I’ve been planning this for a while, but the project kept getting bigger and bigger as I went on. It’s going to keep growing, but I figured now’s as good a time as any to put this out there. So this here’s a glossary of terms specific to Canada, the Canadian Armed Forces, and the novel Uprising which I hope will help those of you who aren’t familiar with some of them.
As long as it is, I already know it’s going to be an incomplete list. The idea here is to put out as many terms as I can think of, then add to it as I go along. I’m going to include this in the Featured Articles under the Blog Title, with an updated month/year as I add more to it.
Please use the comment section to this post to ask any questions or point out any shortcomings you may have.
AADC – Aboriginal Affairs & Development Canada. One of the incarnations of the federal ministry in charge of First Nations issues. See also DIAND, and INAC.
Aboriginal – One of the more modern terms for Canadian Indigenous people, Aboriginal replaced Indian as the official term in government and official usage. It is gradually being phased out in favour of Indigenous or First Nations, as Aboriginal is more associated with the indigenous peoples of Australia. It is still a very commonly used term, and shows up in a lot of government and academic literature. It was also the term most commonly in use when Uprising was written.
AIM – American Indian Movement. A militant civil rights movement for Indigenous people in the US that emerged during the 1970s. Most well known for their occupation of Alcatraz and a standoff with US and Tribal police and military at Wounded Knee.
Airborne Regiment – This was the Canadian Special Forces back in the 1960s through to the 90s. It was disbanded in 1995 following the scandal of the Somalia Affair. It was replaced (in real life) by the Canadian Special Operations Regiment (CSOR, often pronounced ‘see sore’) and in the novel Uprising by the Canadian Special Service Regiment (CSSR). The original Airborne Regiment members wore the maroon paratrooper beret, while real life CSOR members wear a tan coloured one. There’s no word in Uprising as to what CSSR wears.
Akwesasne – One of three major Reserves of the Haudenosaunee nation (often called the Mohawk nation). With a population of over fifteen thousand, Akwesasne is unique in that they actually straddle the modern US-Canada border. It is just across the St Lawrence seaway from the City of Cornwall.
AOR – Area Of Responsibility.
Balkans – The region of eastern Europe comprising of the former Yugoslavia that was the theatre of operations for multiple peacekeeping missions after that state collapsed in the 1990s. This includes missions in Croatia, Bosnia, Sarajevo, Kosovo and so on under both the UN and NATO. There are dozens of names for the multitude of missions that took place over that decade, but it’s common today to refer to these missions collectively as ‘the Balkans missions.’
Band – A subdivision of a First Nation, usually tied to geography and typically to a Reserve. A Band will usually have its own Chief, council, and financial structure. In the case of larger Bands, they may even have a police force.
Battle Group (BG) – Usually, an infantry force (usually three or four companies) augmented by artillery, engineer, and armoured elements. The effect is that of a smaller force with the capabilities and firepower of a much larger force.
Bison – A eight-wheeled light armoured vehicle similar to (but smaller) than the LAV III. Its armament consisted of two machine guns mounted in a 1-metre turret (literally, the turret is one meter in diameter). The Bison is mostly phased out of use today, although there are EW, Ambulance, and Vehicle Recovery variants still in regular usage.
Bloc Quebecois – The Federal wing of the Quebec separatist movement. Often simply called ‘the Bloc’ their Party colour is light blue.
Blow Pipe – A 1980s-era man portable laser-guided surface-to-air missile, meant primarily to engage low flying aircraft such as helicopters. Although effective for its time, it was considered a short-range, high-profile weapon, in that the missile launch was easily spotted from the air, making the gunner holding it a tempting target for any other aircraft not targeted. It has since been replaced by a new system made by Javelin.
C-4 – The standard plastic explosive used by the CAF. C-4 comes in 1-kg blocks that resemble really dense modelling clay and can be packed together or otherwise moulded to whatever shape is desired. It is very stable and requires a detonator or primer cord to set off.
C6 GPMG – A medium or ‘General Purpose’ machine gun similar to the American M240. It fires a heavier 7.62mm bullet and although it can be a one man weapon, it typically requires two soldiers to operate efficiently.
