Tories putting the Royal back in the Canadian Forces

Two divisions of Canada’s armed forces are being rechristened with the names they held for the better part of the first half of the 20th century, media reports said Monday.

Ships rest at berth at Maritime Forces Dockyard in Halifax on Monday. Defence Minister Peter MacKay is expected to announce a name change to the Royal Canadian Navy

Ships rest at berth at Maritime Forces Dockyard in Halifax on Monday. Defence Minister Peter MacKay is expected to announce a name change to the Royal Canadian Navy

TORONTO — Two divisions of Canada’s armed forces are being rechristened with the names they held for the better part of the first half of the 20th century, media reports said Monday.

Officials with the Department of National Defence refused to discuss reports that the air and maritime divisions will be known as the Royal Canadian Navy and the Royal Canadian Air Force for the first time since 1968.

Land Force Command, meanwhile, is to be known simply as the Canadian Army, Huffington Post Canada and the Halifax Chronicle Herald reported.

Defence Minister Peter MacKay is slated to make an announcement in Halifax on Tuesday, but departmental officials declined to confirm the reports or offer any other details.

The older names fell out of vogue more than 40 years ago when federal legislation brought the military’s three main branches together under the banner of the Canadian Forces.

If MacKay is indeed reversing that move, the news won’t be welcomed by the Royal Canadian Legion, said spokesman Bob Butt.

Some veterans have long campaigned to reinstate the old names, but the Legion has opposed further changes on the grounds that the money could be better spent elsewhere, Butt said.

“One administrative change is enough,” Butt said. “We felt that . . . the funds would be better used to equip our sailors, soldiers and airmen.”

MacKay’s announcement in Halifax is to be echoed simultaneously at news conferences in Kingston, Ont., Valcartier, Que., Cold Lake, Alta., and Esquimalt, B.C.

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