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.

Friday, September 25, 2015

RCMP Musical Medals or Mix and Match with Commissioner Paulson

It would appear that the poor Commissioner of our national police force, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, has great difficulty figuring out what medals he should be wearing… indeed, it seems as though he has several sets of medals.

Early on in Commissioner Paulson's term he had a habit of "enhancing" his group of medals by wearing both his Commander of the Order of Merit of the Police Forces (COM) insignia along with his Officer of the Order of Merit of the Police Forces (OOM) insignia. Now this would be totally acceptable in one instance alone; when he was promoted from OOM to COM. 

Doubling up on his COM and OOM,
 and this was months AFTER Paulson was made a COM.

Here is Paulson committing the same medal wearing offence at Rideau Hall.

Thankfully, after about 8 months of committing this medal wearing offence, someone must have told the good Commissioner that he shouldn't be dressing up his group with multiple versions of the same Order. So all was right in the medal wearing world at RCMP HQ and their chief brass hat.
The Commissioner correctly turned out at last.
Despite this progress, as shown in the photo immediately above where the Commissioner is wearing his medals correctly, his group has very recently grown a new and unofficial medal. Yes it appears that the Commissioner has succumbed to the dreaded "Instant Dictator Syndrome;" the first Commissioner of the RCMP to publicly suffer this illness. The RCMP Corps Sergeant Major also seems to be suffering the same illness as he too is wearing the British Columbia Police Meritorious Service Medal.

Commissioner Paulson's new medal from a BC Government website.
 Unauthorized for wear according to the rules the rest of us Canadians are required to follow. 

Awarded by the Government of British Columbia and presented by the Lieutenant Governor, this award is not officially recognized by the Government of Canada, nor is it included in the Canadian Order of Precedence for wearing Orders, Decorations and Medals. So it is unofficial and not authorized for wear along with officially granted orders, decorations or medals. This situation is part of a broader trend that seems to be gripping many uniform wearing services across Canada. Police forces especially have an ever increasing propensity to wear unofficial provincial and even municipal awards that are totally unrecognized and often unrecognizable to even the most seasoned medal pooh-bah.

The Commissioner wearing an unofficial
medal at the end of his group. 
In short "Dear Commissioner, and friends, if it doesn't appear on this list, a list issued under the authority of your bosses (the Governor General and the Prime Minister), you are not allowed to wear it. Neither you nor the RCMP has the authority to authorize you to wear a medal. You had really better get your medals re-mounted PDQ."

It is more than a bit embarrassing to have the head of our national police force flagrantly violating the rules that everyone else is required to follow.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Correcting Mistakes: Fire-Captain Paul Hurst

We have heard from Chief Hurst and he indicates that he was unaware of the error in medal mounting and is having the situation rectified. It would appear that the medal mounting error was an honest mistake, which although unfortunate is by far the best reason for such a situation. Thankfully this was not a case of Instant Dictator Syndrome. We are delighted to learn that Chief Hurst is having his medals remounted correctly and apologize for the general tone of the previous post which has now been removed.

Fire-Captain Paul Hurst, MB, of Victoria BC. 

What is the "Mystery Medal" at the end of the group?

For the record Chief Hurst's group should be worn; (1) Medal of Bravery, (2) Diamond Jubilee Medal, (3) Fire Exemplary Service Medal, (4) BC Firefighter Medal for Bravery, (5) BC Fire Service Long Service Medal. The RCHA Bravery Medal and “Mystery Medal” should not be mounted or worn with the rest of the group.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Veterans Dressing Up their Medal Groups; Sean Bruyea and Ernie Hughes

Thankfully most veterans follow the rules of how to wear their hard earned medals, however there seems to be an increased propensity for some veterans of the First Gulf War to embellish their group with unauthorized medals from foreign lands. Here we have Sean Bruyea wearing his Gulf and Kuwait War Medal and Canadian Forces Decoration along with two totally unauthorized medals for service in the First Gulf War; the Kuwait Medal for service in the war and the Saudi Arabian Medal for serving in the war. So this fellow is wearing three medals for the same conflict. Can you imagine what those who served in the Second World War would have looked like if they dressed up their groups with medals from the various countries they helped to liberate; France, Belgium, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and more than a dozen others. 
Sean Bruyea -- doubled his group with unauthorized medals. 
Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and a number of other gulf nations sought to recognize Canadians who served in the conflict and Canadians were permitted to accept these medals as "mementoes" -- with the explicit understanding that they would never be worn Alas, Instant Dictator Syndrome seems to effect even those fighting for veterans' rights. So much for following the rules when it comes to foreign honours.

Next we have a member of the Royal Canadian Legion, Mr. Ernie Hughes. Before we go any further it is worth noting that the Royal Canadian Legion has been at the forefront of ensuring that its members do not wear phoney medals, and the Legion has long been and example to other organizations in that it only allows internal awards (ie. the various Royal Canadian Legion Medals and Awards) to be worn on the right side -- not mounted with official national honours. Nevertheless, here we have a conspicuous offender in the form of the El Presidente of the Barrhaven branch of the Legion Ernie Hughes. At the neck Mr. Hughes appears to be wearing the Order of St. George and on the breast he has his mounted set of medals (nicely displayed and properly done) but a breast star -- perhaps as a Knight Grand Templar of the Order of St. George?? Neither of these awards are given out by a recognized government or are they in any way official honours. Again, it is against the rules for wearing Canadian Orders, Decorations and Medals to wear these outlandish insignia along side official national honours.

A note on deportment -- one never wears breast stars while in a sports jacket, blazer or business suit (lounge suit); at the very least Mr. Hughes should be in morning dress if he is going to wear a breast star during the day. Nevertheless here we have Mr. Hughes looking like the dictator of a small less developed European potentate. 

If you are going to become the poster child for a veteran's cause then you had best not go around sporting medals you aren't authorized to wear -- unless you want to haemorrhage credibility and legitimacy. 

El Presidente Ernie Hughes, Supreme Ruler of Barrhaven