I reflect on the state of the Royal Canadian Legion and Remembrance Day 2021.
Hey everyone. Welcome back to coffee breath conversations, grab yourself a mug. And I just want to have a chat today about two topics. One is the Royal Canadian Legion. The second topic is going to be talking a little bit about Remembrance Day 2021 These are just kind of my thoughts. Some musings I've kind of been sitting on for a little while here. So the Royal Canadian Legion is an organization in Canada that was developed to assist veterans, and they're in charge of the act of remembrance. And they do that two ways. Number one, they run the poppy campaign. Every year, the governor generals presented with a red poppy and then Canadians wear red poppy on their clothing to signify that they remember the sacrifice that Canadians have given in war and peace time in the service of Canada. And the money that's collected is held in trust, and it's supposed to help veterans, it's supposed to help Armed Forces members, it's supposed to help Cadet Corps. And then it can also support community projects that have a secondary byproduct of helping veterans. And they're also supposed to run the Remembrance Day parades, they're in charge of the act of remembrance. So November 11, every year 1100 hours, Canadians are supposed to go down to a local cenotaph or some type of parade, and we pay tribute to the fallen in Canada. Now, the Legion has been around for a long time. It's been around for over 100 years now. But like many nonprofit charity organizations, it really seems to have lost its way. The organization started out as a club service club for military personnel. And over time, way too many issues I won't get into right now. But over time, they had to expand the membership into other regular Canadians. They're non veterans. And the membership really is declined. And I think it's a combination of protectionism, little bit of wagon circling, and I think a lot of gatekeeping as well. I know, I was traveling through Canada, as a legion member, I went to a legion, locally thought I would give some support, go have lunch there. And I went inside. And I was told by someone there that I had to leave, I wasn't a member and I said well, and I showed them that I have membership card. Now membership card and Legion should grant you access to any Legion in Canada. So I showed my membership card. And I said, Hey, I am a member, sign me in. I'm just here to have lunch and support your branch. And they told me no, you're not a member here. You can't come in. Needless to say, I was not very impressed. So they lost my business. And again, it came down to a form of gatekeeping protectionism. And I thought to myself, like how is this branch still even open? If you're not going to let members of the Publican side. And that's kind of some of the issues that they're having just overall as a legion. Now, there's lots of internal politics that goes on as well. I think a lot of the times to some of the older veterans, although there isn't very many veterans involved with legions anymore, have treated the newer veterans with not the same respect that they expect from the public and from other people. I know one veteran personally, who told an Afghanistan veteran that they really weren't in a war. It was a it was a peacekeeping operation. And we were just there to support the US fundamentally wrong on several levels. But again, instead of sitting down and talking to that fellow veteran, decided to take a very protectionist stance. I think the Canadian military and policing in that has a problem with that. Overall, it's just the egos it's people pissing up a rope. I mean, everyone gets soaked in pests, but I guess you get to say you picked up the highest. And it's been an issue. I think that's happened for quite a while in our legions and other service clubs, and it's chase people away. The other issues I kind of see what the Legion that's really led to them having a bit of a downfall is that the Legion is just rife with Stolen Valor. These are members of the public and sometimes veterans, unfortunately, that have taken upon themselves to add and embellish. If they are a veteran, different things to their uniforms, they make up false tales, who knows the whole extent of why they do what they do, but it's wrong. They're claiming service that they haven't actually had. And it takes down the credibility of the Legion. Now the Legion is not a public organization where it has access to military records. So quite often the litmus test for someone with military service is quite low. It's a lot a lot of fakers stand up in their famous case. 2014 was Frank Gervais, the fake surgeon that was on CBC, giving an interview. guy never had a day in service. It's a very sad tale. Maybe I'll do a whole episode on that. I mean, the guy had his wife bamboozled. It was quite a tale overall. But it really shone a spotlight on the Legion. So then a group called Stolen Valor Canada came into being. And they started finding own legions all across Canada. People were adding medals. They were adding qualifications that they never earned. They were telling wild stories. And in some cases, it was costing monetarily. And people were getting free trips to vme, people were getting all sorts of free stuff out of it. And worse, they were allowing a mental illness to fester and people were feeding into a mental illness. So that's been another issue that legions had. The other issue I find, if you talk to people is that the Legion has a real issue with they have a real issue with Dominion command taking a lot of dues, and I don't think that's the support is there for the local branches. The model that the Legions use is a very democratic model to conduct business. But with declining