Talk:Commander-in-Chief of the Canadian Armed Forces

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Governor General of Canada[edit]

Isn't the Governor General of Canada the Commander-in-Chief of the Canadian Forces? If so, do we need to have a list of Commanader in Chief of the CF? Or referal to the GG article be sufficient? --Hurricane111 04:35, 27 September 2005 (UTC)

Quite right. I have updated the article. JDM1991 (talk) 00:03, 17 January 2008 (UTC)
The constitution, as cited, and a ruling by the Canadian Forces Grievance Board states otherwise. Please do not remove cited material again. --G2bambino (talk) 00:10, 17 January 2008 (UTC)

According to the sources cited, the Queen has this title: "The Command-in-Chief of the Land and Naval Militia, and of all Naval and Military Forces, of and in Canada." All the variants of that title have been awarded by the Queen to her viceroy. It is counterfactual to state otherwise. JDM1991 (talk) 00:47, 17 January 2008 (UTC)

The constitution does not give the Queen a title, it gives her the posision of Commander-in-Chief; no subsequent change has been made in the Constitution Act to remove her from this post. Further, nothing in the article denies that the viceroy has been given the title of Commander-in-Chief. Therefore, there is no counterfactual information. --G2bambino (talk) 01:00, 17 January 2008 (UTC)
The article is about the Commander-in-Chief of the Canadian Forces, and only one person holds that title: the Governor General. The person in whom command-in-chief is vested has declared as much.JDM1991 (talk) 00:30, 28 January 2008 (UTC)
Please see my comment of January 17. --G2bambino (talk) 16:11, 28 January 2008 (UTC)

G2 is correct; a Canadian soldier (yesterday I believe), just lost a case over having to 'raise his drink' to the Queen (as she's Canada's armed forces Comander-in-chief. It's at the website Royalty News. GoodDay (talk) 17:44, 28 January 2008 (UTC)

Indeed; the ruling on that case has been included as a reference here, wherein not only does the judge refer to the Queen as Commander-in-Chief, but as did the CF Grievance Board and Rick Hillier. --G2bambino (talk) 18:30, 28 January 2008 (UTC)
I like the soldier's thinking though, ha ha. GoodDay (talk) 18:36, 28 January 2008 (UTC)

Apparently there is some abiguity about this, which should be addressed in the article. However, the word of the GG's official website should be definitive. Legal interpretations on this point by WP editors -- interpretations of the constitution and of one particular case-law ruling -- are not a sufficient, nor even a WP-allowable basis to contradict that website. Presumably the GG's website takes into account the various laws involved when it declares that the GG is the CiC. At any rate, it is the proper role of WP editors to accept what this authoritative secondary source has to say on the matter, and to write the WP article accordingly. It is not the proper role of WP editors to make contrary interpretations from statute and case-law. That is "original research" -- not allowed.
(It does seem that the monarch is, in some ultimate or "emblematic" sense, the CiC, but that this is a special and unusual sense, and that by ordinary sense the CiC is the GG. Objective secondary sources (that is, not monarchist or anti-monarchist analyses) that shed light on this ambiguity would be good to have.)
-- Lonewolf BC (talk) 19:26, 28 January 2008 (UTC)