C7 service rifle – The C7 (as well as the C7A1 & C7A2) is the standard issue service rifle in the CAF. Based off of the American M-16A1, the original C7 was brought into service during the mid-1980s and featured the same metal carrying handle that the M-16 had during the Viet Nam War. The C7A1 was upgraded in the early 90s to remove the handle and install the C-79 optical sight in its place. This was the rifle used during the post-Cold War missions in the Balkans and Africa. The C7A2 came in the mid-2000s and featured a green stock, collapsible butt and extra mounting rails for accessories.
C9 LMG – A light machine gun similar to the American M249 or the British Minimi. It fires the same 5.56mm round as the C7 and is light enough to serve as a personal weapon.
CAF/CF – Canadian Armed Forces and Canadian Forces. The former acronym was in use through the 1980s into the 90s when it was shortened to CF. The military was re-named the CAF in the mid-2000s and has carried this name ever since. In Uprising, Douglas Bland uses CF primarily, and although it’s now changed to CAF, a lot of people (myself included) still use either CF or just ‘Forces’ out of habit.
Caledonia – The site of another standoff between Ontario Provincial Police and Mohawks that saw Mohawk protestors and warriors occupying a subdivision that was partially occupied by local homeowners. The OPP were operating under a cloud after the Ipperwash inquiry, and were reluctant to engage the protestors/warriors when they aggressively took over the subdivision. This led to a prolonged period of harassment for the residents, and the criticism that the police were unwilling to confront militant natives due to political correctness. Caledonia appears to be a major driving theme behind Bland’s Uprising.
Carl-Gustav (‘Mighty Carl-G’) – Officially called the SRAAW(M) (Short Range Anti-Armour Weapon Medium) Resembling a WW II-era bazooka, the Carl-G is an 84mm shoulder fired medium anti-tank gun. An older system that has been recently updated, it is not considered powerful enough to defeat heavy armour but it still has its uses against light armour and built up positions. The weapon has a tremendous kick, as well as back-blast, and the gunner often needs to be braced by their loader if they have to fire standing up.
CDS – Chief of Defence Staff. The General. The highest ranking officer in the CAF, the CDS would be the equivalent of a five-star General in America, and is a position appointed by the civilian government, typically for a three year period.
CFB – Canadian Forces Base
Chinook – A twin-rotor heavy transport helicopter capable of carrying a platoon (30+ soldiers) and lifting several tons of cargo. The name itself derives from the name of a sudden warm front that can strike during a Prairie winter, causing the temperature to rise rapidly in a matter of minutes.
Conservative Party – The federal centre-right party in federal Canadian politics. Formed from an amalgamation between the Progressive Conservative and Reform Parties (they were briefly called the Alliance Party) they won power in 2006 under Stephen Harper and held it through until 2015. They inherited the nickname ‘Tories’ and retained the colour blue from the PC.
Coyote – A eight wheeled light armoured vehicle similar to the LAV III with a heavier turret than the Bison, used as a reconnaissance vehicle in the CAF. Although it carries a heavier armament, it’s main role is its advanced detection equipment which includes a periscope-like ‘mast’ which can be raised so that the crew can search for the enemy from behind a hill or crest.
CSOR – Canadian Special Operations Regiment. Canada’s special forces regiment. Raised as a replacement to the Airborne Regiment.
CSSR – Canadian Special Service Regiment. The name used for CSOR in the novel Uprising. At the time of writing, the new Regiment had not yet been formally named.
DIAND – Department of Indian Affairs & Northern Development. One of the previous incarnations of the government ministry dealing with Indigenous and First Nations issues. DIAND is the name held by the ministry for most of its existence. See also INAC, AADC,
DND – Department of National Defence. The combined civil and military entity that runs the CAF. Answering to the Minister of National Defence (an elected Member of Parliament) and run by the CDS (Chief of Defence Staff) and the DMND (Deputy Minister of National Defence). At the time Uprising was written, DND was based in NDHQ, located just across the Rideau Canal from Parliament Hill and Ottawa City Hall.
Dumont, Gabriel – The Métis field commander of the North West Rebellion (and inspiration for Alex Gabriel’s character name) Gabriel Dumont was popularly seen as the ‘down-to-earth’ opposite of Louis Riel’s messianic fervour.
