The Legions are Failing.

This is a very clear insight into today’s Legion Branches. Many of the things the author (Michael O’Leary) states I have myself suggested many times locally. This should be distributed to Dominion Command and all local Branches.

How the Legion Halls are Failing Todays Veterans
Michael M. O’Leary
The Royal Canadian Legion (RCL) continues to promote itself as the voice of the Canadian veteran in dealing with the Government and other national agencies. Despite the upsurge of splinter veterans’ groups, admittedly the result of so many ex-service members being made to feel unwelcome in Legion halls because they were not official “big ‘V’ Veterans” under the old rules, the RCL continues to dominate the discussions that influence change, Many of those splinter groups are represented, at the media face of their operations, by angry representatives whose vitriolic speech achieves little but a hardening of the bureaucracy to not be held hostage to empty threats and bombast.
But the Royal Canadian Legion has its own problems. Most significant among these is the disconnect between the institutional goals of the RCL to support and help veterans, and the local goals of Legion branches to sustain brick and mortar Legion halls and their perpetual schedules of dart and euchre tournaments, fish fry dinners, and how to keep the lights on over the horseshoe pits. Increasingly, these Legion branches have been run by committees with no (or very few) ex-serving members among themselves or, in some cases, among their membership at all.
Many Legion branches have reached the point where they have little connection to, or understanding of, the needs of younger veterans as individuals. Most of the veteran care initiatives they have brokered over the past few decades have been geriatric care issues. This lack of connection is especially so in regard to young, newly released (or even still serving) soldiers, sailors and airmen (and women). Much of this disconnect comes from a failure to understand what the Legion hall did in its original conception, and how that served the veterans who frequented them in the early days of the institution.
As anyone who has been watching the explosion of on line discussions about actually helping and supporting new veterans will realize, the most valuable resource they need and capitalize on is effective communication. This is not communications with existing veteran organizations, or with Government agencies, it is communications among themselves. Nothing has changed from the days when their grandfathers and great-grandfathers returned from the wars of their respective generations.

Many of the Legion branches across Canada trace their roots to the years after the First World War or the Second World War. They were formed by local veterans who, by sheer demographic participation, were present in platoon and company and battalion sized groups in large and small towns across the country. I use those specific terms for their groups intentionally. In the First and Second World War, it was most likely that men who knew one another enlisted together. They joined the same units, trained together, and served together. They came home to the same towns, having shared the same experiences, having lost the same friends, and were there to remember and to represent that service and loss to the families of their friends whose sons, brothers and fathers did not return. The evolution of the Legion halls was a natural formation of structure around the soldiers, sailors and airmen with shared service who found comfort and communication among themselves, Their connection was not that they had served, but that they had served together.
Today, new veterans don’t join the Legion, and the Legion doesn’t really understand why. Legion executive members without military service see the Legions as “places where veterans gather” and have no personal experience to understand the essential context of shared experience which leads to the needed levels of inter-communication between veterans. Those executives confuse what the Legion halls became over 60 or 80 years with what their original purpose in supporting returned veterans was. What the modern veteran needs, the current Legion branches with their halls and bars cannot provide.
So, what are the new veterans doing? They are seeking and developing ways to communicate, with each other. Not just with other veterans, but with the veterans they served with, the same benefit those veterans of the World Wars found in their hometown Legion halls with the fellow Legionnaires that they served with. The new veterans are building, in the online environment, exactly what their predecessors used to have. The existing Legion halls have no role in the way this informal communication network is evolving. In fact, the way the new veterans are building their own virtual groups is completely foreign to most of the current generation of Legion executive members and only by radical change will the Royal Canadian Legion be able to repurpose their facilities to serve the new generation of veterans.
The new veterans aren’t looking for bars, they’re probably the first generation of veterans that widely understand that taking your hurting friend to the bar is probably one of the worst options in assisting him in getting help. They also aren’t looking for halls, those Legion branch halls that grew out of the need for the original Legionnaires’ children and grandchildren to have a place for wedding receptions, and to have dances and expanded games events for married Legionnaires as the Branches changed from close-knit veterans support groups into community service clubs. The new veterans are looking for what the original Legion veterans had before worrying about paying an over-extended mortgage on a dilapidated building became the executive’s biggest worry.

