January 2012 Commentary

The Secret Tory Plan Revealed

by J. L. Granatstein

Prime Minister Harper, we are told, is trying to remake Canadian patriotism, pushing it away from Liberal-instituted symbols, peacekeeping, and the Pearson-Trudeau traditions. He has already restored the Royal designation to the Canadian Air Force and the Canadian Navy, much to the shock of many of those serving and to all republicans outside the military.

But now the Conservative government’s secret plans can be revealed, thanks to a plain brown envelope with a memorandum to the Prime Minister’s Chief of Staff that popped over my transom on New Year’s Day. The scope is simply breathtaking.

The army is to revert to British-style battle dress and puttees, and the Lee-Enfield rifle that won the two world wars will be brought back into service. The RCAF will be equipped with hand-built Spitfires, bound to cost less than F-35s. And the RCN will build a brand new, perfect in every detail, HMCS Niobe, that will not go to sea but will be docked next to the navy’s unuseable (British-built!) submarines. And to top it off, the strategic planners at National Defence Headquarters will draw up plans for a Canadian Expeditionary Force to be shipped to England in case the European Union, led by the Germans and the perfidious French, try to invade to make the Brits adopt the Euro. We shall fight them on the beaches!

But that is only one part of Harper’s daring plan. The Order of Canada will be scrapped, and knighthoods and titles will be restored. The KBE and KCB will become eagerly sought for once again. And there will be more. Can you believe Brian, Duke of Baie Comeau (his ducal crest will portray three cash-stuffed envelopes on a field of Airbus aircraft), or Adrienne, Marchioness of the Annex (with her motto reading “I’m Adrienne Clarkson and you’re not”). And if the Tories need electoral help in Quebec next election, the leaked memo suggests that making Lucien Bouchard the Viscomte de Québec might help. The new Canadian aristocrats, or so the plan goes, will sit in the “reformed” Senate or, as it is to be called, the House of Lords and Ladies.

The Governor-General’s post never again will go to CBC journalists or aged professors. Only British aristocrats will be considered, and the GG will wear Windsor uniform, including the cocked hat. To top this all off, Canada Post will revert to its original name, the Royal Mail, and royal coats of arms will be put on every re-painted red mailbox. The mail service is dying, but the government planners somehow believe that this will increase revenues by at least 7 percent in 2013.

At the same time, Jason Kenney, the Minister of Citizenship, Immigration, and Multiculturalism, will be despatched to Britain to recruit immigrants. The government expects tens of thousands to flee the coming collapse of the U.K. economy, Scottish independence, and the death of the Celtic tiger. These new Canadians will speak English (after a fashion), understand our constitution at least as well as the native born, and will integrate readily. And it’s not just the hijab: immigrants from other parts of the world will no longer be allowed to cross their fingers behind their backs when swearing allegiance to the Queen.

Moreover, British pronunciations and terms will be encouraged. Many Canadians still pronounce lieutenant as “leftenant,” but now it will be a misdemeanour (thanks to a clause that no one noticed in the government’s sweeping anti-crime legislation) not to do so. It will be the same for “lift” instead of elevator and “boot” instead of trunk. Fortunately, the original plan, developed in the PMO, to adopt the British practice of driving on the “wrong” side of the road was dropped as too costly—and too dangerous.

There is much more, too much for a short column. A few tidbits: the Liberal Prime Ministers on Canadian money, Laurier and King, will be replaced by royals—apparently Prince Charles is to be on the $50 with Edward VIII, perhaps with “the woman I love” Wallis Simpson at his side, on the $5. The Stratford Shakespearean Festival and the Shaw Festival will be encouraged (by threatening to withhold grants) to show only Shakespeare and Shaw--no more attempts to broaden offerings. The Maple Leaf flag will now be flown only with the Union Jack and Red Ensign alongside, and always one metre lower. And hardest of all to manage, when Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall (the “Rottweiler” to Lady Di), come to visit this summer, the media will be encouraged, i.e., warned, to be nice to them. Good luck.

