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Whither the Royal Canadian Legion? Or RCL Withers?

Teager

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Seems the Legion is tired of the misinformation in the news.

29
JUL
2016
LETTER TO THE EDITOR
Royal Canadian Legion fed up with misrepresentation by media
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Ottawa, 29 July 2016

Dear Editor:

Between the dates of 25 February 2016 and 27 July 2016, Postmedia published nine articles about The Royal Canadian Legion and Dominion Command which have inaccurate, misleading, or incomplete information. Dominion Command is committed to good governance, transparency and accountability and we are dismayed that inaccurate information continues to circulate about the Legion and Dominion Command.

In article after article, we see pervasive false information. Claims that we are charging a fee for ill and injured Veterans to receive care through the Legion’s new OSI Special Section – false! Claims accusing us of suspending a Legion member who was concerned about the treatment of Veterans – incomplete and misleading! Claims insinuating Dominion Command lacks financial transparency and accountability – false! There are simply too many inaccuracies and false information to list and correct in one Letter to the Editor, so we posted a full disclosure article on our website and encourage all Canadians to check it out and get the facts.

Royal Canadian Legion fed up with misrepresentation by media
Dominion Command has sent emails, requested interviews, and even participated in interviews with media to correct the information, yet these inaccuracies continue to be published. These articles unfairly discredit the Legion and the good work we do in support of Veterans and their families.

As a democratic member-based organization with nearly 300,000 member volunteers in over 1400 branches across the country we recognize we are not perfect. Where we see challenges we work to improve them. From reviewing and ensuring accountability and transparency, to strengthening member and public communications, to reaching out to the younger generation of Veterans and listening to their needs, to working with Provincial Commands and Branches to ensure all Veterans have access to Legion programs and support, to creating a welcoming atmosphere at all Branches, and more… we are moving this organization forward.

To Postmedia we say… get the facts, stop the insinuations and false accusations and check your ethics. We will no longer stand quiet while Postmedia writes this drivel and other media outlets blindly republish it, tarnishing the good name of The Royal Canadian Legion.

Get the facts!

Dave Flannigan
Dominion President
The Royal Canadian Legion

http://www.legion.ca/article/letter-to-the-editor/

This link takes you to the page of false vs the facts.

http://www.legion.ca/article/royal-canadian-legion-fed-up-with-misrepresentation-by-media/

 

dapaterson

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Their attempt to debunk includes a misdirection.  While they may be unable to disclose precise executive compensation, registered charities already disclose to the CRA the range of compensation paid to the ten highest paid people in the organization.  Adopting the same method would provide the increased transparency requested while respecting the privacy rights of those involved.

Many Legion halls are given tax breaks and other public support; it is not unreasonable to expect, in return, that the recipients of that largess exercise increased financial transparency.


 

Michael OLeary

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In my opinion, a telling piece of that Misrepresentation article is buried in the section on Beznoski:

This situation is an internal branch matter and falls under the provisions and processes of our General By-Laws. Dominion Command under those very By-Laws does not have the authority or jurisdiction to intervene in this matter.

Despite consistently describing "the Legion" as a singular entity that veterans and other Canadians should join, they admit that there is a coordination and control separation between branches and Legion "command" layers.

When RCL members are encouraging other to join, they say "Join the Legion." they do not say "Join Our Branch ... which does some things the RCL promotes, but otherwise does whatever our Branch wants to do." The result is that many people, both inside and outside the RCL, fail to understand this separation of authorities, priorities, and actions by local (i.e., Branch) executives. The outcome is that if someone has a problem at the Branch level, they may often perceive, and describe, it as a problem they have with "the Legion." For the Legion Command to then step back and claim that the perception is not the reality when they do not clearly identify that difference up front, or encourage Branches to be open about it, is a deceptive approach.

The RCL has some excellent institutional values and objectives, but they are undermined by the lack of any institutional controls on the execution of local objectives and decision-making under their "brand." The only people to be blamed for that misunderstanding is the RCL (through every level of control from Branch up to Dominion Command). They have made their bed, and denying the problems exist changes neither the reality of individual experiences, or the perception that the organization has issues. It only leads to the question, "what else are they hiding?"
 

Wrangler

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The Legion itself is trying very hard to institute change and it's a difficult process. For decades it was an organization that was run by WWII vets and everything revolved around them, along with the attitude. In many instances Korean Vets were shunned and there was so much arguing over who exactly is a vet.

