My Legion membership expires on 31st December 2016 and I will not be renewing it. This is a sad moment in my life, having been a member for roughly 30 years. For the greater part of that time I was proud to call myself a member. My time with the Rustico Branch No 13 in the 1990’s was a particularly happy time. Always I was treated as an equal, given the same respect as any other veteran. Alas, the Rustico branch fell in financial troubles due to a dishonest associate member/ branch manager. Over $100 thousand dollars went missing in a short time frame and the branch failed.For a couple of years my membership floated, first with the Provincial Command and later Charlottetown branch No1. In April 0f 2013 we moved to the Western end of PEI and I joined the Wellington branch No17. For the first few months I felt welcome and fitted in, however a few things were beginning to trouble me with the branch and legion in general. I strongly opposed the criminal code section 419, this law prohibits blood relatives from wearing late loved ones medals to Remembrance Day services. My resolution to amend this law was flatly denied by provincial command. The same Command that approves legion members wearing a host of service medals on their right breasts. Yet stands firmly against blood relatives wearing real medals in memory of their loved ones.
The photo on the right shows how ridiculous this attitude is. The associate member is wearing as many or more right breast medals than the young girl and her veteran grandfather together.
The associate member in the photo is the same person who told me his committee had unanimously turned down my resolution to request a amendment to section 419 criminal code. However, that wasn’t the end of the matter. I was also confronted by the Past President of Provincial Command, a member of my branch, who inside my branch doors, told me in no uncertain terms how wrong I was.
In January 2016 at my branch monthly meeting I brought another issue I considered very serious. I had recently learned that Remembrance Day Banquets, World War 2 and Korean Vets and their wives ate free, while all other veterans must pay for wives. This was never a question of money, but rather of a double standard for veterans in the branch. Surely this is discrimination and one of the very reasons causing plummeting memberships. The fact that any branch would regard new veterans as less deserving of respect is outrageous. I realize it is not prevalent in all legion homes, but even in one, is one too many. Legion membership has been struggling for several years, and their only answer to date, has been to throw the doors open to all and sundry to join
Imagine my surprise when I raised this issue at the January 2016 meeting, no one attending seemed surprised or disturbed? I had expected the branch President to suggest I put it in the form of a motion. But no! instead he turned to our Provincial Command member who proceeded to explain his definition of a veteran.At the conclusion of that meeting nothing had been changed. I can’t speak for other veterans, but it seems safe to say, that like me, they do not need to be given a definition to know if they qualify as veterans. I do know I’m a veteran and I’m quite sure other veterans do to.. That January meeting was my last, I have not entered the branch since. At the 2016 Remembrance Day Parade I attended in Summerside, as a spectator
So folks, this is a brief account highlighting a few of my reasons for leaving the Royal Canadian Legion. There were many other reasons helping me to reach this decision. However, I cannot sign off without making mention of Dominion Command selling legion (right breast) service medals at $25 ea plus P&P
I find this a ludicrous contradiction in terms.
God Bless and keep reading