ECM – Electronic Counter Measures. A branch of EW which describes any means of disrupting an enemy’s electronic communications. Classically, this refers to the jamming of radio signals but in the 21st century it can include cell phone signals, Wi-Fi networks, etc…
Emergency Measures Act – Legislation introduced in the 1970s after the October Crisis to replace the War Measures Act, which then PM Pierre Elliot Trudeau invoked as a response to the FLQ. Instead of the all-or-nothing deal of the War Measure Act, the Emergency Measures Act allowed for a graduated response to a crisis, with increasing levels of severity.
EW – Electronic Warfare. A term covering a huge spectrum of tasks performed by the Signallers, including detection, decoding, jamming, spoofing and so forth. A complex field with multiple layers of paranoia, and second guessing, EW specialists were among the first CAF units to deploy in the Oka Crisis, working with Police to intercept Mohawk radio transmissions.
FLQ – Front Liberation Quebecois. The liberation front of Quebec. A French nationalist terrorist organization of the 1960s with Marxist leanings responsible for a number of bombings and kidnapping in 1970. The kidnappings would precipitate the October Crisis that would see the organization quashed.
First Nations – The preferred term for the ethnic/cultural/language groups of Indigenous people in Canada. The First Nations are themselves sub divided by region (e.g.: Northern Cree vs Plains Cree) and by Band (e.g.: Akwesasne Mohawk vs. Kanesetake Mohawk) and so forth.
G-Wagon – Also called the LUVW (Light Utility Vehicle, Wheeled or ‘love dubya’) this is essentially a closed-cab jeep that can be armoured up for deployments to make them resistant to small arms fire. The standard variant was designed with an open turret to allow a gunner to man a pintle mounted C6 GPMG. It was used as a replacement for the Iltis in Afghanistan for several rotations until Taliban IEDs became sophisticated enough to overwhelm the armour plating, at which point they were replaced by the RG-33s/Nyalas.
Gagetown – A Canadian Forces Base located about fifty kilometres outside of Fredricton. Gagetown is the home of all four combat-arms schools as well as 2 RCR.
Griffon – A single rotor helicopter, looking like a smaller version of the American Blackhawk used as a light transport by the RCAF. Capable of carrying a section (eight) soldiers.
Hercules/C-130 – A medium range four engine transport aircraft used by the RCAF. The ‘Herc’ has been in service in multiple countries for decades, and is famous for its ability to take off and land on short or broken runways.
IED – Improvised Explosive Device. Although technically this term covers any kind of homemade bomb, in the CAF today IED typically refers to ‘roadside bombs’ employed against ISAF by the Taliban during the Afghan War. These also include VBIEDs (Vehicle-Born IEDs; car bombs) and SVBIEDs (Suicide Vehicle-Born IEDs; car bombs driven by suicide bombers).
Iltis – The standard CAF jeep for the 1980s and 90s, the Iltis was a small, open topped vehicle with removable doors that was known for its agility and versatility. Although it only had a four cylinder engine, it’s small size gave it a good power-to-mass ratio and made it a very handy little vehicle. However it was designed for service in a conventional war, and as such had no armour plating whatsoever. It was quickly phased out of service with the start of the Afghan War, when two high-profile attacks against Canadian troops riding in Iltis resulted in three deaths.
INAC – Indian & Norther Affairs Canada. One of the later incarnations of the ministry dealing with Indigenous and First Nations issues. See also DIAND & AADC. This was the named used around the time that Douglas Bland was writing Uprising, and as such will be used frequently in the deconstruction.
Indian – This is a complicated term in Canada because, while it’s colloquial use by ‘white’ people is generally considered racist, it is still an official legal term within the government and the treaty system. The Indian Act (first passed in 1876 and heavily amended in 1951) still has legal force in Canada, and the category of ‘Status: Indian’ is a legal category held by over a million Canadians with full or partial Indigenous ancestry.
Indigenous – As opposed to indigenous (with a lower-case i) the term Indigenous is now the acceptable term for the First Nations of Canada. Although many government departments (including the CAF) still use Aboriginal, the change over to Indigenous is progressing, albeit at the speed of government (slowly).
