The180

Why Canadians can't be 'Dames' or 'Sirs'-- and why some people want that to change

You know who just got an honorary knighthood from the Queen? Michael Bloomberg, the former mayor of New York City. And you know who was just made an honorary dame? Actress and humanitarian Angelina Jolie. You know who isn't going to be made a knight or a dame by Her Majesty any time soon? You, if you're a Canadian...
Listen8:20

You know who just got an honorary knighthood from the Queen?

Michael Bloomberg, the former mayor of New York City.

And you know who was just made an honorary dame?

Actress and humanitarian Angelina Jolie.

You know who isn't going to be made a knight or a dame by Her Majesty any time soon?

You, if you're a Canadian citizen.

Read on to find out why that is, and take our survey on who you'd like to see honoured if the tradition of knighthood returned to Canada.

As part of the Commonwealth, Canadian citizens are theoretically eligible to receive titular honours from the United Kingdom.

However, in 1919 Canada adopted the Nickle Resolution, which requested that the reigning monarch no longer bestow knighthoods, baronetcies or other titles upon Canadians.

It was the beginning of a long back and forth which has resulted in a practical ban on Canadians accepting British honours.

There are some, however, who would like to see the practice resumed. Canadian monarchist Rafe Heydel-Mankoo is one of them.

"I think its a sign of maturity to actually look at the history of knighthood, and see how countries like Australia and New Zealand, countries which have long ago cut their ties to Britain, have developed uniquely New Zealand and Australian symbols, including their honours system," he says.

"They are forward-looking, progressive dynamic countries that view the honours system as a way to celebrate their national identity."

Knighthood should be a symbol of sovereignty and a way to assert pride in Canada, on the world stage and on the national stage, to honour those people who really are national treasures.Rafe Heydel-Mankoo, former editor of Burke's World Orders of Knighthood and Merit

So who might top Heydel-Mankoo's list of Canadian "national treasures" worthy of a titular honour?

He suggests it would not be untoward to consider a Sir Wayne Gretzky, a Dame Anne Murray, or a Sir Chris Hadfield. (There was even a short-lived campaign to get Chris Hadfield a knighthood, in 2013).

What do you think of those suggestions? Take a moment to take part in our survey!

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.