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.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Steven Point: November's Offender of the Month!

Miniature medals are in the wrong place, just look at the
Aide de Camp to see where they should be worn. 
Every month we select an "Offender of the Month." The first recipient of this ignominious honour was the Honourable Don Ethell, alas even his many errors in wearing orders, decorations and medals have been surpassed by the Honourable Steven Point, Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia. It is obvious that Mr. Point is totally clueless when it comes to wearing his medals or a CF uniform for that matter. It would seem that the only solution to this problem is for Mr. Point to cease wearing his medals and to also cease wearing his CF uniform.  I cannot imagine any other member of the Canadian Forces who has found so many ways to wear every order of dress incorrectly. It is embarrassing that a member of the Senior Service continuously flaunts the CFP 265 when in uniform.

Above is a  great example of His Honour wearing mess dress with his various accoutrements as "fashion accessories." First off the dress instructions are clear; miniatures are worn 1 cm below the notch of the lapel, not in the middle of the chest. Point seems to have done this to accommodate his Lieutenant Governor's Badge, which is not approved for wear on any CF uniform. Why didn't the Aide de Camp included in this photo not correct Captain(N) Point? Too caught in the magic of the moment no doubt.

Two neck gongs at a time.
Sadly the Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia has also been spotted  following the "two neck gong" fashion. All this in violation of the rule that you are only allowed to wear one neck insignia at a time in civilian attire.

At least in this photo Mr. Point has managed to wear the correct ribbons on each of his neck insignia! It is not even worth speculating on the mystery medal worn on the right side in this photo.

Several readers have flooded me with photos galore, too many to post here. Unfortunately 8 times out of 10 Point is wearing his medals incorrectly. When in CF uniform Captain(N) Point has only managed to get things right 1/10th of the time.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

5,000 Hits

Over the past month this blog has received more than 5,000 hits. Although not overwhelmed with emails from readers, there have been some very useful notes, comments and photos.

A few readers have extolled displeasure with the tone and overall message of the blog. Comments such as "just correct the various offenders with a letter or phone call" have been expressed by several people. Long before this blog was even conceptualized I tried that approach; polite simple letters and emails explaining what is wrong and how to correct the situation along with a photo of the problem and a diagram of how to fix it. In a few cases I received replies, but in most there was not even an acknowledgement.

The Hon. Don Ethell. Layering of miniatures is not a Canadian practice.
The last 2 medals Ethell is wearing are unofficial "assocation" awards
and shouldn't be worn with official honours.
One senior officer wrote to offer some very constructive criticism and comment, all which was greatly appreciated. Less helpful notes have accused me of being a self righteous bastard. I find this more amusing than annoying. Rules exist directing us on how to wear our medals, they are not opinions or suggestions offering advice on how an individual “may” decide to wear their medals, they are rules. If Lieutenant Governors, Honorary Colonels, Honorary Captains(N) and brass hats of all types are incapable of wearing their orders, decorations and medals correctly then it only sends the worst sort of signal to the average Canadian. The people featured in this blog have all risen to high position through making important contributions to their province and country. Nevertheless these contributions do not give them a license to “ignore the rules” or to use their medals as fashion accessories. One cannot help but wonder why they feel they are above the rules that the rest of us are subject to.

More BC Follies

At a distance all looks fine, but wait,
what is that he is wearing around his neck?
An observant reader sent this photo of the Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia. All looks fine from a distance, but His Honour is wearing the ribbon of his Order of British Columbia with the neck badge of his Order of St. John. It ceases to amaze me, and many blog followers, the many and sundry ways in which The Honourable Steven Point has managed to wear his orders, decorations, medals and Canadian Forces uniform incorrectly.
The Order of St. John worn with the ribbon of
 the Order of British Columbia
Full size medals with lapel pins?  Where is his OBC?
Mr. Point seems to like the mix and match approach.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The Hon. Steven Point, ruler of the land where the Lieutenant Governor can dress up any old way

Ribbons upside down, where is his aiguilette
and where is his head-dress?
Several readers have sent me images of the Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia, His Honour the Honourable Steven Point, wearing his various insignia and CF uniform in completely non-sensical ways. It is depressing to see someone in such a high position wearing his various orders and medals  in completely the wrong way. Often he is seen with just a neck insignia, or his neck insignia worn like an sporting medal around the neck without a shortened ribbon, miniatures during the day and the list of errors goes on and on. Thankfully many of the errors have been preserved in photographs.

Ribbons clearly in the wrong order. Upside-down!

A grey undershirt -- it should be white?
Where is his aiguillette?
Ribbons upside down again,
where is his aiguillette, and he
 shouldn't be wearing the
Lieutenant Governor Badge
For members of the CF take heed that this Lieutenant Governor is completely ignorant of CF dress regulations -- he has repeatedly been seen with his ribbons on backwards (upside down), wearing the wrong colour undershirt (grey instead of white), failing to wear his aiguilette, and failing to wear head-dress outdoors. Unfortunately His Honour looks like the Captain Kangaroo of the Canadian Navy. Where is an overly officious CPO when you need one! Just peruse the gallery of photos to take in the full magnitude of this Lieutenant Governor's total inability to wear a CF uniform or medals.

Investiture length ribbons are fine for those who were just awarded the OBC,
but NOT for the Lieutenant Governor. He has had almost 3 years to shorten the length of his ribbon, nevertheless he persists with the olympic style ribbon.  
Miniatures during the day? Where is his neck badge for the OBC or  Order of St. John?
What is the mystery medal at the neck,
why is this man's Jubilee Medal being worn in the armpit?
The photos tell the story, these are not one time mistakes, but habitual errors. One is left to ask why no one has corrected Mr. Point. This photo of Point in the civil uniform is a travesty. He is wearing some mystery medal or piece of jewellery at the neck, then his Order of St. John, Order of British Columbia and his Golden Jubilee Medal is supposed to be worn on the breast, not in the armpit. Don't Lieutenant Governors have advisors and Aides de Camp to advise them on how NOT to look like complete fools when in public? I don't quite understand why he needs to wear the Lieutenant Governors badge when he is wearing the Lieutenant Governors Uniform, this would be like pinning additional rank badges onto a CF uniform. At least he seems to be having a good time in this last shot.