In the 1920s, an ex-soldier might go to the Legion hall after work on Friday, and sit at the bar next to the guy he shared a trench dugout with for over three years in France. In the 1950s, his son went to the Legion hall and sat beside the guys he crewed a tank with in Normandy. Today’s veteran walks past the Legion hall in southwestern Ontario, because he knows his fire team partner went back home to Prince George, British Columbia, and they will possibly never have a weekly chat together in person. He also knows that no-one in that hall can fill that role in place of his fire team partner. So he goes home, logs into the internet and asks his buddy on facebook or by email how he is doing, and sends along one of the photos he took of that friend sleeping against a mud brick wall in Afghanistan. They connect, they talk, they check up on one another, but the current Legion hall has no role because its current format does not serve their needs.
Want to revamp your branch’s Legion hall? Sit down with a few of the new veterans (you know the ones, some of them are barely out of their teens) and ask what they’d like to see. It may be time to tear down half your bar and install a modern coffee facility, and train your bartender to be a decent barista. Ask how they talk to their fellow soldiers, the ones they served with that now live a thousand miles away. It may be time to install a wifi network, add internet terminals in quiet rooms, and video conferencing capabilities that let them see each other and talk to one another, or even to play video games with each other across that digital divide (because they are not going to be joining your euchre league any time soon). Build communication networks, ones that multiple veterans in Legion halls across the country can use to share a discussion. Facilitate the communication they are seeking, don’t presume to be the people they want to talk to. In this way, there’s a chance for the RCL to provide what the Legion halls did for past generations, but it needs the realization that the bar was a place to sit and talk; it was not a purpose in itself.
Today’s veterans aren’t looking to immediately become the new generation of blue-jacketed Legionnaires at Remembrance Day ceremonies. But they do have the same needs as the veterans of the 1920s and 30s, and of the 50s and 60s. They need to be able to talk to each other as the most important capability the RCL can provide them. The challenge comes from the fact that they don’t live in the same towns the way those earlier generations of veterans did. But that’s ok, the means and technology exist to support their needs. All it will take within the Royal Canadian Legion is the will to make it happen, both at the institutional level and in the individual branches across the country.

God Bless and keep reading

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Rolling up the minimum Wage????

Tim Hortons could be in trouble, particularly in Ontario but perhaps elsewhere too. Linda and I have often had coffee at Mac Donald’s in the mornings, Its cheaper and its good coffee and the place is busy. This has to hurt the local Tim stores????

Tim Hortons is shaking in their boots. Their cruel cuts to workers paid breaks and health benefits are all over the news, the petition has exploded to over 17,000 signatures.
Now retail experts are saying Tim Hortons is on the verge of losing droves of loyal customers. They’re close to the breaking point, and one final flood of pressure could be what it takes to convince Tim Hortons’ parent company to stop the attacks on Timmies workers.
With your help we can launch a National Day of Action, with protests at Tim Hortons stores all across the country next week. It could be the final blow that forces Tim Hortons to reverse the clawbacks — but we need to act fast while the media is still following the story.

God Bless and keep reading

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A Little Sunday Humour

A young boy walks into a brothel dragging a dead frog. He asks the man at the front desk if he can have a woman and the man says ”No, son. You have to be 18.” The boy hands the man a one hundred dollar bill and the man tells him to go upstairs to Room 7. Then the boy asks the man if he can have a girl with active herpes. The man says ”No, I’m sorry, but all of our girls are clear.” The boy hands him another one hundred dollar bill and the man tells him to go upstairs to Room 4. About twenty minutes later, the boy comes back and the man at the front desk asks the boy why he is dragging a dead frog and why he wanted a girl with herpes.
”Well, tonight when the babysitter comes over, I’ll have sex with her and give her herpes. Then, when my dad takes her home, she will give it to him. Then, when my parents have sex tonight, my mum will get it too. Then tomorrow morning when my dad goes to work my mum will give herpes to the postman, and he’s the bastard that ran over my frog!”’

