Letter to the Editor
The Editor, Le Journal de Montréal
Poppy Campaign: Millions for Veterans are Kept Dormant
The Royal Canadian Legion is very disappointed in the article contained in Le Journal de Montréal on November 12, 2015 concerning the distribution of Poppy funds by the Legion, especially in view of the outpouring of compassion and support from Canadians across this great country for Veterans, the Canadian Armed Forces and the RCMP during the recent Poppy campaign and in our Remembrance Day services in communities from coast to coast to coast. I would like to take this opportunity to correct some misleading information contained in these articles.
The Legion is proud of its service to Canada’s Veterans and is very concerned when individuals who are supposedly in the know on services provided by the Legion are in fact providing incorrect or misleading information. Everything we do is a matter of public record, and the Legion is exceptionally proud of its record of service to Canadians. Our Mission Statement is to serve Veterans which includes serving Military and RCMP Members and their families, to promote Remembrance and to serve our Communities and our Country.
Canadians have supported the Poppy campaign since the early 1920’s and in the 2014 Campaign, 20 million Poppies were distributed. From the donations received from Canadians, 16.5 million dollars were distributed to Veteran related services in communities across the country. These funds are held in trust and their usage is prescribed in The General By-laws of The Royal Canadian Legion. Funds are used to provide assistance to individual Veterans through our Legion Service Bureau Network to build wheelchair ramps or other improvements to Veterans homes, provide financial assistance to pay bills for hearing aids and dental work, providing education bursaries for Veterans children and grandchildren, providing comforts for Veterans in hospital and much, much more. The Legion Service Bureau Network, which has been around since 1926, has Service Officers across the country at Legion Branches and at Provincial Commands. These Service Officers can assist former and currently serving members of the Canadian Armed Forces and the RCMP and their families by representing their interests in claiming disability benefits from Veterans Affairs Canada and the Veterans Review and Appeal Board Canada.
Most of our Legion Command Service Officers are former members of the Canadian Forces, the RCMP and Veterans Affairs Canada, with extensive time and experience with the Service Bureau Network. Our officers understand Canadian Forces and RCMP terminology, culture and operational practices. This unique background promotes a good understanding between a Legion Service Officer and a Veteran. It is important to note that a Veteran does not have to be a member of the Legion to be eligible for assistance from the Legion Service Bureau Network. This service is provided free of charge by the Legion whereas there are unscrupulous individuals who actually charge Veterans to represent them.
It is truly disheartening to see such negative information about the Legion’s service to our Veterans being communicated through your publications and I would ask that this correspondence be shared with your readers in order to provide a much more accurate picture of the role of the Legion in the Veterans community across Canada.
For further and more detailed information, kindly visit us at www.legion.ca or contact us at Dominion Command at 1-877-534-4666.