That, in the opinion of the House, in light of the upcoming centennial of the Canadian Navy, the government should consider reinstating the Navy executive curl on its uniforms.
Mr. Speaker, as the proud member of Parliament for Stormont—Dundas—South Glengarry, I am very honoured to speak in the House today to my private member's motion, Motion No. 459, which would introduce the executive curl on the navy uniforms.
I have had the pleasure to serve in the House of Commons for nearly six years now and this job has been a most rewarding experience for me. As members of Parliament in this chamber, we are always working on a wide range of issues. In my work here on Parliament Hill, I discovered what I feel is a small but important issue that I would like to correct through the private members' business process.
While the legislation may seem small and simple to some, it would mean a very great deal to many of our veterans, historians and military enthusiasts from coast to coast to coast.
I want to start by offering a preamble, a history of sorts, about how this motion came forward. When the Canadian Forces were amalgamated on February 1, 1968, the Royal Canadian Navy, the Canadian Army and the Royal Canadian Air Force ceased to exist as separate entities. As a result, the new amalgamated Canadian Forces moved to adopt one uniform for all three elements of the service.
The navy uniform, in particular, lost one of its very unique traditions which distinguished it from the two junior services. The navy executive curl, also known as Elliott's Eye, was removed from the sleeve of naval officers' uniforms. This left Canada as the only blue water navy in the world whose officers did not sport either an executive curl, a stylized national emblem, a nautical icon or a star in its ranking scheme.
It is important for us to realize that for members of the Canadian Forces, the navy being no exception, these small details and the traditions associated with them bring much pride and esprit de corps. Even members of the Canadian Coast Guard wear a maple leaf with their rank insignia with the original intention to set itself apart from the navy and its executive curl.
The tradition of the navy incorporating the executive curl is a long one. In 1856, the Royal Navy instituted an executive curl and when the Canadian Navy was created in 1910, it adopted the curl as well. In fact, of the 22 countries in the Commonwealth who maintain a navy, 18 of them incorporate the executive curl into their ranking system. This loss of the executive curl on the navy uniform meant a loss of some of the identity of the navy.
I believe the timing of the motion is significant and important as well. With the 100th anniversary of the Canadian Navy, what better time to right this wrong and reincorporate the executive curl into the uniform of the navy? That is why I am here today to ask the House to support my efforts. This motion is aimed to give the navy back part of its identity lost in 1968 and to support the men and women of the Canadian Forces.
I look forward to discussions here in the House in the coming weeks and I hope I can count on all members to support this small yet important and meaningful request to introduce the executive curl to the navy uniform.
On a personal note, many times in the last six years when I have assisted at the Significance of the Battle of the Atlantic that is acknowledged every year, and I speak with naval veterans at the Cornwall Navy Club or other navy clubs, there is so much pride, so much history there and they are so proud of the fact that they served in the Canadian Navy.
A member in my own family, my deceased elder brother who served seven years in the Canadian Navy, was very proud of his naval tradition. I can remember as a 10-year-old, when my brother joined the navy and came home in that wonderful uniform that sailors so proudly wore, how proud I was to walk down the street to the candy store or wherever with my big brother, the sailor. A friend of mine who also served in the navy is in assistance today.
For those veterans, those people who served this country so well and for so long, I am asking the House to endorse this motion. Our navy has a strong and proud tradition and I hope the House will recognize it.