God Bless and keep reading

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Conduct Unbecoming an MLA

This is my response to a rude and offensive guest opinion by Douglas Coles, that appeared in the Guardian 10th January 2018. If you have not read this article I would urge you to do so. I believe and I’m quite sure most islanders would agree that the last person in the PEI Legislate to be characterise as a spoiled child would be Peter Bevan Baker!

The guest opinion in the Guardian Wednesday 10th Jan 2018 by Douglas Coles, The story began as a mythical or perhaps imaginary fairy tale. He tells of this magical and wondrous island ruled by a kindly and benevolent King Wade. The King feeds, clothes and takes care of his happy island people. However, the fairy tale is not the reason for my letter. I would like to address the writers sudden and totally irrational attack on the character of Peter Bevan Baker. He begins by calling him a spoiled child, one who screams and stomps his foot when he does not get his own way??? As if this wasn’t enough the writer goes on to compare Dr Bevan Baker to Donald Trump! Well folks, there is indeed a spoiled child in this story, the writer (Douglas Coles) himself is that spoiled child. In my opinion he should be soundly spanked and sent to bed with no supper, and he should remain there until he does some growing up. Sorry if this does not end as the usually and happy children’s fairy tales

However, I would be quick to claim this happy smiling face might easily fall in the spoiled child category

God Bless and keep Reading

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Poisons vs Pollination vs Farce


At a glance one might applaud the Provincial Government for introducing a grant to increase Honey Bee populations on the island. See their latest grant proposal “Pollination Expansion Program 2017-18”. This is aimed at increasing the PEI honey bee colonies available for the fruit crops pollination, Apples and Blueberry crops???

However, why do we have a shortage of the bee population in the first place? Could it possibly be to do with the two major corporations and their policy of using poisonous chemicals to grow their potato crops. Could it have anything to do with the many species already lost to these chemicals. We already know the answer to those two questions! The big question is this, why can so many Islanders see this, yet our elected officials can’t or maybe don’t want to see? If elected officials do not heed the people then they should be promptly removed from office. Hard to refer to these people as Honourable members when they ignore the real issues. Is this not a bit of a FARCE?????

God Bless and keep reading


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Compensation One??Compassion Nil??

I found this letter quite astounding! how on Earth could any government body come up with such a disgraceful imbalance between similar services, The RCMP and the Canadian Forces. It reminds me of a pension program arrive at in Britain at the end of the First World War. The booklet provided to injured veterans, read as follows. For the loss of a limb :- Admiral 5000 pounds, Petty officer 700 pounds, Ordinary Seaman 500 pounds. there were similar amounts for other disabilities. Archaic to say the least, and hopefully no longer in print or use. Read below!! then ask yourself if much has changed since 1918?

Veterans Affairs disability
One RCMP member and one Military member serving together in a conflict area and they both got injured and loose both their legs. The two of them are age 30, and are entitled to 100 percent disability pension. The military member will get $360.000 lump sum payment period. lf he dies prior to his spouse she will get zero. While the RCMP member will get $2,733.47 monthly tax free for life and if he passes away prior to his spouse she will get $2,050.10 per month tax free for life.
How do you expect the military member to survive on that measly amount of disability for life? How is he going to pay the rent?
The military member is treated as a second class citizen. ls the Country Canada poorer now than in prior years, forties, fifties, etc?
The new Veterans Charter (NVC) has to be scrapped and return to the Pension Act who has served our military veterans very well over the years.
ln the fifties we had an Armed Forces of approx. 100,000 and now it is down to 60,000 and the wars and conflicts are just as dangerous today as they were then.
The Canadian Armed Forces veterans are second class citizen. what a shame

God Bless and keep reading.

