Lets start with a veteran who has been dishonourably discharged from the service. He cannot join the legion under any circumstances, its in the legion by laws. I suppose in most cases this would be justified, but there could be a few extenuating cases where this might not be fair. However, I will not get into the whys and wherefores of that issue in this blog. I believe basically the legion law is correct on the subject.
Now lets take the case of a civilian joining the legion as an associate member, either voting or non voting. I have searched the RCL by-laws but cannot find any requirement to check a civilians background to see if he/she has a criminal record. Apparently a civilian person can join, become a voting member, hold executive office, wear an array of legion medals with the legion uniform and no one asks that pertinent question . This seems to lack the consistency of the Legion By-law. Where a dishonourably discharged service member can be promptly ousted out the door. A civilian with a criminal record can walk through the same door no questions asked, to a warm welcome.
I served on the “Duke of Edinburgh” council for 25 years and in the late 1990’s was required to have a police check done by the RCMP. I volunteered in schools (dept of education PE) and there too had to have a check carried out by RCMP. In both cases, I was working with children/youths.
To date, over 200,000 associate members (estimated) of the Royal Canadian Legion have never to the best of my knowledge been required to provide any proof of backgrounds?
Below I have copied the RCL by-laws pertaining to Membership of Civilians. It covers many areas and issues, but nowhere could I see anything regarding a criminal record.
ASSOCIATE MEMBERS 207. Associate membership is open to any Canadian citizen or Commonwealth subject, who is of federal voting age and who is not eligible for ordinary membership, and who: a. is the child, adopted child, stepchild, grandchild, sibling, niece, nephew, widow/er, parent, or spouse (as defined in these by-laws), of a person who is or was eligible to be an ordinary member; or b. is the spouse, parent or sibling of an associate who qualified under Subsection 207.a. or Subsection 207.c. to h. In the case of divorce or legal (documented) separation, a spouse who is an associate member through marriage to an associate member, retains the right to membership unless such membership lapses; or c. is the child of an associate member; or d. served as a Cadet civilian instructor for not less than 3 years; or e. served in The Royal Canadian Sea, Army or Air Cadets, for not less than 3 years; or f. served as an officer in the Navy League of Canada, for not less than 2 years; or g. served below the rank of officer, in the Polish Forces after WWII, and whose services were terminated under conditions other than dishonourable or for reasons of misconduct; or h. served in a city, municipal, volunteer, unorganized territories, provincial or federal Emergency Response Service for not less than one year.
19 THE GENERAL BY-LAWS AS AMENDED TO FEBRUARY 2015
AFFILIATE VOTING MEMBERS 208. Affiliate voting membership is open to any Canadian citizen or Commonwealth subject who is of federal voting age and who is not eligible for ordinary or associate membership.
AFFILIATE NON-VOTING MEMBERS 209. a. Affiliate non-voting membership is open to any citizen from an Allied country, excluding Canada and the Commonwealth, who is of federal voting age and who is not eligible for ordinary, associate or affiliate voting membership and who supports the purposes and objects of The Royal Canadian Legion. Affiliate non-voting members shall have the same rights as all other members except the rights to vote and hold office. b. A member admitted under Subsection (a) is not permitted to apply for voting status, unless otherwise qualified.
Note: Affiliate Non-voting members are allowed to attend branch meetings and participate in debates but cannot enter into the voting process, including motions.
God Bless and keep reading