Ipperwash – The name given to a First Nations protest and the government inquiry which followed. Occurred in 1995 when protestors from the Kettle Point First Nations Reserve occupied their former land on a decommissioned CFB. The protest turned violent when the OPP riot squad attempted to drive out the protestors, leading to one protestor (Dudley George) being shot dead. The inquiry into police conduct that night would become a major scandal for the then Progressive Conservative Provincial government.
ISAF – International Stabilization & Assistance Force. The official name for the multi-national force in which Canada participated during the Afghan War.
JTF-2 – Joint Task Force 2. The highly classified Canadian joint special forces unit. They do the cool, spooky stuff.
LAV – Light Armoured Vehicle. Currently, the standard armoured transport in the CAF is the LAV III, a 17-ton eight wheeled armoured vehicle with a large, enclosed turret. An extremely versatile and dependable design, the basic model was meant to work with a crew of three and carry an additional six troops in the back. For armament it has a 25mm cannon and C6 GPMG mounted in the turret, and often has a C9 LMG on a pintle mount outside the crew commander’s hatch. Two similar armoured vehicles – the Bison and the Coyote – are often mistaken for LAV IIIs although they are smaller and lighter. The LAV III is currently being phased out in favour of the newer and heavier LAV VI.
Liberal Party of Canada – The centre-left party of Canadian politics, often referred to as the ‘Grits.’ At the Federal level they are pan-Canadian with a strong support base in Quebec. The Party’s colour is Red.
LSVW – Logistics and Support Vehicle, Wheeled. A four wheeled, 5/4 ton truck typically with a canvas covered cargo bed. The smaller cousin of the MLVW and renown for having squealing brakes that can wake the dead.
M113 – A light armoured personnel carrier – resembling a metal box on tank tracks – which was the standard APC for the CAF from the 1970s until well into the 90s. Typically equipped with a .50 cal or C6 for defence. The M113 was replaced by the LAV III and the Bison in the 1990s. Many M113s can be seen in film footage of the Oka Crisis.
Machine Gun (LMG/GPMG/HMG) – An automatic weapon firing rifle-calibre bullets (or higher). Typically this weapon must be mounted on a bipod, tripod or vehicle for stability, and fires ammunition linked together in an extended belt. Used to deliver high volumes of automatic fire at long range.
Meathead – A derogatory slang term for Military Police. Term derives from the red berets worn.
Medak Pocket, the Battle of – Name given to a prolonged firefight between UN peacekeepers and Croatian forces in 1993 during the dissolution of Yugoslavia. 2 PPCLI was the primary Canadian unit involved in the fighting.
Metis – A term with multiple meanings in Canada, whose origins come from the French colonial period. In literal terms, a Metis person is someone of mixed heritage, possessing both Indigenous and European ancestry. While a fairly large percentage of the Canadian population can claim some Indigenous heritage, the common usage of the term implies fairly close relatives (parent or grandparent) and/or that the individual has close ties with a particular Indigenous nation.
The term also applies to members of specific Metis Nations who developed as unique nations and societies, particularly in the prairie Provinces (see Riel, Louis). Several of these Metis nations now have status under the Indian Act.
Militia – So this is one that always gets weird looks from Americans, but one of the older terms for the CAF Primary Reserves is Militia. Going back to the 18th century in some cases, this was an actual term on the books until the late 90s, and it’s still commonly used today. We’re the ‘citizen soldiers’ that augment the regular force for war.
MLVW – Medium Logistics Vehicle, Wheeled. A six-wheeled, 2.5 ton truck, typically with a cargo bed covered with a canvas tarp which has been in service since the 1980s. It is now being replaced by the MSVS, but many remain in service in the CAF. At the time Uprising was being written, the MLVW was ubiquitous.
MLA – Member of the Legislative Assembly. A Provincial MP from a Province which has a Legislature instead of Provincial Parliament (e.g.: Manitoba).
MNA – Minister of the National Assembly. A Provincial MP from Québec. Their Provincial legislature is called the National Assembly (a holdover from when Canada was a French colony).
MP – Either a Military Police, or Member of Parliament.
MPP – Member of Provincial Parliament.
