Introduction

Over the past decade we have noticed a rampant increase in the number of people who are wearing their orders, decorations and medals incorrectly. The cadre of people who flagrantly violate the official rules on how you are supposed to wear your medals ranges from the average veteran right up to former Governors General. Indeed, there is much evidence to suggest that the higher the rank of the individual the more likely they are to just wear whatever they want, however they want. I like to think of this as “Instant Dictator Syndrome” or self-aggrandizement at its most obvious.

Why do people wear their medals incorrectly? Often it is because they simply do not know any better. If you are one of these people you should consult WEARING ORDERS, DECORATIONS AND MEDALS which is available from the Chancellery of Honours at Rideau Hall. This guide will help you figure out how you are supposed to wear your officially granted orders, decorations and medals.

When it comes to wearing your medals incorrectly the worst offenders tend to be former Governors General, Lieutenant Governors and retired Generals. When these people – all in authority and all surrounded by staff who know better – wear their medals wrong they are obviously suffering from the dreaded Instant Dictator Syndrome. The attitude accompanied with this most severe condition is “the more medals I wear the more important I will look.”

This simple blog is aimed at revealing the myriad of fellow Canadians who cannot seem to wear their medals correctly.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

OFFENDER OF THE MONTH: Adrienne Clarkson of the PPCLI

Since coming into public office as Governor General of Canada in October 1999, The Right Honourable Adrienne Clarkson, PC, CC, CMM, COM, CD, has made it her life's work to wear her orders, decorations and medals incorrectly.

The litany of Clarkson errors dates back to her first official portrait as Governor General where she was pictured wearing her Order of Canada insignia on a full length investiture ribbon -- like a giant olympic medal. Our post of October 2010 "The Clarkson Years and Beyond" catalogues the Clarksonian medal wearing stupidity that no mandarin at Rideau Hall or the Department of National Defence ever deigned to correct.

How sad that she has continued this quest to offend the rules for wearing medals as the Colonel-in-Chief of one of our most auspicious regiments, The Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry. As the venerable and valorious PPCLI celebrate the centennial of their establishment members of the Canadian Armed Forces and the general public have been subjected to regular appearances by Mme. Clarkson, invariably wearing his medals incorrectly. 

What is Clarkson doing wrong? She is wearing her Companion of the Order of Canada around the neck while also wearing her Commander of the Order of Military Merit on her shoulder on a bow. The rules for wearing orders, decorations and medals in Canada require that she can only wear one of these insignia at a time.
The Rt. Hon Adrienne Clarkson,
once again doubling up with her CC around the neck and CMM on a bow, all at the same time. 
It is unfortunate that no one in the entire Canadian Armed Forces has yet bothered to inform her of the constant error and embarrassment that she is causing, not only to herself but the PPCLI and the CF as a whole. 

Perhaps more worrisome -- is the likelihood that she has been informed of the repeated errors, but simply does not care. Evidence of the dreaded INSTANT DICTATOR SYNDROME. An inability to respect and adhere to the ceremonies and traditions of the CF, and the rules for wearing medals issued by the office she once served, should certainly disqualify her for the position of Colonel-in-Chief. If Mme. Clarkson doesn't like the rule that she cannot wear a full size Order insignia around the neck and a full size Order insignia on a bow simultaneously, then she should petition to have the rule changed rather than just breaking the rule.
Major, you should speak to your Colonel-in-Chief and let her know she is wearing her medals wrong.
Basic training for an Aide de Camp/Equerry is ensuring that your principal is properly turned out.

Let us hope that at some point during the PPCLI's Centennial Year that a well informed member of the Regiment will take it upon themselves to inform their Colonel-in-Chief that she needs to correct her order of dress and the manner in which she has been wearing her insignia. Lady Patricia Ramsay, for whom the PPCLI is named, and her illustrious father, HRH Field Marshal the Duke of Connaught, would certainly not be amused with what has become of the Colonel-in-Chief of their beloved Regiment. 

After so many years of suffering from Instant Dictator Syndrome, is it possible that Clarkson in incurable of this terrible affliction?