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News - All - 18 Sep 2020
News Item 14 of 2037
RCL: 18 Sep 2020
LETTER FOR YOUR M.P.
Dominion President Thomas D. Irvine, CD, has sent a letter to all MPs requesting help in seeking accountability from the government to provide its promised financial assistance, in addition to an op-ed piece recently published in The Guardian. But after months of inaction from the federal government, the Legion is launching a letter-writing campaign to secure financial support for Branches impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Provincial Commands have reached out to their Branches with details on the campaign.
We encourage all Branch executives and members to write to their local MPs using the template below. Please personalize the information in the letter where indicated, add your Branch letterhead and mail or email (as a PDF or read only Word document) the letter to your MP the week of September 15. Contact your Provincial Command if you have any questions. Together, we can ensure the Government of Canada follows through on its promised assistance for the Legion.
Please take part in this letter writing campaign. The template is below for ease of cutting and pasting:
September XX, 2020
Mr. / Ms. (Insert your MP name here), M.P.
House of Commons
Ottawa, ON K1A 0A6
Re: Federal Support for Royal Canadian Legion Branches
Dear Mr. / Ms. (Insert your MP last name here):
I am writing in support of Branch 123 in (Community), and all Royal Canadian Legion Branches across our country.
Many Branches were hit hard by the COVID-19 outbreak, yet federal relief programs released to date cannot help most of them pay their operational bills. There is a federal loan option, however not all Branches qualify and some cannot take the risk. If we do not help suffering Branches weather this situation, it could mean the end of their critical work to support Veterans and communities. I do not want that to happen. I hope you feel the same way.
I ask you to help ensure federal leaders fulfill their promise to provide an aid program that will include Legion Branches and help them with operational costs. Our Dominion President Thomas D. Irvine, CD, has explained the situation to the federal government more than once; in June, the Prime Minister stated that they were “…working with the Minister of Veterans Affairs and other officials to try and ensure that we’re supporting these organizations that are so important, not just for Veterans but for their communities as well.” Veterans Affairs Canada told us that an aid package is in the works - but weeks later, the Legion is still waiting to hear back.
Soon after this pandemic began, Provincial Commands and Branches accessed temporary relief through the Legion’s national reserve funds, but those are running out. Some Branches started GoFundMe initiatives and other temporary and unsustainable measures to raise funds. Understandable restrictions on Branch re-openings means fewer dollars raised from events, hall rentals and food service. Many Branches, unfortunately, have simply had to remain closed.
Despite extreme challenges, our members continue to do amazing work, such as preparing and delivering meals to Veterans and seniors, reaching out to homeless and near homeless Veterans and their families to provide immediate financial assistance and support, helping Veterans apply for benefits and organizing remembrance-related events. If a community loses a Branch, it loses all of this.
Contributions donated yearly during the Legion’s National Poppy Campaign are not a source of operational revenue and must only be used to help support Veterans, families and communities. Our Legion Branches need help now. The situation is already dire for some that are on the brink of failure. A Branch in Ontario, open since 1927, recently closed its doors indefinitely, unable to make ends meet. How many more will follow?
I ask you to please be a voice in Government to help expedite a federal aid package that will work for our Branches, one that allows them to survive this pandemic and continue to help our Veterans and communities.
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