The organization is now focused on the modern vet and their needs. Slowly we are changing the perception within on who we are, and it's so much for the better. More and more people serving on Executive Committees are vets who understand where we need to get to. The most difficult task is getting the modern vet to join the Legion as most still feel it's just a drinking establishment, and it's not. It's ripe for those that wish to make change and make a much stronger veterans organization. It's imperative that we support the Legion to enable one organization to speak on behalf of ALL veterans.

So many articles have been written about the Legion that were total lies. Apparently facts get in the way of a good story.

I presently serve as a vice-president at the Provincial Command level and we're working damn hard to make it better and stronger. The new OSI program is a great initiative and something that was needed.
 

Michael OLeary

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I would like to know:

In how many places are there multiple Legion branches in close proximity that are slowly dying because they refuse to amalgamate and conserve resources to support the organization's purposes and objectives?

How many branches are dying and using all their resources to try and maintain a building that is now too old and/or too big to suit their current purposes?
 

MilEME09

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Michael O'Leary said:
I would like to know:

In how many places are there multiple Legion branches in close proximity that are slowly dying because they refuse to amalgamate and conserve resources to support the organization's purposes and objectives?

How many branches are dying and using all their resources to try and maintain a building that is now too old and/or too big to suit their current purposes?

I think it's location as well, I know of one branch in calgary thats pretty dead, that is also fairly hidden in whats now mostly a heavy commercial area. Most people don't know some of these branches are even there. I would argue some branches need to relocated, and others need to merge together.
 

runormal

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Michael O'Leary said:
I would like to know:

In how many places are there multiple Legion branches in close proximity that are slowly dying because they refuse to amalgamate and conserve resources to support the organization's purposes and objectives?

How many branches are dying and using all their resources to try and maintain a building that is now too old and/or too big to suit their current purposes?

Where I grew up there are far too many legions, especially given the population density. Search royal canadian legion in Google maps over south western Ontario and you'll be shocked. (See attachment)



We did have many bases in the area (Clinton, Centralia, Ipperwash to name a few and there was also part of RCR was in London).
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CFB_Clinton
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RCAF_Station_Centralia
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Camp_Ipperwash


If these buildings are "paid" for i.e the legion owns the land and the operating costs are paid for by the local membership, that is one thing. However if they aren't then a serious re-evaluation should be done.

With that being said the public typically rallies behind the legion, I've seen local concerts, people have held receptions, memorial service etc. The public would hate to see anything else leave the area, however I doubt that they are serving their intended purpose.
 

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Lightguns

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MY wife is a Lion and there are 3 lodges within 10 minutes of each other, they don't cooperate, they don't sit together at larger meetings, and they constantly talk about how each other is not doing good for the brand.  Organized human groupings are all the same, insular and wary of outsiders. 
 

Wrangler

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In regards to branches, I can't speak for Ontario as I personally find it crazy how many branches that are in that province. Where I am from, we're presently reviewing the status of every branch within our Command. Yes, the Legion is in need of modern veterans, badly, and we wish to increase our membership or the Legion will die. At the same time we won't sit back and let a branch solely exist as a social establishment if they are not following the purposes and objectives of the Legion.

It's so easy to say we want change and to be better at representing every soldier, sailor and airman, but getting there is much harder. Four years ago we had zero serving veterans that were part of our Executive Committee at Command. As of right now six of seven are veterans. Why? Because veterans do wish to take back the reigns from the Old Guard and it's happening as we speak.

Bottom line is we need you. We need veterans to help veterans.
 

BillN

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I have never been very impressed with my dealings with the RCL.  As a veteran, why would I waste my time joining joining the Legion when 90% of the membership have no idea about what veterans need, want, or require?  And, more to the point, for the most part make no effort to try to understand us.   

The Legion started it's long descent into oblivion the day it allowed civilians, who have never served a day of their lives, to become full voting members of the RCL.  That's the day the RCL became just a drinking club, not a veterans association.

My wife, who is a 35 year veteran of the RCAF and also has no time for the RCL, and I, would much rather send our money to our respective regimental associations, where we believe it does some good.

