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Loreena McKennitt new RCAF Honorary Colonel

The Bread Guy

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From the Info-machine:
The Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) is proud to announce that Ms. Loreena McKennitt has been appointed as the new honorary colonel (HCol) of the RCAF by the Honorable Rob Nicholson, Minister of National Defence.

Quick Facts

    HCol McKennitt is a world-renowned Grammy- and Juno award-nominated singer, song writer and producer. She has sold more than 14 million records worldwide.

    HCol McKennitt is a Member of the Order of Manitoba (2003), and Member of the Order of Canada (2004). She holds an Honorary Doctor of Letters (Wilfrid Laurier University, 2002), an Honorary Doctor of Laws (University of Manitoba, 2005), an Honorary Doctor of Laws (Queen’s University, 2005), and an Honorary Bachelor of Applied Business (George Brown College, 2010).

    In 1998, HCol McKennitt started the Cook-Rees Memorial Fund for Water Search and Safety after three people very dear to her perished in a boating incident.

    HCol McKennitt was appointed in 2006 as Honorary Colonel of 435 Transport and Rescue Squadron, 17 Wing Winnipeg, Manitoba and will now serve in the capacity of Honorary Colonel for the RCAF. She will report directly to the Commander of the RCAF, Lieutenant-General Yvan Blondin, who is located at National Defence Headquarters in Ottawa.

    Honorary Colonels are integral members of the Air Force family. They may be former Air Force officers or distinguished Canadian citizens, hailing from a diverse range of backgrounds, including many well-known public and community figures. Honorary Colonels are "honorary and advisory". They are vital to fostering esprit de corps within the family.


    “As a successful musician Honorary Colonel McKennitt’s has a demanding career, but she is committed to making time to support our Canadian Armed Forces. I commend her passion and dedication in working with RCAF members at all levels.”
    The Honourable Rob Nicholson, PC, QC, MP for Niagara Falls and Minister of National Defence

    “I have known Ms. McKennitt since her appointment as Honorary Colonel in Winnipeg in 2006. Through the years, I have seen up close the stellar work she has done for the members of 435 Transport and Rescue Squadron. I am extremely proud that she will continue to be part of the RCAF family.”
    Lieutenant-General Yvan Blondin, Commander of the RCAF

    “I am deeply honored to have been appointed Honorary Colonel of the RCAF. Since my direct association with this organization in 2006, I have come to learn that our present Canadian Armed Forces are the extension of the history and traditions of the very brave men and women, who from across this land, fought and died in vast numbers in two great wars and more. It is they who have afforded us this life of liberty, privilege and affluence. “
    Loreena McKennitt, singer, songwriter, producer and Honorary Colonel of the RCAF

From her web page:
.... I have followed Celtic history, not only to provide me with a creative springboard for my music, but as an informal opportunity for self-education by exploring a vast horizon of history. As fascinated as I have been in its various archaic nooks and crannies, I have also seen it as an opportunity to bring forth  themes and perspectives that I believe have a contemporary relevance and of which I knew so little. At the same time it must be accepted that I am no academic or authority, just someone on her own personal path of discovery. For those who wish to follow along, my role might more resemble that of a catalyst or a conduit.

It was in the context of this approach, and partially as a result of setting up The Cook-Rees Memorial Fund for Water Search and Safety in 1998, that in December 2006 I became the Honorary Colonel of 435 Transport and Rescue Squadron in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. It was with immense pride that I accepted this honorary role, knowing full well that what lay ahead of me would be a path of  education that would take me into directions I haven’t, until now, quite anticipated or appreciated.


I have witnessed highly sophisticated, and at times extremely risky, search and rescue exercises; preparations for natural disasters such as floods and fires; the transport of supplies to northern communities and the military bases in the frontiers of our country; the monitoring our national borders; as well as the preparations for the squadron’s transport-specific roles shouldering Canada’s international responsibilities in places such as in Afghanistan and elsewhere.

And yet it has only been through a process of paying greater attention that I have realised that a distinction needs to be made between the government and the military. In Canada, our military is still a relatively neutral instrument instructed by the government of the day, undertaking missions on behalf of Canadians and sometimes other people around the world. Not only was I unaware of all that was going on, I was stunned by the scope of it all and the extent of my own ignorance including who these people are and how they are instructed.


And yet as a neutral body, our forces are vulnerable in a variety of ways. I think it can be safely said that the expectations we have of them likely exceed either the personnel or resources they have to undertake and respond to those expectations, be it domestically or internationally. I have wondered if over the recent decades, as a result of our becoming too comfortable, complacent or ignorant, we have abdicated our responsibility in giving our political representatives the guidance or confidence to equip and direct our military in ways commensurate with our expectations.

In the meantime, a shortage of personnel has resulted in long hours; a resourcefulness born of necessity that defies imagination; and, at times, sacrifices that are nothing short of remarkable. The sacrifices these men and women make on our behalf are not only made by those individuals, but also by their families, who know many hours of uncertainty, absences and at times even the losses of loved ones. No matter how they may have entered into this career path, their commitment is clearly not simply a career choice; it is a way of life that these individuals and their families have chosen, ultimately to build on the incredible legacy we have been bequeathed by our forebears and to contribute to Canada as a society and the world as a whole.

I can confidently say, after speaking with and spending a considerable amount of time with many members of our Canadian military family, they are some of the most caring and devoted individuals I have met in my life ....