Recent news articles and social media posts have implied that the Legion, Legion members and Branches are endorsing certain political groups. The Legion remains apolitical during the Federal election campaign. While individual Legion members are free to voice their opinions, they do not speak on behalf of the organization. In addition, Branches may offer their services, such as hall rentals, to any organization or political party but cannot imply endorsement or support for any one party.
During this federal election campaign, Veterans issues will be at the forefront of many discussions and we want to make it clear that, while we may comment on issues, our constitution forbids us from any affiliation with a political party.
“To take part in a political party’s development of a platform, regardless of the issue, is to be beholding to that party should it come to power. The Legion prefers to deal with all Canadians and with all federal political parties, regardless of the party that forms government or who voted for which political party,” says Dominion President of The Royal Canadian Legion, Tom Eagles.
The Royal Canadian Legion has been formed under an Act of Parliament entitled An Act to Incorporate the Royal Canadian Legion contained in the Statutes of Canada 1980-81. In item 4 (a) of the Act it states that the Legion “shall be democratic and non-sectarian and not affiliated to or connected directly or indirectly with any political party or organization”.
Involvement by branches or members in uniform in the current election campaigns in any manner could be construed or perceived as all Legion members having the same political affiliations or being supportive of a particular position. For this reason, the Legion abstains from becoming involved with a political party or political party action during any election campaign. By the same token, we avoid any misperceptions that could occur and avoid any loss of influence with the government that is eventually elected.
In lieu of party partisanship, the Legion advocates for change to the elected government of the day, thereby ensuring that it operates in accordance with its constitution. That said, during election campaigns, the Legion provides a position paper to all political parties for consideration. This apolitical position paper is a summary of our advocacy efforts on the significant issues affecting Canada’s Veterans.