This is a sweeping plan, and the Prime Minister has directed that it proceed at full speed. “I want to remake Canada,” the memo quotes him. And so he might do.

When not receiving leaked memos, J.L. Granatstein is Senior Research Fellow at the Canadian Defence and Foreign Affairs Institute. 

Be the first to comment

Please check your e-mail for a link to activate your account.

Annual Defence Procurement Conference

Ottawa, Ontario

October 25, 2022


G7 Update

by Heather Hiscox (feat. Andrew Rasiulis), CBC, June 30, 2022

Inside Policy: Russia’s invasion of Ukraine

by Editorial Staff (feat. Rob Huebert), MLI, June 30, 2022

Canada to upgrade Latvia battlegroup to a brigade, boost number of troops

by Editorial Staff (feat. David Perry), Kelowna Now, June 29, 2022

What slowdown? Canada's economy to top G7 on high oil, crop prices

by Julie Gordon and Rod Gordon (feat. Kevin Birn), Saltwire, June 29, 2022

Alliance renforcée

by Céline Galipeau (feat. Stefanie von Hlatky), Le Tele Journal, June 29, 2022

1.6 million public chargers needed in Canada for EV transition

by Larysa Harapyn (feat. Brian Kingston), The Financial Post, June 29, 2022

Passport? What passport?

by Martin C. Barr (feat. Andrew Griffith), Laval News, June 29, 2022

Oil production test looms for OPEC heavyweights Saudi Arabia, UAE

by Editorial Staff (feat. Ellen Wald), S&P Global, June 29, 2022

Eric Nuttall & Amrita Sen - Oil & Energy Update

by Eric Nuttall (feat. Amrita Sen), Nine Point Partners, June 29, 2022

All talk, no traction

by Maura Forest and Andy Blatchford (feat. Robert Huebert), Politico, June 29, 2022

U.S. pushes for Russian oil price ceiling. Feasible?

by Matt Levin (feat. Ellen Wald), MARKETPLACE, June 28, 2022

Russia Ukraine Update

by Susan Bonner (feat. Andrew Rasiulis), CBC Radio One, June 28, 2022

Un sommet de l’OTAN pour tenir tête à la Russie

by Marie Vastel (feat. David Perry), Le Devoir, June 26, 2022

A geopolitical alternative system of co-operation for nations

by Staff Reporter (feat. Swaran Singh), The Zimbabwe Mail, June 26, 2022

Analyst says high oil prices spurs little drilling

by Lee Harding (feat. Kevin Birn), Western Standard, June 26, 2022

It’s time for Canada to get serious about defence

by John Ibbitson (feat. James Fergusson and Rob Huebert), The Globe and Mail, June 25, 2022

Trudeau meets with Rwandan president, expands diplomatic mission in Kigali

by CBC Newsroom Staff (feat. Colin Robertson), CBC Newroom, June 24, 2022

With New Threats Looming, Canada Commits Billions to Air Defense

by News Desk (feat. Andrea Charron), New Express News, June 24, 2022

Drop in oil prices is not a quick fix for global inflation

by Editorial Staff (feat. Amrita Sen), The National, June 24, 2022

Highs and Lows of the Spring Sitting

by Peter Van Dusen (feat. Andrew Griffith), Prime Time Politics, June 24, 2022

Oil Incurs Second Weekly Loss As Analysts Differ On Inflation, Demand

by Ship and Bunker News Team (feat. Amrita Sen), Ship And Bunker, June 24, 2022


Canadian Global Affairs Institute
Suite 1800, 150–9th Avenue SW
Calgary, Alberta, Canada T2P 3H9


Canadian Global Affairs Institute
8 York Street, 2nd Floor
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada K1N 5S6


Phone: (613) 288-2529
Email: [email protected]


Making sense of our complex world.
Déchiffrer la complexité de notre monde.


© 2002-2022 Canadian Global Affairs Institute
Charitable Registration No. 87982 7913 RR0001


Sign in with Facebook | Sign in with Twitter | Sign in with Email