part was watching a pair of Ottawa friends, including one who is a reservist with much CF experience, take on Phil last night and this morning, pointing out, among other things, that the old traditional symbols have a history that includes being unkind to women, gays, minorities and so on That was not really my point, particularly since I don't know much Canadian history.  I just think this is a poor time to be revising the various symbols when the military is facing pretty sharp and pretty thought-less cuts.  Sure, the military could stand some cuts, but how about some real choices?  Nope, let's just bring back some old symbols.

Oh, and my favorite part is renaming the various areas of responsibility in Canada from Land Force x Area  (which always seemed a bit long and less than thrilling legacy of unification) to Canadian Division x.  Which would be fine, since the old Canadian divisions have a heap of history.  BUT the fun part is that a division usually has between 10k and 20k soldiers and there are 20k soldiers in the Canadian Army, which means that having five or so divisions listed is just a wee bit deceptive.

So, I am just tired of this royally flavored bit of distraction sauce.  Some other time I will have to take more seriously the identity debate in Canada.

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