 

Wrangler

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Very valid points you brought up and it's something the RCL faces. As I stated, we're working hard to better represent who we are supposed to be serving. Has the Legion been going in the wrong direction? Damn right it has. At some point you either re-evaluate who you are, or say screw it nothing will change and give up. Luckily the majority won't give up and are working for that change. My job is Constitution and Laws and one thing I learned quick, which most members don't realize, is that the power lies with our own by-laws and not with any Command. If you read and understand the Dominion/Provincial/Branch by-laws, any one individual can ensure the purposes and objectives are followed. Many branches don't do what they are supposed to do, that simple. But all it takes is one member who reads over the bylaws to set things straight. If you don't like any branches in your area, don't join a branch, join through a Provincial Command or Dominion Command.
I understand someone who had a bad experience with the Legion and not wanting to join. Hell I've wanted to quit more than once. What I'm getting at is I don't want younger members brushing us off so quickly. I'd love to see more younger veterans and serving members step up to the plate and join and help make change happen.
 

brihard

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Wrangler said:
The Legion itself is trying very hard to institute change and it's a difficult process. For decades it was an organization that was run by WWII vets and everything revolved around them, along with the attitude. In many instances Korean Vets were shunned and there was so much arguing over who exactly is a vet.

The organization is now focused on the modern vet and their needs. Slowly we are changing the perception within on who we are, and it's so much for the better. More and more people serving on Executive Committees are vets who understand where we need to get to. The most difficult task is getting the modern vet to join the Legion as most still feel it's just a drinking establishment, and it's not. It's ripe for those that wish to make change and make a much stronger veterans organization. It's imperative that we support the Legion to enable one organization to speak on behalf of ALL veterans.

So many articles have been written about the Legion that were total lies. Apparently facts get in the way of a good story.

I presently serve as a vice-president at the Provincial Command level and we're working damn hard to make it better and stronger. The new OSI program is a great initiative and something that was needed.

I'm involved in the OSI program and am in contact with the guys at the top on a regular basis. If you have any interest in learning more / becomng more involved to help champion it in your region, let me know. I'd be happy to put you in touch.
 

BillN

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Like many of my veteran friends I will not joint the RCL until the rules on civilian membership are completely re-written.  In my personal opinion as long as this association continues to allow non-veterans to join as members, it cannot be a veterans association.  The same goes for the ANAVETS. 

 

Wrangler

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This text is directly from the Dominion Command website:

"Almost 1/3 of our members are Veterans (Ordinary and Life categories). While the majority of our members (Associates) are civilians, it’s important to note that these individuals are the wives and husbands, the sons and daughters, and the grandchildren of Veterans. They have lived with Veterans and are impacted by the care our Veterans receive. They are intimately connected to Veterans and the issues affecting them. Legion members care deeply about supporting the men and women who serve this country and want to make a difference. They give over 1.5 million volunteer hours every year and support Legion activities financially. Without Legion volunteers the tremendous programs and services provided to our Veterans and their families in communities across this country would disappear."

We are not an association, but a Veteran and community organization. When I first joined the Legion, I myself wasn't impressed with the fact that there were so many folks involved that had never served. It didn't take long to see how much these Associate members brought to the Legion though. In my personal opinion, these members don't get the credit they deserve. From selling poppies, to Meals on Wheels, to regularly visiting vets in hospital. The list goes on.  All done by 95% Associate members. Not because we don't have past serving members in our branch, but because these individuals stepped forward when needed.
 

Fishbone Jones

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It is a VETERANS organisation. I appreciate that civilians wish to support us. However, civilians, should not have a vote or be qble to hold executive positkons.

If you need a reason why Veterans won't join, it's  because the Legion is not ours. It's now a  civilian club that uses veteran support as their raison dêtre for existence.

You want Veterans back? Revert back to past practice where you need to be a Veteran to vote. I have a  history of over 40 years of Legion membership  as an Ordinary (Veteran) member. I go in at the NY Levee and pay my dues. I go in the following NY levee and pick up my expired cards and pay for the.next year.

It used to be where you could find me. It would, now, be the last place to look for me.

Restore ownership to us that own the title of Veteran and the RCL will restore itself.
 

Lance Wiebe

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Recceguy, I couldn't agree more.
I finally stopped paying my dues this year. I had some hopes of changes forthcoming from Dominion Command, but nope, no change.
I may join again in the future, but only when after I see some changes at the Dominion level.
 
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