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A Very Happy 2018

A Little Humour to Kick off 2018
Posted on January 1, 2018
by irishroverpei

An Irish painter by the name of Murphy, while not a brilliant scholar, was a gifted portrait artist.
Over a short number of years, his fame grew and soon people from all over Ireland were coming to the town of Miltown Malbay, in County Clare, to get him to paint their likenesses.
One day, a beautiful young English woman arrived at his house in a stretch limo and asked if he would paint her in the nude. This being the first time anyone had made such a request he was a bit perturbed, particularly when the woman told him that money was
no object; in fact, and she was willing to pay up to 10,000 pounds.
Not wanting to get into any marital strife, he asked her to wait while he went into the house to confer with Mary, his wife. They talked much about the Rightness and Wrongness of it. It was hard to make the decision but finally his wife agreed, on one condition.
In a few minutes he returned.
“T’would be me pleasure to paint yer portrait, missus,” he said “The wife says it’s okay. “I’ll paint you in the nude all right; but I have to at least leave me socks on, so I have a place to wipe me brushes.”
T’is why we love the Irish.
God Bless and a Prosperous 2018

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Try This Comparison?

Try this Comparison in government awarded benefits for one “child/boy soldier/terroist” He received 10.5 million dollars. A Canada senior citizen who has worked his/her whole life for Canada is about to receive an award of 57 cents per month increase in pension allowance!

Allow me to present to opposite views on who is the more deserving recipient.

From A Senior, her views of the pension increase!!!!!!

This is frigging pathetic, take your raise and shove it up your ass. You treat seniors of this country like dirt. This morning I’m thinking of all pensioners who receive old age security, for those who do not know yet, we will receive an increase of 57 cents per  month from the end of January 2018. We presently receive $569.95 and will increase to $570.52. Meanwhile the Government spends millions to welcome immigrants, should they not have a little more respect for the seniors of this nation?.  Finally a question for Justin Trudeau, what would you do with a 57 cent pay raise?????????

I have a serious issue with this huge compensation award to Omar Khadr, and the flimsy excuse that he was just a child or boy soldier. Romeo Dallaire stated on national television, “a child is a child is a child? I have a real problem with that statement. I can’t claim to have been a boy soldier but certainly I was a boy sailor, and when I joined the Royal Navy I left childhood behind.
I joined the Royal Navy in 1955 at age 15 and was classified as a Boy Seaman, after one year of training at HMS Ganges I was posted to the Far East. I acted as an armed escort on convoy duties and on the trains running between Penang and Singapore. I carried a 303 rifle and a clip of five rounds of ammo. While I never had to fire my weapon in anger, there is no doubt I was armed and dangerous. At the Battle of Jutland a 15 year boy seaman was killed at his post and later posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross. I fail to see a difference between Khadr and our own boy soldiers/sailors. While I didn’t have the wisdom of age, I certainly knew why I was there and what I was doing. I certainly did not consider myself a child. As the question of Canadian citizen/constitutional rights has been raised. Allow me to say, I was a British subject whilst in the Royal Navy and have since served in the Canadian Forces, and I’m Canadian citizen, for more than 42 years. To claim he was only a child/boy soldier carries no weight with me. However, the killing an allied soldier carries a great deal of weight, and because he was tortured as a POW does not excuse his actions.

PS the class photo is of 15 year old Boy Seamen in 1955 training at HMS Ganges
God Bless and keep reading


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Remembering Christmas’s from Years gone By.

