Canadian Symbols of Authority
Christopher McCreery & Corinna Pike
Dundurn Press, 2011
This is the first book to examine the various symbols of authority used by The Queen, her representatives the Governor General and the Lieutenant Governors, and the federal, provincial and territorial legislatures. The parliamentary maces used throughout Canada, like the Crown, embody continuity in an ever-changing political world. They are not symbols of a foreign land imposed upon Canada, but rather they are like old friends that are part of the Canadian symbolic and ceremonial lexicon. They have also adapted to the Canadian context and thus been made symbols of the nation.
Despite this rich symbolic and ceremonial heritage, little is known and even less understood about the various maces, chains of offices and batons that are used throughout Canada. Aside from a few pamphlets, the objects and offices discussed in this book have only been seen from a distance by Canadians, yet they comprise not only symbols of democracy and authority but are part of the rich heraldic and artistic heritage of Canada. Given that these symbols have been developed at different times over the past two centuries, each is a token of the age during which it was created. Similar in form, but unique in their symbolism, Canada’s chains of office and maces are physical representations of not only specific offices and legislative bodies, but are also an integral part of our ceremonial history. Sovereigns, Governors General and Prime Ministers come and go over time, but a number of maces, such as that used by the Senate, date back to a time when Canada was little more than a sparsely populated strip of land along the St. Lawrence.