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"Ready, Aye, Ready"

11/05/06 | by Adam | Categories: Canadian

As we approach the sombre memorial of November 11th, Remembrance Day, I thought I'd take a moment to comment on the title I chose for the weblog.

"Ready, Aye, Ready" is a very Canadian term. It's been used a number of times in Canada's political history, initially as a rallying cry for the Empire loyalists and then later as a warning about Canada's lack of foreign policy independence. Coined originally by Wilfred Laurier as Canada prepared to join Britain and France in the First World War, it was later used by Arthur Meighan when trying to induce Canada to enter a conflict against Turkey in 1922. The latter was written off as a jingoistic endeavour and the slogan became tainted with the feeling of a blind following of another country's politics. It reappeared in 1956 during a debate over Canada's role in the Suez Canal Crisis where its new meaning was cemented by Lester Pearson:
It is equally bad to be a colonial chore boy running around shouting "Ready, aye, ready."

To me, the discarding of the term was a critical move towards Canada becoming its own country, and not merely a colony or satellite state of another. It was an important step in letting Canada define itself.

So back to the connection to Remembrance Day. Canadian soldiers are our soldiers. They represent Canada; they are not playing pieces for other countries. They should be honoured for being willing to die to protect and defend Canada. We should remember why Canada has deployed them; we should understand why they served and why they died. They are not figures in a wargame; they are not numbers in a spreadsheet. We don't send them to battle based on a shallow slogan. They are Canadians. This is the purpose of Remembrance Day. This is why we remember them.



Comment from: Eric Brown [Visitor]  
Eric Brown

The first time I saw “READY AYE READY” was at Leadership School in HMCS Cornwallis over 40 years ago. It was inspiring then and it’s inspiring now.

02/18/16 @ 14:53
Comment from: Gerry Haliburton [Visitor]
Gerry Haliburton

One of the mottos of the Royal Regiment of Canada, from its ancestor, the 10th Battalion, Royal Grenadiers.

03/12/17 @ 22:31
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"Ready, Aye, Ready" was a slogan used by Canadian politicians to indicate Canada's willingness to assist the British Empire in any conflict. It remains in use as a motto for some of the Canadian military. It has almost nothing to do with the content of this blog.


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