NCM – Non-Commissioned Member. A member of the Canadian Armed Forces who is not a Commissioned officer. This term includes everyone from your brand new untrained Private to a Chief Warrant Officer (supreme boss NCO).
NCO – Non-Commissioned Officer. An enlisted soldier who has undergone leadership training and is promoted to a leadership position over other troops. They range from Master Corporal to Chief Warrant Officer.
NDP – The New Democratic Party. The further-left/pro-union party in Canadian politics, once popularly called ‘the Dippers.’ Although they have been a driving force behind many issues, the NDP has never won at the Federal level, and only occasionally at the Provincial level. The Party colour is Orange. An NDP victory is jokingly called ‘an Orange Crush.’
Oka/Oka Crisis – A town in Quebec just west of Montreal that was the scene of a prolonged armed standoff between Mohawk Warriors and police that ultimately involved the mobilization of the CF. Beginning with the peaceful occupation of a local cemetery at ‘The Pines’ to prevent the expansion of a golf course, the situation turned violent when the SQ raided the camp and got into a shoot out with the Mohawk Warriors there, resulting in the death of an SQ officer. The resulting standoff escalated to the point of including the near by reserve of Kahnawake (south of Montreal) and Kanesetake (a bit further west). When the threats of violence by the warriors and actual violence by the local white population (at one point a white mob killed an elderly Mohawk man) pushed beyond the police ability to control, the CAF was called in.
Although the standoff eventually ended without further deaths, there were a number of close calls, and numerous small scale confrontations that resulted in injuries, largely on the Mohawk side.
October Crisis – Name given to a series of kidnappings carried out by the FLQ in the fall of 1970 which led then PM Pierre Elliot Trudeau to invoke the War Measures Act (a piece of WW I legislation) to suspend civil liberties and deploy the CAF into Québec. Although heavily criticized, the act crushed the FLQ without further violence. The only two fatal casualties of the crisis being those killed by the FLQ.
OPP – Ontario Provincial Police.
Parliament – Name given to the Federal Legislature of Canada, our primary governing body. Divided into the House of Commons (elected representatives) and the Senate (appointed representatives), the term is usually synonymous with the House of Commons.
Parti Québecois – The Provincial wing of the Québec separatist movement.
‘Passing’ – Indigenous (or other visible minorities) able to pass themselves off as ‘white’ despite not having a European background. Obviously this is a very loaded issue.
PC Party – The Progressive Conservative Party. The name for the centre-right party in Canadian Provincial politics, often referred to as ‘Tories.’ The Federal PC party amalgamated with the Reform Party to form the Alliance Party, later re-named the Conservative Party. The PC Party colour is Blue (this is the same for the newer Conservative Party).
Petawawa – A Canadian Forces Base located approximately two hundred kilometres west of Ottawa. Over a century old, it is one of the primary bases in central Canada and the home to several regular force regiments, as well as a helicopter air wing.
Picket – A guard or sentry.
PPCLI – “the Patricias” Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry. One of the three regular force infantry regiments in the CAF. It is composed of three Battalions, predominantly english-speaking, and draws its recruits from western Canada.
R22iemeR – “the Van Doos.” Regiment Veint Deuxieme Royal. One of the three regular force infantry regiments in the CAF. It is composed of three Battalions and is the only primarily French-speaking infantry regiment in the regular force, drawing its recruits from Quebec. The nickname “Van Doo” arises from the English-Canadian habit of mispronunciation, being a mangling of the French word Veint-Deux (twenty two).
RCA/RCHA – Royal Canadian Artillery/Royal Canadian Horse Artillery. In the time that Uprising was being written, the RCA was phasing out the M109 (self-propelled 155mm howitzer) in favour of the M777 (towed 155mm howitzer). Reserve RCA units were equipped with C3s (towed 105mm howitzers) and 81mm Mortars.
RCAF – Royal Canadian Air Force. At the time that Uprising was being written, the main aircraft were CF-18s, Hercules transport planes, as well as Griffon & Chinook helicopters.
RCAF – Royal Canadian Air Farce. A radio comedy troupe first established in the 1970s that would have a regular TV show in the 1990s.
