15 June 2004
(London) – A Terrace, B.C., resident has been elected Dominion President of The Royal Canadian Legion. Retired RCAF police woman and provincial public servant Mary Ann Burdett was acclaimed today at the Legion’s Dominion Convention in London as the new leader of Canada’s largest veterans’-based community service organization.On acclamation she became the 36th Legionnaire to hold the office in the organization’s 78 year history.
The Dominion Convention, held every two years, is the Legion’s governing body that sets the policies and programs for the more than 400,000 member fraternal organization formed by the First World War veterans in 1925 at Winnipeg’s Marlborough Hotel. Ms. Burdett is the first woman to be elected Dominion President. A former president of her provincial command she has been serving at the dominion level in various capacities for 15 years.
The new Dominion President has a long history of service to the Legion and is a life member of her branch in Terrace. She was first elected to offices at the provincial command level in 1989 having held almost all the possible offices available at her branch and having served as a Zone Commander. As the Dominion President she takes on the leadership of the Legion as it enters the early years of a new century of service to Canadian veterans.
"The role of the Legion is not changing," said Burdett following her acclamation by the approximately 1,800 delegates to the Convention from across Canada. "We have our purposes and objectives and we will continue to meet them even though there are changes happening within our structure that will help us remain viable in the community."
The annual drop in membership numbers has been a concern for the Legion over the past ten years, but Burdett notes, "We are not the only organization finding this reality of time. But we will continue to tackle the issue because we have a sacred trust to keep. And we can only do that by maintaining a strong membership base," she said. "We need to look at what our members want and what our potential members need to ensure that the trust is never broken," she stated.
"I’m looking forward to addressing this and other challenges during my term in office," she said. " Our polling information tells us the youth of Canada thinks we have a future and I believe that’s a good place to start."
Mary Ann Burdett, a Past President of Pacific Command (now British Columbia/Yukon Command) of The Royal Canadian Legion and a life member of Terrace, B.C. Branch, is the first woman to hold the office of Dominion President. She was elected to that office at the 40th Dominion Convention in London, Ontario in June, 2004.
Ms. Burdett has held all Legion branch offices except Treasurer and was a Zone Commander before entering the executive at the provincial level in 1989 where she moved from Second Vice-President through to President. A member of the Legion’s Dominion Executive Council for 15 years, Ms. Burdett has chaired the Dominion Command Leadership and Development committee, the Sports Committee and was appointed chairman of the Planning, Administration, Poppy and Remembrance Committee in June 2002. She later chaired the Poppy and Remembrance Committee on reorganization. She was also appointed as Vice-Chairman of the Veterans, Service and Seniors Committee and has previously served on the Membership Committee.
Ms. Burdett’s military service was with the Royal Canadian Air Force where she served in St. Jean and Aylmer in Quebec, Namao in Alberta and Rockliffe, Ontario as an Air Force Policewoman. Now retired from public service she was formerly employed in office administration and safety engineering services for the B.C. provincial government.
For further information please contact Bob Butt or Gail Smith-Cook at Dominion Command, The Royal Canadian Legion, at (613) 591-3335. A high resolution digital photo of Mary Ann Burdett is available at: www.legion.ca/_gfx/portraits/Burdett.jpg for your use as required.
For further information please contact Bruce Poulin at Dominion Command, The Royal Canadian Legion, at (613) 591-3335 ext. 241 or by cell at (613) 292-8760.
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