memberships, it just ends up with a smaller and smaller group making all the decisions. Now the lack of veteran involvement is also a key issue. When I was a child, if you saw a legion member in the gray pants and the blue blazer, you assume that they had some form of military service. And since they expanded membership to non military members, any member can wear a legion uniform. So led to a lot of confusion with the public because the public sees these people in Legion uniforms and they assume they have military service. The Legion also has their own metal system as well. So Legion, honors and awards are quite often mistaken for honors and awards awarded by the Canadian Armed Forces or by civil service and things like manner commemorative metals. The other issue with the Legion is that a lot of veterans don't believe that the Legion has their best interests in mind. The development of the veterans Charter of Rights was hailed as a major success for the Legion and for Veterans Affairs and for veterans. But a lot of veterans didn't see it that way. For a lot of veterans, they believe that the Legion basically just went along with the government. The Legion is not a government organization. In fact, they're supposed to advocate against the government in support of veterans if they don't think that veterans are getting a fair shake, but quite often, you'll see that it seems like whenever the government wants to look good, they'll just call the local Legion and get a few members to come out in the Legion uniform and do a presentation and the Legion is more than happy to oblige. So there's a lot of issues I think with just a relevancy overall. Their legions, you know, their their drinking establishments and we're under different cultural norms these days and drinking isn't as popular overall, I don't think as it was in the past. And legions have pretty strict rules around drinking. I mean, you go to the Legion, you got it. You can't wear a hat inside. And I understand why it's supposed to emulate a military mess hall with no ranks. But it's very limiting. And you go there and what are they doing on Friday? Well, they're having a meet draw on their 5050 and they're playing some darts maybe and that's just not things that younger Canadian Armed Forces members are is interested in a more. Yeah, the people play pool and some bar games but it's not as interesting as it used to be for the younger generation. And that's something the Legion has really never been able to grasp. And because of that their numbers continue to decline, and they've declined rapidly in the last few years. Of course, the pandemic has just made things even worse than before. Now, the poppy campaign itself too, has had its own issues. I mean, the poppy itself, since pretty much it was developed. There's been other iterations there's been scams. There's the Legion holds dominion over the poppy, but you go to legion.ca and you go there merchandise shop and yeah, they hold the trademark for the poppy Bell Telia, they very much looks like they are profiting highly off of that trademark. The other issue too, is I think a lot of branches have really grappled with some issues of discrimination, racism. They look I'm no woke bleeding heart liberal, but we have an organization that is very hostile to outsiders is a traditionally Euro centered, Christian Protestant based organization has a very, very much religious subtext to it as well, you look at any other kind of funeral stuff, you look at their parade stuff that includes prayers and things like that. The Legion Chaplain is also involved as well. And they have their own protocols, again, very Christian or even Protestant based. So I think that's very off putting to people and they've had incidents of racism. I mean, you look at indigenous veterans, indigenous veterans, were not even recognized by the Legion for quite some time. And that's why November 8 is indigenous Veterans Day. And every year, since it kind of came about, I'm gonna say 2014, it kind of started to take off some old crotchety Legion members get all mad because indigenous veterans are celebrating Remembrance Day on their own day. I only have to say to them, well, you made it happen that way because your organization was unwelcoming. It's the 21st century you got to get with the times. If you want to stay isolationist, that's fine, but you're gonna suffer for it. And the organization too, they they've they've had troubles adapting to technology. It's there's been a lot of issues. And I think they're trying, you can renew membership online. Now there's a lot more electronic bass stuff, but it's like they've had to be dragged kicking and screaming into relevancy for the 21st century. I don't want to talk too much more about kind of the faults of Legion, but they need to get with the times, or they're going to be out of relevance altogether. And because they hold such a crucial role within Remembrance Day and developing programs around Remembrance Day. We need more people that are at least knowledgeable about the Canadian Armed Forces and their drill and ceremonial and their ranking structure, their customs, that sort of thing. in positions where they can put these parades together and ensure that the act of remembrance is being respected appropriately. Some final words, I guess, before I move on to the next subject is with the Legion is just simply if anyone here is listening, that's part of the Legion. You got to modernize you got to understand the policies, you need to you need to understand military culture. You can't just assume and any decision that you make as a branch has to have the idea behind it of how is this going to benefit veterans, not just the branch, but how is this going to benefit veterans? Because I