Between The KKK and “Misdirected” Funds, Has The Canadian Legion Lost It’s Way . . . And Relevancy?

First a KKK scandal closes its Campbellford branch, then a self-serving, self-destructive coup of sorts within the Ladies Auxiliary “LA” of the Buckingham, Quebec branch makes one wonder if the Royal Canadian Legion has lost sight of the fact that one of its most important responsibilities besides preserving the memory of those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom, is to also maintain the integrity of that representation.

Now right out of the gate I want to tell you that my wife Jennifer became President of the LA in Buckingham last year and during the past 12 months helped to lead the ladies out of a $5,000 hole and into a positive cash position of $2,000.  She also spearheaded a renaissance of sorts through the introduction of community outreach programs that increased membership numbers (especially amongst the younger generation) . . . something that had not been done for some time.

Even I pitched in by volunteering my time to cook at various Legion functions . . . and yes my hamburgers and Irish Stew were big hits, as well as fronting the funds to get several events off the ground.  In one case, when the event’s gate failed to cover the costs I even made up the difference. This is the reason why a former President of the LA pocketing money from cookbook sales, and the current branch President’s chastising of my wife for bringing it up at a meeting is particularly odoriferous.

As a result, and while my normal inclination would be to recuse myself from commenting on a story in which there can and perhaps, being honest with myself is, some degree of bias, I am also of a mind that when moved by an absence of fact or what I believe is an injustice, find that turning a blind eye and remaining silent is difficult if not impossible.

This being said, I also have to admit that had the Campbellford story not broken at the time this drama was unfolding here at home, I most likely would have chalked up the Buckingham fiasco to a localized exception and moved on to the many stories that await about which I can right. However, this was not the case.

When news of the Campbellford branch’s Halloween party, in which a man wearing a KKK costume, “complete with hood and a Confederate flag on his back,” according to, “led another man in blackface around by a rope tied in a noose around his neck” hit the virtual airwaves, I was shocked to say the least.  Unfortunately what was even more disconcerting is that this lapse in obvious judgment was not confined to the two gentlemen members wearing the costumes, as those in attendance actually awarded the duo top honors!

Think about this for a moment, it is illegal to use the “N” word in New York, which is something for which even the venerable radio host Dr. Laura Schlessinger was called to task for uttering it repeatedly during a broadcast, and here we are in Canada the land of purported tolerance and acceptance applauding a face painted depiction of a “black man” being led with a noose around his neck by a hooded thug.

The only thing that is more disgraceful is the fact that this took place at a Royal Canadian Legion branch!  While other countries seek to honor their fallen war heroes, up here in the great white north the very organization charged with that responsibility has allowed pilferage and racism to denigrate our soldiers’ memory.

What’s interesting, and as is often the case, are the attitudes demonstrated at the local level a reflection of weak leadership at the main office?  If not, then one has to wonder if the main office of the Royal Canadian Legion is just simply out of touch with the reality of what goes on with its branches?

Either way, the future of the organization and it’s leadership throughout needs to be examined closely, otherwise its days are likely going to be numbered.

Lest We Forget!  As our Remembrance Day approaches, perhaps the Legion needs to be reminded of the importance of the very words upon which the organization is based.

One Response to “Between The KKK and “Misdirected” Funds, Has The Canadian Legion Lost It’s Way . . . And Relevancy?”
  1. jimbouchard says:

    Maybe history is moving us too far past events, but certainly here in the states the iconic symbols of the KKK hood and the lynch rope are still alive and fresh.

    As a young person I can still remember active KKK rallies still drawing attention as far north as Connecticut. Right now there are numerous movements opposing any display, historical or otherwise, of the “Stars and Bars” Confederate battle flag.

    Insensitive, rude and certainly ignorant are the words that come to mind when I see the picture above. Maybe these gentlemen simply do not know or understand the level of atrocity and violence these symbols represent or the kind of hatred they provoke.

    Jon, thanks for standing up and making a righteous statement in this case. I’m all for freedom of expression- but all expression has consequences. In this case, this expression was in terrible taste and simply wrong and you are right to call them to task.

    Best thoughts!

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