Snowbirds to keep their name despite language commissioner complaint over English-only term

National Post | News

Canada’s air force won’t be changing the name of the Snowbirds aerobatic team despite a complaint alleging the nickname violates federal government language laws because it is English-only.

The Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages received a complaint in April 2012 about the Snowbirds name painted on the team’s Tutor jets as well as the unilingual acronym CAF on the wings. (CAF stands for Canadian Armed Forces.)

The complaints sparked discussion at the highest levels of the air force, according to military documents obtained by the Ottawa Citizen under the access-to-information law.

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Dealing with the CAF lettering was not seen as a problem, but altering the 431 Air Demonstration Squadron’s Snowbirds nickname was a major issue.

Air force commander Lt.-Gen. Yvan Blondin was told by his staff that the Snowbirds name originated from the creation of the air demonstration unit in 1971. A “Name the Team” contest…

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