This is the response I received from Bruce Poulin, Communications Officer, Dominion Command. I love the last paragraph of his email, It once again rolls out that old legion Chestnut. The Legion does not say blood relatives can’t wear medals, we are just informing them of the law, maybe not in those words but same meaning.. His letter although carefully worded has a very condescending tone about it. For example “While our policy has been explained to you in the past by other Legion commands” I will join the ranks of those who have tried to explain our policy”. It is as he is talking down to a child who has trouble grasping the obvious. There folks lies the problem! Dominion knows best, and we less intelligent members should try to listen and learn from our elders. I suppose to be fair, they are at least responding to members concerns if not addressing them, maybe this is a change in policy by the new President. On the other hand, perhaps our message is getting through and they are getting worried. After reading this blog I seriously urge those who agree with my blog to email Bruce Poulin with your comments, I would like to see his computer flooded with veterans comments. His email address——firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you again for taking the time to write to the Legion’s Dominion Command with your questions regarding Legion medals worn exclusively on the right sight of their Legion uniform. While our policy has been explained to you in the past by other Legion commands, I will join the ranks of those who have tried to explain our policy once more and hopefully address your concerns.
First and foremost, I am sure you will agree, that the service and sacrifice of Canada’s Veterans is recognized, in part, through the medals they receive. When someone dons a medal or other decoration that was never awarded to them, they degrade the honour and sacrifice of those rightly wearing the medals they received, and they are breaking the law. The Legion admonishes any act that disrespects Canada’s Veterans or ignores Canada’s current laws.
As stated in the Legion Ritual, Awards and Protocol Manual, “it is an offence under Sections 419 A and B of the Criminal Code of Canada for anyone, other than the recipient, to wear a uniform of the Canadian Armed Forces or Service Insignia, such as medals, ribbons, badges, chevrons or other decoration. It is also an offence for anyone to wear any imitation of the above if it is likely to be mistaken for the said uniform, or service insignia, etc.”
I am also at a loss to understand why you have singled out the Legion for its policies regarding the wearing of Legion medals when, in fact, other Veterans organizations including ANAVETS, AVA, Veterans UN NATO Canada, and Cadet organizations or civilian organizations such as the Order of St. George and the Order of St. Lazarus, to name only a few, all have medals that are not awarded by the government and, in many cases, may be purchased.
Allow me to conclude by stating that Legion members take seriously the wearing of government sanctioned medals and abiding by Canadian laws. If you seek to change the criminal code of Canada, may I suggest you direct your focus and energies towards the government of Canada and not the Legion.
Sincerely Bruce Poulin