Over the past decade we have noticed a rampant increase in the number of people who are wearing their orders, decorations and medals incorrectly. The cadre of people who flagrantly violate the official rules on how you are supposed to wear your medals ranges from the average veteran right up to current and former Governors General. Indeed, there is much evidence to suggest that the higher the rank of the individual the more likely they are to just wear whatever they want, however they want. We like to think of this as “Instant Dictator Syndrome” or self-aggrandizement at its most obvious.
Why do people wear their medals incorrectly? Often it is because they simply do not know any better. If you are one of these people you should consult WEARING ORDERS, DECORATIONS AND MEDALS which is available from the Chancellery of Honours at Rideau Hall. This guide will help you figure out how you are supposed to wear your officially granted orders, decorations and medals.
When it comes to wearing your medals incorrectly the worst offenders tend to be former Governors General, Lieutenant Governors and retired Generals. When these people – all in authority and all surrounded by staff who know better – wear their medals wrong they are obviously suffering from the dreaded Instant Dictator Syndrome. The attitude accompanied with this most severe condition is “the more medals I wear the more important I will look.”
This simple blog is aimed at revealing the myriad of fellow Canadians who cannot seem to wear their medals correctly.
Tuesday, February 2, 2021
Thursday, December 5, 2019
It is unfortunate that our Commander-in-Chief thinks that the lowly Canadian Forces Decoration (the C.D.), which rank and file members of the Canadian Armed Forces earn and wear with pride, is not worthy of being worn for an important national event like the Speech from the Throne. Does Her Excellency not like the red and white ribbon in the colour of our national flag or the gold coloured multi-sided disc? Why has the poor C.D., been relegated to a sock drawer at Rideau Hall for today's ceremony?
|The Canadian Forces Decoration|
Good enough for members of the Canadian Armed Forces
but not good enough for
Julie Payette, CC, CMM, COM, CQ,
In advance of today's event in Ottawa we received more than thirty emails speculating on just what newfangled manner Her Excellency the Right Honourable Julie Payette, would find to wear her gongs... well she has opted for a rather lazy approach, one that is disrespectful to members of the Canadian Armed Forces. Her Excellency has adopted the "jewellery method" of wearing medals. The Jewellery Method demands that you simply "wear whatever looks nice," as opposed to following the rules so clearly defined by the Office of the Governor General.
|Governor General Payette & her first speech from the throne,|
medals all wrong again. It's clear she just doesn't care about the rules.
|Exceedingly rare photo!Governor General Payette in a rare moment of|
almost following the rules.
To the right above we have an exceedingly rare photo showing Governor General Payette wearing her medals ALMOST correctly. She just needed to shorten her Order of Canada ribbon and all would have been fine (or put her C.C. on a bow). Is it really too much someone who gets two free houses, staff, travel and more than $300,000 a year to follow the rules that her office is suppose to uphold and regulate?
Despite this snub to the CAF it could have been worse. The Governor General could have decided to wear her NASA Medals!
Surprisingly few Remembrance Day 2019 offences reported, so no posting was required this year.
Friday, August 2, 2019
First let us address the mystery red sash. What is it? Has Rohmer been made a Grand Cross of the Legion d’Honneur or a Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath or a Knight Grand Commander of the New Zealand Order of Merit– it is none of these as they are worn over the right shoulder and not the left. A search of the Canada Gazette, where all authorized foreign decorations and orders are listed when they are properly awarded to Canadians, fails to reveal that Rohmer has been awarded anything new. Could it be that as an honorary Lieutenant General, Rohmer has decided that he can wear an CAF Infantry Sash over the left shoulder given his years of service in the CAF?
Now let us examine Rohmer’s impressive group of mounted medals.
|Rohmer's mounted group of medals.|
|The Toronto EMS Long Service Medal|
Then there is the badge on the pocket that Rohmer is wearing above his Order of St. John breast star. There is the Minister of Veterans Affairs Commendation, and RCAF Ops Wings which are all legitimate and authorized, and then the mystery oval pin. It looks like some sort of Ontario awards with a white trillium – 75 years of safe driving of a motor vehicle? 75 years of residency in Ontario? The award for not picking trilliums in Ontario? Just what is this mystery badge?
All this is written fully expecting a number of irate emails from readers chastising us for DARING to question such a notable and well regarded veteran. Well even the highly accomplished and high ranking are open for criticism if they break the rules the rest of the Canadian public are supposed to follow.
This is all best left to Rohmer himself. In a January 2019 article carried in Zoomer Magazine. Rohmer notes “I’m the most highly decorated citizen in the country. It takes me 20 minutes to put the medals and decorations on.” Well aside from the grandness of the statement (one would never expect to hear the great Canadian exemplar of medal wearing, Major General George Pearkes, VC, PC, CC, CB, DSO, KStJ, MC, CD, CdeG, to utter such a phrase), I think you get the general idea (pardon the pun) that the General knows exactly what he is doing when he puts on a uniform – be it is RCAF, Ontario Provincial Police or Toronto EMS uniforms.