. .It is at times like this that I miss my two beautiful daughters and feel sad that they have grown up and moved on. They were always our purpose in life, our reason for living.  They have given us so many memories to cherish and fondly enjoy in our old age.  Daughters are surely a wondrous. gift from God

I realize many of you think I’m merely teasing or perhaps attempting to embarrass my young daughter via my blog. However ,you would be wrong, I enjoy retelling stories of both of my beautiful young daughters and their misadventures/adventures while growing up. My two girls were the light of my life and still are today, their childhood memories are forever my wondrous and priceless gift. Budge was born in Sudbury and as a baby she was a terrible sleeper, she cried a lot. Linda mentioned this to the doctor and he said she is probably hungry. He went on to explain that young baby’s can become spinal cords when hungry, their brain switches of and they just cry. His suggestion! stick her in a closet with a banana. We went through a lot of bananas after that but of course the doctor was joking about the closet. Caroline was big into Barbie doll’s in those days and I believe that led my sister to buy Susannah a Barbie doll house for Christmas. Budge was soon to show us her interest in outer space when she turned the Barbie house into a Space Station, maybe it was Moon Base Alpha??? Can’t remember for sure because we regularly travelled into deep space after that with a variety of astronauts such as Capt Kirk, Luke Skywalker, the Borg etc etc. Later she promoted herself to the rank of Major and became Bionic but that will be a story for another day. In the meantime we still keep a supply of bananas on hand in case Budge comes to visit. Caroline never travelled into deep space! she was more into nice dresses and later nice cars!!!!!she likes jewellery and things that usually cost more than Star War toys!!!

God Bless and Happy New Year

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Footprints in the Sand

This is a story from a Ganges Boy  that seems appropriate at this special time of year. I’d like to share it with you.

Many years ago two young boys were called upon to serve their country . They met at a place called Shotley Gate, on a stone ship named HMS Ganges . After many months of training these now young men were drafted to their firt ship , on active service . In the following weeks the young men sailed south to warmer seas , and a bond was formed . One warm and calm night under a full moon disaster struck . The ship was lost , both young men began to swim towards a distant island , unaware of what was to come . One was unscathed , the other badly wounded they fought on , helping one another as daylight approached . Once ashore and with no other shipmates to be seen , the uninjured sailor picked up and carried his friend to safety , many miles over an unforgiving desert landscape , no food or water , just a will to survive and fight another day . Many days passed until they arrived at an oasis , the fitter of the two left the other under the shade of a palm tree with a supply of water and dates . With a guilty conscience and life slowly dwindling away he set off to find help for his friend . With God on his side and a heart of oak the young man reached his destination , he told his rescuers where he had left his friend and was then transported off of the island and sent back home . Many years passed , forty or more ,never again did he see or hear of his friend . Then one warm and calm day he attended a reunion , HMS Ganges had long been closed , her buildings and mast were showing their age and neglect , the whitewashed stones , the holy parade ground unkempt and sad , Nelson hall now cold empty and full of ghosts from his past . With a sadden heart he spoke to new found friends , swapped stories of days passed and asked about his old friend . Over in the corner and sat by himself he spotted a face , a face from days passed . With tears in his eyes and a lump in his throat he spoke to the man . For forty or more years I have searched every street, in the hope that one day we would once again meet . Through gritted teeth and a face that now frowned his friend replied with a voice that shook the ground , ” why did you leave me to die on that day , I  spotted the footprints when they carried me away . One set of footprints all of the way , if it was not for my rescuers I would not be here today ” . With a voice full of sadness the old man replied , yes one set of footprints and they were mine . I carried you to safety and went to find help . They said they would find you and bring you back home , and that’s where I waited with a heart full of hope . But this is what happens when stories are told , parts that are missing and some parts untold . Friendship’s destroyed and forgotten as we get old . If only we remembered the wise words we were told , don’t listen to gossip and don’t be led astray for the rest of our lives we should remember the Ganges way . Wisdom is strength .

A merry Christmas and a happy and sensible new year to all Ganges boys and their families , and absent friends .

Merry Christmas and keep reading

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