September 5, 2014
By RCAF public affairs

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

Honorary Colonel McKennitt previously served as the honorary colonel of 435 Transport and Rescue Squadron, located at 17 Wing Winnipeg, Manitoba. She will now report directly to the commander of the RCAF, Lieutenant-General Yvan Blondin, who is located at National Defence Headquarters in Ottawa.

“I have known Ms McKennitt since her appointment as honorary colonel in Winnipeg in 2006,” said Lieutenant-General Blondin. “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.”

Honorary Colonel McKennitt, a Grammy and Juno awards nominee, is a world-renowned singer, songwriter and producer and has sold more than 14 million records worldwide.

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

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

She was appointed as honorary colonel of 435 Transport and Rescue Squadron in 2006.

“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,” said Honorary Colonel McKennitt.

“It is they who have afforded us this life of liberty, privilege and affluence.”

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. They are vital to fostering esprit de corps within the family. The rank is “honorary and advisory”, and does not confer authority or command function.