This is the email I sent to the Governor General’s office last year. Last evening I received a phone call from a very nice lady (staff secretary) acknowledging my email. Below is a copy of the email I sent.
I’m greatly concerned with the present Royal Canadian Legion policy regarding medals. While it is quite acceptable for non veteran legion members to wear an array of legion service medals on their right breast in legion uniform. It is against the law for an eighty year old widow to wear her late husbands war medals of her right breast on suitable occasions. (see section 419 of Criminal Code) The important issue I have with this policy is that most civilians would mistake an associate member wearing six or seven legion medals as a veteran. Indeed most associate members wear more medals than actual veterans. These are service awards for chairing such things as the Dart Competition, BBQ etc. I find it offensive that non veterans parade with all the pomp and ceremony that was and should be attributed to our real veterans. The issue is wide spread and clearly part of the reason why our younger veterans are not joining the Royal Canadian Legion. Please give this your immediate attention while we still have a RCL. If for no other reason we are responsible for the care and respect of the Poppy. Other legions (Royal British-Scottish etc wear lapel pins). The Canadian Legion membership continues to plummet, it is estimated approx 35.000 are actual veterans, the remaining approx 200.000 are made up of associate and non voting members. In other words just about anyone can join today`s legion branches. Please note the attachments are two legion medals that may be purchased for $25 ea plus P&P. Also photo of Tom Eagles wearing eleven medals but has never served a day in the Military or other services, example RCMP etc.
While this lady agreed with my concerns she explained there is no immediate concern within the Justice Dept to amend the law (section 419). They apparently feel the law protects against imposters from wearing medals they are not entitled to. She did add that it would be unlikely that an elderly widow wearing her late husbands medals would be arrested. That attitude , which I agree with, surely runs contrary to the need for this law?
As for people wearing medals they are not entitled to, that will happen regardless of any law, it occurs in the UK and in many other nations. However, the UK do not act with a heavy hand as we do in Canada. Blood relatives may wear their late loved ones medals on suitable occasions. The Royal Canadian Legion are absolutely opposed to changing this law or of asking for an amendment. One might ask why? it doesn’t make a lot sense to deny an elderly widow from wearing her late husbands medals. Well, I think maybe it does to today’s legion members, whom are a large civilian majority. Associate members have become comfortable in legion uniform wearing an array of pretend medals on their right breast. While these many legion medals are quite legal they are far from appropriate in an organization dedicated to military veterans. They should be ashamed to be seen parading with real veterans often wearing twice the number of medals of the most decorated veteran. To sum up, perhaps as this law is so wrong it should be broken. Blood relatives should begin wearing loved ones medals all across this nation. How many do you think would be arrested and charged? Should this young girl be thrown in jail for daring to wear her Great Grandfathers WW1 medals????
How about this joker! he is quite legal with his array of some twelve tin medals, but this is surely a mockery to the memory of our fallen. I can’t predict if anything will come of this, however, the way the legion is going failure cannot be to far into the future
God Bless and keep reading