I was sad to read of the passing of Madrien Ferris, on 27th December 2019. I didnt know her well, only met her once in the 1980s when she was a local NDP candidate in Charlottetown. My next encounter came several years later when a letter appeared in the Guardian asking if she could wear her late husbands medals on Remembrance Day in his memory. Before I had a chance to reply saying yes of course you can. A letter appeared from a Charlottetown legion member telling her it was strictly forbidden to wear some else’s medals. This came as a great surprise to me, people had been wearing late loved ones medals to Remembrance Services since the end of the First World War. At least they had in most Commonwealth Countries, but apparently not in Canada. I wrote to Madrien to express my surprise and anger at this Canadian law. I decided I would make it my mission to have this law amended. However, doing so has been far more difficult than I ever imagined. It’s not the department of Justice where I found the road blocks, it was and remains the Royal Canadian Legion. This is the only legion within the Commonwealth Countries that enforces this ridiculous law. They are also the only legion that produce their own medals, some of which may be purchased. The RCL is today run by civilians, and of the approximate two hundred thousand only 35 percent are actual veterans, and no new veterans are joining. These civilian associate members claim it is an offence for any one other than the owner of said medals to wear them. They state this with a straight face while wearing six or more of these legion produced medals. They are not real medals and they are not permitted to be worn on the left breast. Only medals authorized by the Monarch may be worn on the left. No one disagrees that it’s wrong to wear medals to which you are not entitled. That is stolen valour, and yes we need a law to prevent this happening. However, the law should not extend to the wearing of loved ones medals (right breast) on Remembrance Day as a crime. Under the law if a ninety year old widow or other blood relative was the wear her late husbands medals she is breaking the law. The fine for such an offence is a fine of $5000 or six months in jail. This has to be the most unnecessary law in the country!. I’m sorry Madrien, didn’t manage to change the law in time for you, but I have not given up. My mission continues. I will add a few photos of our Legions highly decorated civilian/associate members. These are the people telling us its an offence to wear late loved ones medals on our right breast on Remembrance Day!!!!!!!!
God Bless and keep reading.