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.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Poor Alberta

The Hon. Don Ethell

Earlier today I received this photo from a reader, it is perhaps the worst one yet of His Honour the Lieutenant Governor of Alberta. Quite aside from the ridiculous looking beret bedecked with the sort of souvenir patch you get at those touristy shops in Banff to sew on your backpack, here is another photo of Colonel (ret) Ethell wearing two neck insignia simultaneously (which is against the rules in civilian attire) and his trademark medal bar -- twice the regulation length. As a former CF member and a Colonel he certainly knows how to wear his medals correctly, so there is no excuse. If public discussion is the only way to get people to follow the rules then I think we have found our new project.


  1. As an American from MD who has a casual interest in military dress, I am delighted to have found this blog. It is hilarious and the pictures too funny for words. Just letting you know you have a fan in the US who would be happy to see some new posts.

  2. The Lt Gov wore the head dress for a short period of time only, so he could return salutes. He no longer wears a head dress. As for his medals that he legitimately earned, he is allowed to wear them as he does. There is no restriction to the width of medals, as per the Directorate of History and Heritage site: Check out the link on the FAQ page, Dress and Ceremonial, under "am I allowed to wear my uniform after retirement". The bottom of this page has a hyperlink to the "Wearing of Orders, Decorations and Medals". The Lt Gov is a highly decorated individual who earned every one of his honours. I think the complaining sounds a bit like a cold-war vet who retired with a CD and (maybe) a NATO medal. Suck it up, buttercup.