Donald Ethell

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Colonel The Honourable
Donald Stewart Ethell
Donald Ethell 2010 - Crop.jpg
17th Lieutenant Governor of Alberta
In office
May 11, 2010 – June 12, 2015
Monarch Elizabeth II
Governor General Michaëlle Jean
David Johnston
Premier Ed Stelmach
Alison Redford
Dave Hancock
Jim Prentice
Rachel Notley
Preceded by Norman Kwong
Succeeded by Lois Mitchell
Personal details
Born (1937-07-23) July 23, 1937 (age 79)
Vancouver, British Columbia
Spouse(s) Linda Ethell
Profession Soldier
Military service
Allegiance  Canada
Service/branch Canadian Army
Years of service 1955–1993
Rank Colonel

Donald Stewart Ethell OC OMM AOE MSC CD (born July 23, 1937) is a retired Canadian Army colonel and was the 17th Lieutenant Governor of Alberta.


Ethell was born in Vancouver, British Columbia in 1937, the son of a nurse and a navy chief petty officer.[1] He enlisted in the Canadian Army in 1955 after being rejected by the Navy and rejected from the Air Force.[2]

Ethell enlisted as a rifleman in the Queen's Own Rifles of Canada at the age of 17 and underwent basic training at the Currie Barracks in Calgary. He served in West Germany during the Cold War and rebadged to Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry in 1970 when the Queen's Own Rifles of Canada was removed from regular army service. He rose through the non-commissioned officer ranks to warrant officer until he was commissioned as an officer in 1972.

Demonstrating an ability for leadership, Ethell eventually rose to the rank of colonel. He eventually became a veteran of 14 international peacekeeping deployments, with service in Cyprus, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Egypt, Israel, Central America and the Balkans. Following his military retirement in 1993,[3] Ethell became involved in humanitarian efforts, including CARE Canada.

He is an officer in the Order of Canada[4] and the Order of Military Merit[5] and a member of the Alberta Order of Excellence.

Lieutenant governor[edit]

On April 8, 2010, Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced his appointment as the next Lieutenant Governor of Alberta.[6] He was installed on May 11, 2010.[7] He was made a Knight of Justice in the Venerable Order of Saint John on September 11, 2010, and installed as vice prior of the order's Alberta Council.[8]

As the viceregal representative in Alberta, he was styled "His Honour" while in office and has the right to the style "the Honourable" for life. He succeeded Norman Kwong.

During his time as Lieutenant Governor, Ethell has sworn in each of Alison Redford, Dave Hancock, and Jim Prentice as Premier of Alberta. Rachel Notley was sworn in on his behalf by Catherine Fraser, the Chief Justice of Alberta, as Ethell was recovering from back surgery.


Arms of Donald Ethell
June 15, 2011
An umbrella thorn acacia tree proper
Or two swords in saltire Bleu Céleste hilted Azure between four infantry helmets Bleu Céleste, a chief dancetty Azure
Two lions per fess Or and Azure
A grassy mount set with poppy flowers proper
Duty and service above all
The ribbon of the Order of Canada: Desiderantes meliorem patriam "(They desire a better country)". The insignia of a Companion of the Order of Canada, Officer of the Order of Military Merit and Member of the Alberta Order of Excellence
Blue and yellow are the provincial colours of Alberta, as well as the national colours of Sweden, Her Honour’s ancestral country. The crossed swords symbolize infantry and thus mark His Honour’s military career with the Queen’s Own Rifles and Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry. The four helmets represent a formation of soldiers, the light blue colour indicating United Nations peacekeepers, marking the fact that His Honour was deployed on 14 international peacekeeping missions. The upper section refers to the mountains of Alberta, especially the Three Sisters mountains near Canmore, and also to His Honour’s love of mountain climbing. The umbrella thorn acacia tree is characteristic of the African savannah, and it is also found in the Middle East. It therefore alludes to His Honour’s work with development agencies in Africa after his retirement from the Canadian Forces, and to the peacekeeping missions in the Middle East for which he was deployed. This type of tree is notable for its large canopy, its hardiness and the variety of uses to which its products can be put. It can therefore serve as a metaphor for aiding and protecting others. The lions refer to His Honour’s sign of the Zodiac, Leo. The grassy base indicates the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, a reference to His Honour’s home in Calgary. The poppies symbolize his involvement in veterans’ organizations.[9]


External links[edit]

Order of precedence
Preceded by
Catherine Fraser, The Chief Justice of The Court of Appeal of Alberta
Order of precedence in Alberta
as of 2016
Succeeded by
Ed Stelmach, Former Premier of Alberta