RCE – Royal Canadian Engineers. Soldiers specializing in the use of heavy tools (chainsaws, jackhammers), tractors, mine-clearing & bridge-laying equipment, and explosives.
RCMP – Royal Canadian Mounted Police. The federal police force of Canada. Established to patrol the Canadian Prairies, they were originally called the North West Mounted Police (NWMP).
RCR – Royal Canadian Regiment. One of the three regular force infantry regiments in the CAF. It is composed of three Battalions, is predominantly english-speaking, and (mostly) draws its recruits from central and eastern Canada.
Reform Party – A further right party based primarily in English speaking western Canada which saw its first major success at the Federal level in the election of 1993. Led first by Preston Manning, then Stockwell Day, the party would merge with the Federal PC Party to form the Alliance Party, later re-named the Conservative Party.
Residential Schools – An educational system set up to assimilate Canada’s Indigenous people into the dominant colonial culture. While individual institutions varied in their conduct, many of these schools were abusive towards their students and the practice resulted in several generation’s worth of harm and trauma. While it is important to stress that not all schools were actively abusive, it is also important to remember that their intended purpose was the elimination of Indigenous culture and language through the isolation of native children from their families and indoctrination into ‘white’ culture.
RG-33/34 – Also called the Nyala, the RGs were specially build mine-resistant vehicles employed by the CAF during the Afghan War.
Riel, Louis – The Métis leader of what became known as the Red River and North West Rebellions. Although his historical achievements were a mixed bag, he has become synonymous with First Nations (and in some cases French Catholic) resistance to European/Anglo/’white’/Protestant colonialism.
Royal Canadian Legion – A Canada-wide Veterans’ organization founded in the aftermath of World War I. Much like the Canadian regimental system, Legion Halls can be found in almost every small town across Canada.
SQ – Sureté du Québec. Literally ‘security of Quebec.’ The Québec Provincial police force.
Sigs – Short for ‘Signallers.’ CAF soldiers who specialize in radios, communications, cryptography, and EW.
Sixties Scoop – A disastrous social policy that went into high gear during the 1960s in Canada (it had existed before, but got much worse in the 60s) in which babies and young children in First Nations families deemed ‘unfit’ to raise them were forcibly taken away without due process and adopted into ‘white’ families. The result was a generation of traumatized families and children who grew up never having known their biological parents or their heritage.
Technical – A civilian vehicle (usually a pick up truck) that has been rebuilt into a improvised fighting vehicle. Most commonly by mounting a machine gun on a pintle to allow a fighter standing in the back to fire.
Valcartier, CFB – A CAF base located just outside of Québec City. It is the home of the Van Doos Regiment, and one of the major training establishments in the CAF.
Van Doo – See R22iemeR.
Viceroy – The Governor General of Canada. The term is literally an abbreviation of ‘Vice Royal’ literally the second to the Royal head of State.
War Measures Act – A piece of World War I legislation that was invoked by then PM Pierre Elliot Trudeau in response to the FLQ crisis. It essentially allowed the Federal Government to suspend civil liberties entirely as a response to a civil emergency (in this case, the Great War).
Warrant Officer (WO) – Unlike the US military, the rank of WO is one rank higher than a regular Sergeant and fairly common in the CAF (for American readers, they would be E-6s). WOs typically hold senior appointments in units such as Platoon WO, or (sometimes) Company Sergeant Major. The WO’s badge is a large Tudor Crown.
Zulu/Zulu Time/Zulu Harbour – Zulu is the word for the letter Z in the NATO phonetic alphabet. Zulu Time refers to Greenwich Mean Time, which is used as a standard when coordinating operations across multiple time zones (e.g.: ZULU 1437 hrs). A Zulu Harbour is a term for a place of concealment on the battle field where vehicles can shelter after their troops have dismounted.
.50 cal Machine Gun – The heavy machine gun in the CAF arsenal, the M2 .50 cal has seen service in all three elements (land forces, navy, air force) of the CAF since the second world war until the early 2000s. It was briefly divested from the CAF arsenal, only to be reintroduced by popular demand. In the land forces role, it is considered an anti-armour, anti-material weapon more than an anti-personnel weapon. At optimum ranges it can penetrate light armour.