Historically, the measure of a sovereign’s strength was his army, and royal representatives were often military men.
In New France, Governor Generals were military leaders. After the Conquest, the first Governors and their assistants, called "lieutenant governors," were also frequently from the ranks of the military.
Even after the birth of Confederation in 1867, the tradition continued in Québec. Among the Lieutenant Governors who served in the army and the air force are Major General the Honourable Sir Eugène Fiset (military physician), Colonel the Honourable Gilles Lamontagne (air pilot) and Colonel the Honourable Hugues Lapointe (infantry officer).
In keeping with military tradition, officers, called "Aides-de-Camp," escorted their superiors on official outings. Since 1867, the Lieutenant Governors of the provinces have been entitled to this privilege as well.
The term "honorary" signifies that the Aide-de-Camp in question is not paid for his or her services. Not only are Aides-de-Camp present at official events, but they take part in the preparations by assisting the organizers who receive the Lieutenant Governor.
In the past, Aides-de-Camp were senior officers who could be recruited only from the navy, the army, or the air force (Primary Reserve, Regular Forces, Supplementary Reserve and Cadet Instructor Cadre). More recently, officers from other organizations (Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Sûreté du Québec, municipal police forces, fire protection services, and St. John Ambulance Brigade) have been appointed.
When on duty and in the presence of the Lieutenant Governor, Aides-de-Camp must wear their uniforms and royal aiguillettes.
In 1973, the Governor General of Canada authorized the use of the initials "A. de C." for the duration of the term of office of Lieutenant Governor’s Aides-de-Camp.
For further information, see the chapter on military tradition in the illustrated book entitled L’histoire du Québec à travers ses lieutenants-gouverneurs, available at Publications du Québec outlets.