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.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Michaelle Jean, CC, CMM, COM, CD

Excellent work, everything is correct!
While Adrienne Clarkson pioneered new and improper ways to wear orders, decorations and medals her successor Mme. Jean took this creativity to new heights. It is worth noting at the outset that orders and medals are NOT fashion accessories, yet Mme. Jean regularly viewed them as such. There is evidence that she knew how to wear her various insignia correctly, but these instances became quite rare as her tenure as Governor General drew to a close. Here we have a nice picture of Mme. Jean and her husband wearing their insignia correctly.

As the mandate dragged on Lafond almost completely ceased wearing his Order of Canada, perhaps he felt embarrassed that he collected one of Canada's highest honours for civil achievement through the accident of marriage (why the spouse of the Governor General gets a free CC makes little sense to me, but that is another issue altogether). 

Where is Mme. Jean's Order of Canada?
Here we have Mme. Jean on a state visit to Norway. Everyone in this photo is wearing their insignia, Jean can be seen wearing her CC around the neck... like an Olympic athlete, but no miniatures. I guess they just didn't go with the attire she chose to wear. All of Mme. Jean's female predecessors managed to wear their CC insignia with regularity, and especially when abroad. Despite this it is nice to see Lafond in white tie and tales. 

Make up your own caption for this photo!
This next photo illustrates the most common mode of dress for Mme. Jean when she attended events with veterans. Order of Canada around the neck, Commander of the Order of Military Merit on a bow, medal bar below. She doesn't seem to have been able to decide between a bow or neck ribbon so she is wearing both -- which is against the rules for wearing Canadian orders, decorations and medals. So much for setting an example! One can only speculate on what the PM is saying to Jean "Who the Hell dresses you? You look like a Christmas tree with all that stuff on, and why are you wearing an Imperial German Hussars overcoat on Remembrance Day!"

Where is her CMM and DStJ Star?
 Thankfully for Remembrance Day 2009 Mme. Jean abandoned her ersatz German overcoat and dawned a CF uniform. She still managed to break the CF dress regulations as she is not wearing her Commander of the Order of Military Merit (this should be poking out of the top button of her tunic) and she is not wearing the breast star of a Dame of Justice of the Order of St. John (this should be on her left pocket). Also note that Her former Excellency is not wearing her collar badges either! Even a mediocre Aide de Camp should have spotted the missing insignia. 

Lastly we have a photo of Mme. Jean wearing miniatures. This is great, aside from the fact that this photo was taken in the middle of the day -- and you don't wear miniatures during the day. Photos taken following a recent Order of Canada investiture reveal Jean wearing her miniatures on a 45 degree angle to follow the collar of her dress, more treatment of honours as fashion accessories. Jeanne Sauve would not be impressed!

Lastly we have this gem. Mme. Jean in naval attire wearing her various orders and medals, but what is that breast star? The star of a Dame of Grace of the Order of St. John. The problem is that Jean is a Dame of Justice of the Order of St. John (star is gold with no lions and unicorns between the arms), so here we have a Governor General wearing a insignia that she is not entitled to. All in violation of the Statutes of the Order of St. John. Sadly, as we have already seen Governors General and Lieutenant Governors regularly ignore the rules for wearing Canadian orders, decorations and medals.

For keen readers here is a photo of the star that Mme. Jean should be wearing. Things are in a pretty sad state when a Governor General is going around incorrectly dressed while in CF uniform -- even the Commander-in-Chief of Canada needs to follow the dress regulations.

1 comment:

  1. How can you expect a woman who isn't even a Canadian and never served a day in the CF to know how to wear our uniforms and medals? what a disgrace.It bugs me to no end that you see her in a different uniform every week.One day she's wearing an army uniform the next a naval uniform soon I expected to see her dressed as an astronaut or star trek admiral.Only people who served in the CF should be allowed to wear the uniform especially medals.I thought Clarkson was bad jean was the worst GG in our history.