Sunday, July 28, 2019
|UN Korea War Medal|
One can only imagine what the King of Sweden, Carl XVI Gustaf, who knows a thing or two about medals, thought of the Canadian university administrator parading around with a lone medal he could not have possibly earned. Not exactly an effective way of looking "important" in a auditorium filled with a few Heads of State and some of the most highly honoured/decorated people in the world. Perhaps a university scarf of jersey would have been a more effective way of announcing the crowd "look at me, I'm important too."
You really shouldn't wear medals you didn't earn, even if you're putting them on the right hand side of your jacket.
|Lieutenant Governor Molloy at his Installation. |
OC worn "Olympic Style"
|The Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia. Great at wearing medals.|
But... what's with the Presidential Salute?
Thursday, September 27, 2018
We have been sent several pictures, although the clearest one is shown here. This was sent to us by three different blog followers. In the image below you can see Her Excellency wearing two NASA Medals -- this photo is also on the TwitterFeed of the Global Affairs Canada Protocol Chief.
|The Governor General wearing TWO NASA medals; May 2018.|
The NASA Exceptional Service Medal and the NASA Space Flight Medal
|NASA Exceptional Service Medal|
|NASA Space Flight Medal|
So what is the problem with the Governor General wearing NASA Medals? Well, the rules set out by the Government of Canada for the wearing of orders, decorations and medals, both Canadian and foreign (through Order in Council 1998-591) clearly state in section 4 “Foreign orders, decorations and medals the award of which is approved by the Government of Canada are worn after the orders, decorations and medals referred to in sections 1 and 3,....”
A search of the Canada Gazette which lists the approval of such awards revealed Canada has never approved any NASA medals for anyone, not even Governor General Payette. Added to this fact is that like the frequently awarded US Commendation Medals, NASA Medals are not “national” awards from the USA, they are awarded by a government agency – they have a total of 16 awards for NASA alone.
What a strange situation to have the Governor General violating the rules she is supposed to uphold. It's a bit sad she thinks NASA Medals are more important than the Order of Canada, the Order of Military Merit or any other part of the Canadian honours system. Its all a bit more than just wearing the "wrong decoration" its in essence wearing an illegal pair of medals... but we wouldn't want to be accused of being fussbudgets. It is after all just the Governor General breaking a regulation set out by an Order-in-Council.
Wednesday, September 26, 2018
Perhaps an informed reader can fill us in on just what the various ribbons are. The fellow pictured here is wearing the Order of St. John, the 2012 Jubilee Medal, the Police Exemplary service Medal, the Alberta Centennial Medal, two of the mystery Alberta Protective Services Medals (both not approved for wear), then AMAZINGLY the Northwest Canada Medal 1885, for fighting against the Riel Resistance/Rebellion (or is it the Royal Red Cross?), then what looks to be the Royal Canadian Humane Association Bravery Medal and the Buganda Order of the Happy Republic? So more than half of this guys group of medals are entirely unapproved and essentially make believe.
|Name that ribbon!|
|So many pretty colours... |
what do they all mean?!
|At least the two guys in the middle of the back row are following the rules.|
UPDATE: We have received a number of comments/emails, and even the link to a guide published by the Alberta Fire Commissioner related to the wearing of the various Alberta and municipal medals.
The Alberta Emergency Services Medal has not been approved by the Governor General/ Government of Canada, nor has it been approved for wear alongside official national honours. If it had been approved it would be on the Governor General's website list and it is not.
There are only two Alberta related medals approved for wear -- despite the bizarre fantasy set out by the Alberta Fire Commissioners's "Guidelines." The medals approved for wear on the left side along with official national honours are:
1) the Alberta Order of Excellence;
2) the Alberta Centennial Medal.
If the medal does not appear on the list of Orders, Decorations and Medals approved by the Chancellery of Honours, via a Federal Order in Council, then you CANNOT wear it not he left hand side along with official Orders, Decorations and Medals. It doesn't matter what the Alberta Fire Commissioner writes in a guide or proclaims when it comes to the wearing of honours on the left side. For things worn on the right side of a Firefighter's uniform in Albert then of course the Fire Commissioner can make up whatever rules he or she likes, just not for the left side where official honours are worn.
Just because something which is incorrect and in violation of an Order in Council is published as a PDF online doesn't make it correct, right or legal. It is a bit bizarre to have the Alberta Fire Commissioner openly violating a Federal Order in Council; 1998-591 in this case, the Canadian Orders, Decorations and Medals Directive.