Select a letter to browse an alphabetical listing of terms and definitions.
War on Terrorism
President George Bush of the United States first used the term shortly after the terrorist attacks targeting the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon in Washington, DC, on 11 September 2001. Outside of the United States, Canada was the first country to be immediately and massively affected within hours of the attacks when American air space was ordered prohibited to all planes by United States authorities and hundreds of flights over the Atlantic and Pacific oceans were diverted to Canadian airports. Within hours, over 30,000 dazed and confused passengers had landed in Canada, the great majority American citizens, mostly in the Atlantic provinces. The Canadian Forces reacted swiftly and efficiently by taking various safeguarding measures while Canadian towns rallied to provide lodging and food for this sudden and massive influx of stranded people. The great surge of sympathy by Canadians towards their American neighbours and friends was somewhat cooled in the following months by what was perceived by many as an American adminstration indifference towards Canada. However, Canadian troops have since been deployed in Afghanistan. Already overcommitted on its United Nations Peacekeeping duties, Canada chose not to join the coalition led by the US and Great Britain for the invasion of Iraq in early 2003. Nevertheless, several Canadian warships were present in the Persian Gulf for duty in the "War on Terrorism" part of the operation. While some irritations remain, recent efforts to harmonize generally cordial relations are considered essential if the armed forces of both countries are to achieve effective North American security against international terrorism.
See also: Canadian-American Relations, United Nations Peacekeeping Forces
Commonwealth serviceman who holds the Royal Warrant and is graded above staff sergeant (flight sergeant in the air forces) and below commissioned officers. Often abbreviated to WO. Examples are the Regimental Sergeant Major (RSM, whose rank is WOI--Warrant Officer, Class 1) and Battery Sergeant Major (BSM, whose rank is WOII--Warrant Officer, Class II). The WOs are known as the "backbone of the Army" in any army, and are equally respected and valued in the navies and air forces.
Instrument for inflicting bodily harm, it is a generic term for tools of warfare on air, land and sea from earliest recorded times. These include edged weapons, firearms and chemical weapons, all of which have been used by the Canadian forces.
See also: Aircraft carrier, Artillery, Armoured Personnel Carrier (APC), Automatic weapon, Battleship, Battle cruiser, Bazooka, Bren gun, Brown Bess, Calibre, Cannon, Corvette, Cruiser, Destroyer, Chemical/Biological Warfare, Flûte, Frigate, Gas, Grenade, Gun, Halftrack, Howitzer, Lee-Enfield rifle, Lewis gun, Machine gun, Missiles, Mine, Monitors, Mortar, 'Pocket' Battleship, Ross rifle, Ship-of-the-line, Shrapnel, Small Arms, SMLE , Sten gun, Submachine gun, Submarine, U Boat
Weights and Measures (historic)
Standardized scales for identifying the size, weight or quantity of an object. These have varied over the centuries and were seldom shared from one nation to the other. In New France, colonial Canada and up to the 1970s, weights and measures were those used by the mother countries. Since the 1970s, Canada has been using the metric system. Regarding historic measures, it is most important to note that the French foot, used in New France, is not the same as the English foot. The French 12 inches is longuer and comes to 12.789 inch, English measure.
The measures of the Pied du Roi, official from 1668 to 1840 were:
- 2 miles for 1 Lieue = 3.898 km
- 1000 Toises for 1 mile = 1.949 km (English = 1.61 km)
- 6 feet for 1 Toise = 1.949 m (English Fathom = 1.83 m)
- 12 inches for 1 foot = 32,484 cm (English = 30.48 cm)
- 12 lines for 1 inch = 2.707 cm (English = 2.54 cm)
The French weight Marc de Troyes system (used 1350-1840) were somewhat heavier than the British ‘Avoir du pois’ system used from 1582:
- 1 livre (pound) = 16 onces (ounces) = 489.41 grams (453.6 grams to 1 British pound)
- 1 once (ounce) = 576 grains = 30.588 grams (28.35 grams to 1 British ounce)
Liquid measures in Canada were those used in France and Britain and should not be confused with American measures. Complete documentation and tables can be found in: Lester A. Rose, Archeological Metrology: English, French, American and Canadian Systems of Weights and Measures for North American Historical Archeology
, Parks Canada, Ottawa, 1983.
Although women have not been part of the military in Canada until the 20th century apart from a few nurses, women have been involved in military Although women have not been an official part of the military in Canada until the 20th century (apart from a few nurses), women have been involved in military affairs from the times of early settlement. In spite of traditional values and role models in nearly all societies, it seems many women settlers in 17th century Canada knew how to handle firearms, as the story of Madeleine de Verchères' 1691 defence of her little fort shows, and there were other incidents involving women ably using firearms. This seems to have decreased in the 18th century. In the late 19th century, the creation of Cadet corps in high schools led to the formation of a few units in girl's schools. There was also an "Amazon Company" of uniformed women volunteers attached to the 62nd Regiment in St. John, New Brunswick, at the time of the Boer War and this may not have been unique. In the regular army, nurses became the first females to be enlisted. Although women other than nurses were present in various "Auxiliary" formations during the First World War, they were not part of the Canadian Army. When the Second World War broke out, thousands of Canadian women again formed auxiliary units. By 1940, an estimated 17,000 women had volunteered in various groups to perform administrative and secretarial tasks, cooking, signalling and mechanical work as well as attending weekly drill parades. They were often instructed in first aid by staff from the Canadian Red Cross, St. John's Ambulance and the Victorian Order of Nurses. Their aim was to fill non-combat jobs and enable more men to join the forces. The various groups, such as the Women's Volunteer Reserve Corps (a Québec unit about 500 strong) often purchased their own uniforms in various styles. Appeals were made to the government to recognize all this good will and it finally did so in July 1941 when a Women's Auxiliary to the Armed Forces of Canada was authorized. This led to the formation of the RCAF "Women's Division" on July 2, 1941, which was the first women's military service unit to be authorized in North America. This was followed by the Canadian Women's Army Corps (CWAC) on August 13, 1941 and the Women's Royal Canadian Naval Service (WRCNS) founded on July 23, 1942. Many were posted overseas until the end of the war, when they were gradually released from military service, the Army's CWAC being disbanded in August 1946, the navy's WRCNS by December 1946 and the RCAF's Women's Division by March 1947. The decision to disband the women's services had been taken somewhat reluctantly. Senior officers in all three services considered the women's role to have been vital and each wanted to retain a cadre of women's services. The government, however, disagreed since it wanted to return as many service persons as possible to civilian life.
The realities of the Cold War and of the Korean War soon brought to light the essential role played by women's services and, in March 1951, the government allowed their rebirth. That year, some 2,600 women joined (or, in some cases, rejoined) the RCAF and the WRCNS was recreated with 369 women. The Army enlisted a thousand women in the reserve force during 1951, which led to the creation of a regular women's corps in 1954. In the following decade, the traditional support role of the women's services (largely clerical) declined due to technological changes so that, by 1965, only a few hundred remained in the forces. Another factor in the decline was society's changing attitude towards the roles of women, a career in the armed forces not being an attractive option for young women. Beginning in 1965, the armed forces opened more career options to women. The 1971 Royal Commission on the Status of Women specifically identified some outdated practices in the Canadian Forces that were then abolished. Canadian women obviously approved of the new status as their numbers in the Canadian Forces went from 1,500 in 1971 to 7,500 by 1985. Integration in all operational roles including combat training has followed, especially from the 1980s.
See also: Canadian Women's Army Corps (CWAC), Nurses (Canadian Military), Royal Canadian Air Force (Women's Division), Women's Royal Canadian Naval Service (WRCNS)