Begrudgingly, the Queen is CiC - that's how the Canadian armed forces see it (and the Canadian government). Practically speaking of course, the Canadian PM is the boss. GoodDay (talk) 19:34, 28 January 2008 (UTC)
Not "begrudgingly" to me -- it's all the same to me whether the monarch or the GG is the formal head of Canada's military. I'm only concerned that the article be accurate about it -- according to the usual understanding of which it is. -- Lonewolf BC (talk) 19:56, 28 January 2008 (UTC)
Further, actually no, that is not how the Canadian government and Canadian armed forces see it, as shown by the websites of the GG and the DND. (See below.)
-- Lonewolf BC (talk) 08:29, 30 January 2008 (UTC)
Sorry, but the GG's website is not a superior source to the constitution or a legal ruling by a judge of the federal court, let alone the findings of both the CF Grievance Board and the Chief of Defense Staff. It's clear from these sources that the monarch holds the position of C-in-C, while the functions and title have been granted to her viceroy. Though more on the ambiguity could be added, vis-a-vis the situation in other countries, perhaps, the article currently reflects what the sources say. --G2bambino (talk) 19:35, 28 January 2008 (UTC)
As I said before, the GG's website trumps WP-editors' interpretations of the constitution, and of and from a particular case-law ruling.
-- Lonewolf BC (talk) 19:56, 28 January 2008 (UTC)
Fair enough. --G2bambino (talk) 20:19, 28 January 2008 (UTC)
Right, so the plain statements on the websites of the Governor General and of the Department of National Defence, respectively that "The Governor General of Canada is also Commander-in-Chief of Canada," and that "The Governor General of Canada is the Commander-in-Chief of Canada," trump your interpretation of the constitution as saying that the monarch is the CiC and your conclusion, from Justice Barnes' judgement in ARALT MAC GIOLLA CHAINNIGH v. THE ATTORNEY-GENERAL OF CANADA, that the monarch, rather than the GG, is the CiC. The "Historical background" page on the GG's site explains the matter quite nicely: The CiC is the Governor General, not the monarch. Once upon a time it was the monarch. It isn't now.
-- Lonewolf BC (talk) 08:29, 30 January 2008 (UTC)
I don't see where an interpretation of the constitution has been made, only that the relevant clauses from the Constitution Act, 1867, have been quoted. Further, the CDF, CFGB, and Justice Barnes all say the Queen is C-in-C, not me. Further still, where does it say the GG is not titled as Commander-in-Chief? --G2bambino (talk) 16:25, 30 January 2008 (UTC)
I've never heard of the Governer-General being described as C-in-C. She merely represents the C-in-C. GoodDay (talk) 15:29, 31 January 2008 (UTC)
According to the Constitution Act 1867, as mounted on the Web by the Canadian Justice Department[1], "Command-in-Chief" (French: commandement en chef) is vested in the Queen. However, she is not styled "Commander-in-Chief."
The Queen, in whom command-in-chief is vested, has given the title "Commander-in-Chief" to the Governor General[2].
It seems strange to me that people would insist that the Queen is Commander-in-Chief when she herself has given that title to someone else. "You are Commander-in-Chief." "No, she is." "No, you are." "Damned it, how dare you tell the person you think is Commander-in-Chief that she's wrong about who is Commander-in-Chief?!"
JDM1991 (talk) 17:32, 1 February 2008 (UTC)
I quote a recent email from Yonatan Lew of the Office of the Governor General:
Dear Mr. Makepeace,
On behalf of the Office of the Secretary to the Governor General, I am responding to your e-mail below.
The Letters Patent of 1947 refers to the "Governor General and Commander-in-Chief" without any additional prepositional phrase. Both titles you mention are correct; however, our office uses "Commander-in-Chief of the Canadian Forces" when addressing Canadians. For occasions where the Governor General is addressing an international audience or when she is traveling outside of Canada, she is referred to as "Commander-in-Chief of Canada".
As The Queen's representative in Canada, the governor general assumes the role of Commander-in-Chief. As such, The Queen does not retain any official title related to the Canadian Forces.
I hope this information is useful. Thank you for writing.
Yours sincerely,
Yonatan Lew, INFO
Rideau Hall
1 Sussex Drive / 1, promenade Sussex
Ottawa ON K1A 0A1
"The Queen does not retain any official title related to the Canadian Forces." Therefore, only the Governor General can correctly be characterized as Canada's commander-in-chief.
JDM1991 (talk) 19:52, 6 February 2008 (UTC)
And what exactly does this dispute in the article (before you reverted it again)? --G2bambino (talk) 20:02, 6 February 2008 (UTC)

Any suggestion that the Queen is "Commander-in-Chief of the Canadian Forces." She has explicitly given both the role and the title to someone else. JDM1991 (talk) 22:10, 6 February 2008 (UTC)

George VI gave the title to the Governor General, Edward VII allowed the Governor General to exercise the duties of Commander-in-Chief on his behalf. Again, where did the article dispute this? --G2bambino (talk) 22:14, 6 February 2008 (UTC)

The current GG website hints at the Queen's official involvement... [3] By its wording it says the Sovereign's prerogative has granted upon the GG. (quote)The governor general is commander-in-chief of Canada. This role has been expressly conferred on the governor general as per the letters patent of 1947. As such, the governor general plays a major role in recognizing the importance of Canada’s military at home and abroad.(end quote) CaribDigita (talk) 17:00, 12 December 2010 (UTC)


For reference, here is the information we have available to us:

  • The Constitution Act, 1867, states that Command-in-Chief is vested in the Queen. This provision has never been altered or repealed.
  • The Militia Act, 1904, states that Command-in-Chief continues to be vested in the King.
  • The Chief of Defence Staff of the Canadian Forces has stated the Queen is the Commander-in-Chief of the Canadian Forces.
  • The Canadian Forces Grievance Board has stated the Queen is the Commander-in-Chief of the Canadian Forces.
  • Justice Barnes of the Federal Court of Canada has stated that the Queen is the Commander-in-Chief of the Canadian Forces.
  • The Letters Patent issued by Edward VII refer to the "Governor General and Commander-in-Chief."
  • The Letters Patent issued by George V refer to the "Goveror General and Commander-in-Chief in and over Canada."

The Queen is Commander-in-Chief of the Canadian Forces while the Governor General exercises the duties thereof and holds the title Commander-in-Chief. It would be helpful if JDM would cease ignoring more than half of the above. --G2bambino (talk) 01:05, 7 February 2008 (UTC)

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So the Prime Minister has no say in military decisions? What about the Chief of the Defence Staff? NorthernThunder (talk) 10:17, 20 December 2009 (UTC)

First section, third paragraph: "Though all executive power is legally reposed in the Crown, the role of commander-in-chief is primarily symbolic in practice; under the Westminster system's conventions of responsible government, the Cabinet – which advises the sovereign or her viceroy on the exercise of the executive powers – holds de facto decision making power over the deployment and disposition of Canadian forces." I'm not sure if the CDS has any particular relevance to this article. --Ħ MIESIANIACAL 13:43, 20 December 2009 (UTC)

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