Celebrating women in Canadian military forces

Rona Ambrose, Minister for Status of Women, hosted a reception in Senate Speaker Noël Kinsella’s salon in honour Women’s History Month. The gathering was to celebrate women in Canadian military forces.

(Left to right) Conservative Senator Pamela Wallin, Leader of the Government in the Canadian Senate Marjory LeBreton and Rona Ambrose.

NDP MP Irene Mathyssen.

Conservative MP Ed Holder and Minister of Health Leona Aglukkaq.

Conservative Senator Pamela Wallin.




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Celebrating women in Canadian military forces

  1. Interesting.  I didn’t realize that Senator Wallin was an honourary colonel in the Air Force.

    • Thanks for the link.  She’s an honourary colonel thanks in large part to what her dad did?  Stupid symbolic political-patronage interference in military matters?  Which do you suppose is worse?

      • I’m not sure that’s entirely fair.  She’s an honourary colonel thanks in large part to her service as a diplomat and senator, her long career as a journalist and prominent public figure, and (I think more secondarily, but not insignificantly) the fact that SEVEN members of her family have served in the Royal Canadian Air Force. 

        While some honourary colonels have no doubt served in the Forces themselves at some point, I do think that a large point of honourary colonels is to put well known public figures of some stature into a role that helps them advocate for the Forces and represent the Forces in a symbolic way to the larger world, and  as a means of recognizing civilians who have supported the Forces (or, more specifically, particular regiments or CFBs, or their surrounding communities) in some way.

        While I wouldn’t feel it at all appropriate to question the appointment of honourary colonels by the Forces given my limited knowledge, and I’m sure they are all deserving, I think if you look through the list you’ll find plenty of people boasting significantly less distinguished careers than Pamela Wallin, and several people with much less direct links to the Forces as well.

        • I just figured our Minister of Defence had everything to do with this appointment, and the uniformed folks at DND had to grit their teeth and play along.

          And I have no qualms blasting all those even more unworthy civilians for getting in the way of the real VIPs at the DND. Like the ones stepping gingerly through poppy fields in Kandahar these last several years.

          And what galls me most, I think, is her parading around *in uniform* at an event celebrating women in the Forces.

          I am willing to believe she contributed to John Manley’s project with seriousness and devotion to country, and I thank her for it. But honourary colonel? Yeesh.

          • Fair enough. 

            However, I think your problem is with how the military uses the “honourary colonel” appointment, not with Pamela Wallin.  If the owner of the local Trenton grocery store (a man who from all accounts is a pillar of his community, don’t get me wrong) gets to become an honourary colonel, then to the extent that there’s a problem here it’s a problem with the SYSTEM, imho, not with Pamela Wallin.

            Similarly, as for the uniform, whatever we think of how it happened she IS an honourary colonel, and honourary colonels are entitled to wear the uniform of an honourary colonel.  And if an honourary colonel shouldn’t wear her uniform at an event honouring members of the Forces then imho an honourary colonel can’t wear her uniform ANYWHERE.

            As for our troops in the field, I’m all in favour of showering them in any sort of accolades we can think of, but I do believe that the notion of an “honourary colonel” is meant for a different purpose, for the most part, than honouring our troops with a post-mission appointment.

            I do agree, mind you, that it all seems a bit strange, and that we seem to have a number of HCol’s who, imho, don’t seem sufficiently… well, I don’t know.  Let me simply say, they just don’t seem sufficient for the honour.  However, absent any indication that Wallin lobbied for the appointment, or takes the appointment insufficiently seriously (and I’m quite confident that she takes the appointment seriously) I wouldn’t necessarily criticize HER per se for the current state of affairs.

          • Fair enough, backatcha.

  2. Ed Holder “MP” – Mullet in Parliament

    • I think you mean “Mullet Permed”.

      • aka MP Jerry Kurl.

  3. I hear from my niece that most of the women in the ‘Forces’ are lesbians….true or wallin ?

  4. I wonder if there were any woman from the military there? 

    • I found that odd as well. 

      It could just be who Raphael chose to photograph, or the photos he chose to post, but it is strange that in a post of photos from an event held “to celebrate women in Canadian military forces” not only is there not a single woman from the Canadian Forces in any of the pics, there’s NO ONE from the Forces in any of the pics, period.  Not even in the background!

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