August 15, 2011 / 8:08 PM / in 6 years

Canada to put "Royal" back in its Navy and Air Force

OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canada’s Conservative government, stressing traditional ties to Queen Elizabeth and the monarchy, is reinstating the names Royal Canadian Air Force and Royal Canadian Navy after a gap of 43 years.

<p>The 40-year-old supply ship HMCS Preserve sits in a dry dock at the Halifax Shipyard during a scheduled refit in Halifax, Nova Scotia, July 14, 2010. REUTERS/Paul Darrow</p>

The Liberals removed the “royal” designation in 1968 when they amalgamated the branches of service and called the military the Canadian Forces.

General Walter Natynczyk, chief of the defense staff, announced the decision to bring back the word “royal” for the official names of the two branches of the military in a memo posted on Monday on the military discussion site

“The initiative to restore the historic names of Canada’s three former services is aimed at restoring an important and recognizable part of Canada’s military heritage,” Natynczyk said.

“These were the services that fought and emerged victorious from the Second World War and Korea and contributed to the defense of Europe and North America from the early days of the Cold War. These were also the services that paved the way in terms of international peacekeeping missions.”

Defense Minister Peter MacKay and other Conservative members of Parliament have scheduled what they describe as “significant” announcements on Canada’s military history on Tuesday.

Queen Elizabeth is Canada’s head of state, and a tour by Prince William and his wife Kate last month revived interest in the monarchy.

“I think Canadians in general are going to be quite pleased and quite happy to have a little piece of their history back,” said Robert Finch, chairman of the Monarchist League of Canada.

Not all politicians agreed.

“I shall steadfastly refuse to call them Royal Canadian Navy and Royal Canadian Air Force. Shameful. We are our own nation,” Ian Capstick, a former spokesman for the leftist New Democratic Party, tweeted on Monday.

Additional reporting by David Ljunggren; editing by Rob Wilson

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