Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Poppies red and white

The Royal Canadian Legion is yet again threatening a legal action to prevent the sale of white poppies in Canada -- this time in Prince Edward Island (the last time was in Edmonton). In recent years, as well as opposing the sale of the internationally known symbol of the Peace Pledge Union, the Legion has objected to an academic reassessment of Vimy Ridge -- a battle which has become a totemic symbol of Canada's nationhood.

I used to buy a red poppy in the UK, but I've been rather taken aback by the political stance taken by the RCL. That is not the role that I expect the Legion to play. I expect them to ensure the war dead are remembered with respect and to help veterans and their families. I don't expect them to assume a monopoly of the historic record or threaten legal action against pacifists. So I regret that yet again I won't be buying a poppy.

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