think some branches have really lost sight of that altogether. Now it's all I had to say about the Legion moving on Remembrance Day. 2021 I think it was Joe Warmington had mentioned in his reporting that he saw very few people wearing poppies this year, and I couldn't agree more. I found that there was so few people this year wearing poppies, the poppy campaign was so low key there was nothing very much media, of course, the media, it's the 24/7 COVID, fear, new cycle, cheap clicks, whatever they can to keep people watching keep people scared, so they continue to tune in. I understand that that's what the media is going to do. But it just seemed like no one really cared all that much this year about the poppy campaign. And it's too bad because it just means more legions are going to suffer for it. And legions that are trying to assist veterans and be good to their communities are going to suffer for it. I don't know what the solution is. I just feel like people have really forgotten what the poppy campaign means for their communities. And once a community loses their Legion, they don't get a new Legion and that Poppy campaign, if there's no other Legion that can assist that Poppy campaign is done for that community. I think Remembrance Day this year was kind of an afterthought. It was really just one of those, we got to get it done. Let's throw something together. All this talk about vaccines and unvaccinated it just threw another kind of monkey wrench into everything, different provinces with different gathering restrictions. I went to a remembrance day thing in my area. And I call it that because it was about 10 people that showed up a few wreaths the act of remembrance, and then everyone was gone. And that was it. Then I look at the national one. And it just looked like such a clusterfuck Prime Minister showed up late, the Governor General showed up during the act of remembrance, and instead of just waiting in the car, got over the car, and they announced the arrival of the Governor General during the act of remembrance. Again, people not respecting protocol people not understanding significance of culture around Remembrance Day and what it means. And I don't know if it's apathy or if it's just it was rushed. They kept saying that, that they were delayed because of some type of security incident will turn out to be nothing. And why are they waiting till last minute to arrive. Everyone else arrived on time everyone else arrived early, you would think that our elected leaders especially the ones have just had a big break, like they'd been off for months now would at least be able to show up on time. Then to make things worse, the photo emerged of one of the Cenotaph 's with all the tablets that have the names of soldiers. Green spray paint with the real heroes or the vaccinated. Now I kind of thought at first that it was a false flag, just someone screwing around someone fucking around, trying to make up some drama. But with the amount of crazy people running around these days, who the hell knows. Then the Remembrance Day ceremony in BC. It was impromptu, because technically, they couldn't have a ceremony because of gathering restrictions, but people still showed up. And then this lady showed up with with a couple of people and a microphone and a speaker and started going on an anti Vax rant to everyone there. Not the place or time. You can do it before the ceremony. You can do it after the ceremony, but it's not the place or the time you're not getting anyone onto your site. I watched the video, everyone's walking away. No one is sticking around. And there's probably tons of people in the crowd that support your cause. But they just recognize it's not the right place. It's not the right time, when one of the Legion members walked up and said this isn't about you. I couldn't agree more. Couldn't agree more. They took it they took a day that's there to remember veterans and their sacrifice, and they made it about them. Twitter is not reality. But the comments on Twitter were were just as horrendous defending this person. While people died for freedom. Yes. Did people die for freedom? Yes. Most people that went to fight overseas, they weren't saying I'm going to I'm going to fight overseas because I care about freedom and Canada. I think some of them might have gone overseas for that. But people have all sorts of different reasons for why they go to war and why they decide to fight. I highly doubt that everyone's everyone that went to war said I'm doing this because I care about freedom and in Canada. It was just very disappointing to see. Someone tried to co opt that day for for those reasons. And people are saying well, veterans are being denied access to their local legions. Well, as I said before, a lot of veterans don't even go to their local legions anymore. The majority that do are in their 80s 70s 90s, they're in the high risk category, this virus, whether we want to believe that the restrictions have helped or nor or not. If this viruses is deadly, as they say it is, while they're in the highest risk, the Legion is not going to not follow the restrictions, we have to remember that these restrictions apply to legions as much as anywhere else. I'm going to say something and maybe it might upset some of my listeners, United non compliance is not going to happen is not going to happen. People are going to choose to get vaccinated, they're going to choose not to get vaccinated, I think either should be respected. But United night United non compliance is off the table, the vast majority of people want to go to work and make money. And they may and majority of them I don't even think agree with the restrictions they don't have majority of people don't agree with the shots even being