This is a copy of the letter I have sent to Provincial Command. Whether it will do any good will remain to be seen. I doubt much will happen before September as members do not meet during July and August. Beyond this I’m not sure what else I can do, but I will keep thinking.
I feel the time has come to confront the members of Provincial Command with the serious and ongoing issues related to the Royal Canadian Legion. I find it difficult to believe that every elected member of the PEI Command disagrees with my assertion that Section 419 of the Criminal code requires amending. However, it appears we have issues of even greater importance that also need to be given serious thought. I call your attention to the commercialization of the Poppy. Since when did we at the Legion decide the Poppy should be used for profit. How can the Poppy, a sacred symbol of Remembrance, be used in promoting cheap trinkets-brooches-earrings-umbrellas etc. Items that are probably made in Asia! Are we not risking the very reason for our existence using these cheap and intolerably offensive items? The Poppy was never intended to be used in such a deplorable way.The Poppy symbol is recognized across the world and was given to the Royal Canadian Legion as a sacred trust. For the past thirty years I have been proud to knock on doors leading up to 11th November, promoting and seeking donations for the Poppy fund. Today, I question how this fund is being used and why the Leadership think they need to raise more money through this nasty form of commercialization.
I stated near the beginning of my letter, I cannot believe every member of Provincial Command disagrees with my attempts to have section 419 amended. Nevertheless,I have found it most unpleasant in attempting to forward a resolution to that effect. I have been accosted at my own branch by a Provincial Command member who made it exceeding clear I was wrong. I have sent numerous emails to both Dominion and Provincial commands, all of which were ignored. Whether members agree or disagree with my assertions, I should have been afforded the right to state my case face to face with those who denied me. I find this cause particularly offensive now as the Legion are selling cheap tin medals at a cost of $25.00. This is the same legion that tells me, to allow a widow to wear her late husbands medals would dilute the value of those medals. Comrades we have serious problems with no way forward until we realize we must put veterans ahead of grasping for more money. Membership is failing, we have lost sight of the original purpose of the Legion, Veterans helping Veterans! Legion branches are failing and few if any new veterans are joining.. We struggle along depending on lotto machines and ATM’s for revenue.Almost anyone can join the legions today. The branches are no longer a place where a veteran can go and meet with other veterans. Frankly, I keep asking myself why I bother, I’m too old to have this stress in my life. I will make my decision whether to stay or go at the end of the year when my 2016 membership lapses. Finally, you might surprise me this time and respond. However, based on previous correspondents I will not be holding my breath.
Respectfully Submitted F.Ben Rodgers Lt(N) Ret CD. Wellington Br 17
God Bless and keep reading.