Two years ago, the Veterans and the Royal Canadian Legion Survey Report was published. It was too late for the 2016 Dominion Convention, but this we are sending some of the suggestions and feedback from the Survey Results to Ontario Provincial Command in the form of resolutions for the next Dominion Convention(s).
You can view the resolutions our Branch has agreed to send to Dominion Convention by reading them here and reading more below.
In accordance with the Legion By-Laws Article IX, the Resolutions were voted on by the Branch Membership on 15 March 2018 and sent to Ontario Provincial Command through Zone Command.
Like these resolutions? You may choose to introduce similar resolutions at your branch which may increase the chances of these resolutions being passed. Multiple resolutions for the same motion will be combined by the Dominion Command Resolution Committee. Or simply share these on social media and let’s get the conversation going so these have traction before they even reach the Dominion Convention floor.
Why These Resolutions?
Each resolution, which may not be wholly popular, are based on the best interests of Canada’s Veterans and the Future of the Legion. We expect reach resolution to meet with varying levels of scrutiny.
Dominion and Provincial Executive Officer Requirements
“Therefore be it Resolved that the Constitution and By-Laws of the Royal Canadian Legion be amended immediately to state that the Presidents and Vice-Presidents of the Dominion Executive Committee and all Provincial Executive Committees must be Ordinary Members.”
This was something which came up in the majority of responses, Veterans and Members did not feel that they were being adequately represented by the current Dominion Executives and Provincial Executives. Citing incidents such as the endorsement of the New Veterans Charter, the handling of the banning of a member for trying to report a issue at her branch, the resolution banning the wearing of Specialist Badges and Regimental Headdress, and more.
The Legion continues to be a Veterans Organization, and while we do not support calls for the removal of all civilian members (the Legion exists to support Veterans, you don’t need to be a Veteran to support Veterans), we do believe that the Legion can do more to represent Canada’s Veterans. Leadership at Dominion and Provincial Commands are not merely volunteers, the decisions they make at their respective levels have wide implications impacting Veterans coast to coast to coast. A Veterans Organization must be led by Veterans to properly serve Veterans.
New Honours and Awards
“Therefore be it Resolved that the Royal Canadian Legion’s Defence and Security Committee, as a stakeholder, immediately advocate through the Chancellery of Honours, for new Honours and Awards for military personnel and Veterans including a Combat Action Medal/Decoration, and a Domestic Operations Medal (or Bar to the Special Service Medal) for accumulated service on a Domestic Operation of 30 days or more.”
This is another issue that came up in the responses, the Legion is meant to advocate for the military and Veterans. While this may seem a small gesture, the Legion once advocated for a variety of issues some large and some small. This small issue will not solve the problems within the Legion, but may however be the small step in the right direction the Legion needs, to begin advocating for military and Veterans again. Hopefully the trend will form and stick.
Over 40,000 Canadians served in Afghanistan since 2001 (source). Of those hundreds to thousands of brave Canadian engaged the enemy. Yet, Canadian Combat Veterans wear the same medals as the staff who never left the wire*. Predating Afghanistan, many Canadians engaged in combat with hostile forces in peacekeeping missions, such as the Medak Pocket. Our allies in the USA and Australia honour their combat vets with recognition of stepping up and refusing to back down. Such a simple gesture that would boast esprit de corps among Canadian Combat Veterans.
*We in no way intend to take away from the service of those who did not leave the wire and engage enemy forces; we only wish to highlight those that did.
The Canadian Military stands ready to deploy abroad and domestically to serve Canada. Domestic Operations are no less real deployments than any OUTCAN mission. Canadian Military deploys thousands of personnel annually to disaster areas within our own borders no less significant than DART missions abroad, and personnel deploy within Canada for security missions as well. Some Canadians rack up weeks to months and in some cases years of domestic operations. Having a medal or bar to the SSM to recognize their service is no more or less than medals recognizing 30 days of service to any OUTCAN operation.
Canadian Volunteer Service Medal
“Therefore be it Resolved that the Royal Canadian legion’s Defence and Security Committee, as a government stakeholder, immediately advocate through the Chancellery of Honours, their support of the Canadian Volunteer Service Medal’s reinstatement and issue”
We looked at those current and released Veterans of the Canadian Armed Forces who served their country honourably, not did not make the military a career for themselves. Those soldiers, sailors and air crews who served in the Regular Force for one or two 3 year contracts, or Reservists who served their country before they began a family or civilian career. Prior to March 1947, these Veterans would have received the CVSM for volunteering in the CAF.
We believe that e-Petition 1418 should be supported by the Legion.
