As a non-partisan organization focused on helping Veterans, their families and their communities, The Royal Canadian Legion does not get involved in elections or platforms. Recent opinion columns, media reports and politicking have prompted us to say “enough is enough” – it is deplorable to see Veterans being used as political pawns at election time.
From pledging tax freedom to Legion Branches in Ontario, to calling into question the validity or strong symbolism of the poppy through uncommonly held personal opinions, we find the conversation abhorrent.
The red poppy, and remembrance events in general honour the men and women who have paid dearly for the freedoms we enjoy today – including the freedom of speech and the freedom to personal opinions.
We distribute 20 million poppies and send close to 17 million dollars back into our communities yearly thanks to generous Canadians who choose to wear this symbol and donate to the National Poppy Campaign. They want to support our Veterans and help the Legion advocate for the issues that really matter, such as more research into the use of medical marijuana for Veterans, and clear, immediate standards for tools and approaches – like the use of service dogs - that will help some of them recover.
We must stop playing games of political football with our Veterans, and start talking about the issues that will make a difference in their lives.