mandatory. But they're gonna do what they need to do to support their families to support their households, businesses are going to adapt to restrictions to stay open. I don't think it's fair, I think it's garbage. But that's human motivation. That's human behavior, not You're not going to get united noncompliance, it's not going to happen. until people start starving in the streets. It's not going to happen, I'm sorry. So going online, and going to these rallies and whining about it isn't going to bring people to your site, it's just gonna piss them off. And that's what it looked like people were just pissed off. I watched another video. And you had this veteran who went to a restaurant, asked to be seated. He was in his, well, he wasn't in uniform, but he had his military medals on him and his old unit Baray. And they wouldn't see them in there because he didn't have a vaccine passport. A I get it, I understand those two girls who were yelling at that video and shaming at the front of the restaurant, they're making $10 an hour. You're not winning them over to your side by doing that naming and shaming to women that are just trying to make a living, who probably agree with your cause. Doesn't help. It's not helping. Yeah, you made your statement. And I understand where your statements coming from. But it's not actually helping anyone. And you can turn around say, well, we don't need your help. We don't want people's help. Well, you do want people's help, because that's the only way these things go away is when you make the convincing argument that it's time for these restrictions to be over. But we're not there yet. Whether you like it or not, we're not there yet. And I guess finally just kind of I was browsing Aaron O'Toole, his Twitter page and there's a little bit of drama there. He had posted he had gone to a local Remembrance Day ceremony of marched with them. He was wearing his military, metal and his commemorative metal. And people were just on there. Just go into town making fun of them. You shouldn't be anywhere near veterans. Look, hate the man all you want. I know, I know many of my listeners or PPC supporters hate the man all you want. You have to respect the service. If you're going to talk about Remembrance Day, you're going to talk about soldiers. And you're going to talk about respect, then you got to respect the service. And I saw people on the left and the right attacking him and the left I understand because most of them are cowards, but I was surprised about the conservatives like again hate the man all you want respect the service. And people were on there saying things like all well, he he didn't go to Afghanistan. Well, the vast majority of people don't go overseas, the vast majority. Don't go to the sandbox. Then people are saying well, he was just in the military till he got his CD is his Canadian decoration that's metal for 12 years of good service. And he left. Yeah, that's his right. We're a voluntary service. He did his time he left while he left when Afghanistan first started. So that's his choice. He can leave anytime he wants. You know, this isn't some Vietnam era, gaslighting operation. And I think it was World War One or World War Two where if you didn't go to war, then the women would go around and give you this thing that basically said you were a coward. Like, is that what we're doing now? Is that the type of bullshit we're gonna engage in? And then if somebody tried to claim that he had he had tried Stolen Valor, and I said, Come on, like, where and they couldn't give me a link and I was like, you know, I get it. You don't like the guy in anything I say you're just going to try to refute but again, hate the man respect the service. Why don't have to respect them? Well, you don't have to. All I'm saying is is that if you choose to wear a poppy on your lapel, that means to respect all veterans and guess what? Some veterans out there aren't the best people is what it is. So I was just really disappointed this year. Like really like remembrance 2021 was really seemed like kind of the air was taken out of the sails overall. You know, last year I understand we didn't have much because 2020 a lot of the stuff was still in the unknown. So we kind of didn't know where things were gonna go. Lots of places adapted, I thought really well to video in that, but this year, it was in my opinion was pathetic. Like Canadians, we gotta step it the hell up, we have to do better. I always hear from the from the right from the conservatives, we're losing Canadian culture. Okay, well, when you get upset you choose not to wear a poppy and you choose to employ Kancil culture to things like Remembrance Day because of vaccine mandates. And now you're doing the same thing the left is doing, and it'll just be another cultural tradition that will go right by the wayside. And then it'll be gone forever. And everyone's gonna look back on it with rose tinted glasses. And some people will look at it with 2020 hindsight and say, Yeah, we we shit the bed. My solution. I think we just need the adults back in the room. That's all we just need people to go back in there. We need people to get back into positions of power that are going to actually respect these cultural traditions of Canada. And we need people to turn around in and unitedly tell these people, these naysayers and that listen, Remembrance Day isn't about you. It's about veterans. It's about sacrifice. Kind of give you a couple of things to think about. And if you have any comments, you can let me know send me an email if you disagree or agree. I'm on YouTube. So consider subscribing, liking my content helps with the algorithms, Apple podcasts if you're listening on a podcast player that really helps out as well. See you next time.