At the invitation of the Corps Sergeant Major, the RCMP Veterans’ Association has recently been involved in the planning and approvals process leading to the manufacture and consecration of a new RCMP Guidon to replace the existing Guidon which was consecrated by the then-Honourary Commissioner Her Majesty the Queen on July 4, 1973 (as you may know since 2012 Her Majesty has been Commissioner-in-Chief with HRH the Prince of Wales assuming the title of Honourary Commissioner).
The historical record shows that there was little to no involvement by the Association in the processes leading to the consecration of either the 1973 and 1935 Guidons. The Corps Sergeant Major’s outreach to the Association means that for the first time the Veterans will be included and their views sought when the Force moves forward on such a significant and symbolic part of our shared Regimental history and traditions.
Also, the Association was closely involved in the establishment of a new RCMP “Corps Operational Honours” policy and has made suggestions for changes to the Guidon that would better reflect the service and sacrifice by members and Veterans serving during the Second World War and the Afghanistan operation. These suggestions have been adopted and are now before the Commissioner for approval. I will have more to say on this point when we meet at the Association Executive Council in Charlottetown but suffice to say it is a great honour and privilege for the RCMP Veterans’ Association to be so actively involved in the process that will result in an enduring and tangible recognition of the service and sacrifice of all Veterans and Members of the RCMP.
While the focus of attention is on the next Guidon, eventually the Force will need to consider the laying-up of the 1973 Guidon. This will be a unique moment in the Force’s history because there have never been two laid-up Guidons before. This raises interesting new possibilities on how and where the laid-up Guidons may best serve their continued purpose of tradition, pride and continuity reflective of the Regiment’s (RCMP) service to the Monarch and our country Canada.
The laying-up of the Guidon is extremely important and, although the ultimate decision is the Force’s and the Force’s alone, I believe that the Force is very sensitive to the wishes and views of the Veterans on this subject. This means that consultations and discussion must take place among the Veterans themselves before an definitive position of the RCMP Veterans’ Association can be established which will guide the Force when it considers ours and the views of other stakeholders and other interested parties.
And as the laying-up issue is further off in the future, there is sufficient time for this active and respectful consultation among Veterans to take place. Indeed, as National President, I am eager to hear your views, beginning certainly at our Annual General Meeting in Charlottetown, which the Corps Sergeant Major, among senior members of the Force, will attend.
Divisions and individual Veterans will have their own ideas and views about the laying-up of the Guidon, but it is important at this early stage that we work collectively to come to a position as an Association that will lend credibility and heft to our views vis-à-vis the Force, and not try to champion individual proposals prematurely and directly to the Force.
On this issue we have only begun our dialogue among ourselves and with the Force. The Guidon is too important to not treat the issue with the sensitivity and attention it deserves.
The RCMP Guidon is a vitally important symbol of our loyalty to the Monarch and our service to our country. It preserves the enduring legacy of past service and sacrifice which gives meaning and inspiration to our successors, the current and future members of the Force.
I am extremely proud and honoured that the Force has welcomed the Veterans, through the RCMP Veterans’ Association, to play a role in the consecration of the new Guidon and the laying-up of the retired Guidon.
I look forward to hearing from you all more in Charlottetown.