“Therefore be it Resolved that the Royal Canadian Legion Defence and Security Committee, as a stakeholder, immediately seek to create through the Chancellery of Honours new Canadian Honours and Awards: a Royal Canadian Legion Medal of Merit (to replace the right breast RCL Medal of Merit), and a Royal Canadian Legion Service Medal (to replace the right breast RCL Branch Service Medal), and a Royal Canadian Legion Dominion President Commendation (similar to the Minister of Veterans Affairs Commendation);
Therefore be it Further Resolved that upon successful completion and implementation of the above Honours and Awards, the Constitution and By-Laws of the Royal Canadian Legion be amended immediately to remove the current Legion Medals (right breast medals), except for Executive Officer Medals and the Cadet Medal of Excellence, from authorized wear.”
This was an issue brought up many times in the results, a Veterans Organization wearing “fake” medals. It is correct to say that the medals awarded by the Legion, or available for purchase in the Legion Store, are not official medals in the Canadian Honours and Awards System. They are however often mistaken as real medals. As a Veterans Organization, the Legion must present itself and its members with the same level of military standards as our military, these medals should not remain. There is, as we have discussed and concluded, a middle ground.
As a Veterans organization, we should embrace the Canadian Honours and Awards System by seeking the creation of our own medals. Not such a far fetched idea as the Order of Saint John has two medals, The Order of St John and the St John Service Medal, plus a Chancellors Commendation and a Provincial Commendation. Lets not also forget: the Sovereigns Medal for Volunteers, the Polar Medal, and the Queens Medal for Champion Shot; not that these are not worthy medals, but it shows that the Honours and Awards System is in place for more than military operations. As well, some provinces have their own medals which are recognized for wear after National Honours and Awards, such as the Ontario Medal for Good Citizens, the Saskatchewan Volunteer Medal or the British Columbia Medal for Good Citizens. If the Legion were to replace the right breast medals with medals in the Canadian Honours and Awards System, some credibility would be returned to the Legion while officially recognizing the efforts of our members.
Although removing right breast medals entirely is too far. Many organizations besides the Legion wear medals on the right breast. Keeping a limited number of right breast medals to recognize service on Executive Committees at all levels and service to the Cadets recognized by the Cadet Medal of Excellence. Although we strongly believe that medals which are purchased have no place in the Legion.
Wearing of CAF Specialist Badges and Headdress
“Therefore be it Resolved that the Royal Canadian Legion immediately adopt into its By-Laws that the wearing of military Specialist Badges and military awards badges may be worn on Royal Canadian Legion attire in the same manner as the Canadian Armed Forces;
Therefore be it Further Resolved that the Royal Canadian Legion immediately adopt into its By-Laws that the wearing of CAF DEU appropriate head dress by serving and released officers and members of the CAF become an approved head dress for Ordinary Members of the Royal Canadian Legion.”
It’s hard, no stomach turning, to imagine that at the 2016 Dominion Convention someone put forward a resolution to the banning of the specialist badges and head dresses that this resolution endorses; it’s even harder to believe that after the Veterans at the 2016 Convention spoke against it, the resolution passed. This is no doubt why many responses to the survey and comments on social media following the release of the survey report were of people who believe that the Legion no longer represents Veterans. It’s hard to argue with those comments when the Legion voted on a resolution that would restrict the wearing of hard earned badges and head dresses while some in the Legion wearing a dizzying number of pins and purchased medals.
Open Letter to the PM Regarding the position of VAC Ombudsman
“Therefore be it Resolved that the President of the Royal Canadian Legion Dominion Command call on the Government, by means of an open letter to the Prime Minister, for the position of the VAC Ombudsman to become a permanent and independent position enshrined in law reporting directly to Parliament.”
Hard to believe that the position of VAC Ombudsman is not a permanent position and can be terminated at any time. This is another situation where the Legion can prove to Veterans and members that the Legion can effectively advocate for Veterans. As an example, the National Defence Ombudsman is a permanent position which reports directly to Parliament.
Oversight of every Level of the Legion
“Therefore be it Resolved that the By-Laws of the Royal Canadian Legion be amended immediately to state that each Provincial Command be under the supervision and authority of Dominion Command;
Therefore Be It Further Resolved that the By-Laws of the Royal Canadian Legion be amended immediately to state Branches, Zones and Districts be granted a redress option when dealing with a higher level of command to the level above the command from which the issue has arisen.”
There have been issues in the Legion were one level of the Legion did not behave in a manner prescribed in the By-Laws or even ethically, with no oversight these infractions went unresolved. This is contrary to the ethical operation of an organization. Any organization must have a redress option. The CAF has a redress option. The Legion needs a redress option to take to a higher level of command when no resolution can be agreed upon between two Legion organizations.