Little Current Royal Canadian Legion at crossroads

Will close if executive positions not filled at December 11 election

LITTLE CURRENT—The bell is tolling at Royal Canadian Legion Branch 177 in Little Current and this time the situation is truly grim. If the executive positions are not filled at a December 11 emergency election meeting the branch will close.

In fact, the Legion has already been closed at the behest of the Royal Canadian Legion’s Dominion Command following the recent resignation of the executive. “They did tell me to close it down,” said Jeff Marshall. “I got a call a little while later telling me that we had a bit of a reprieve until the 7 pm December 11 meeting, but if all the executive positions are not filled they will close it down.”

Sadly, the dwindling ranks of Second World War veterans seems to be a major factor behind the crisis facing so many Legion branches across the country.

“It is when the parent who was the veteran passes away, the kids just seem to lose interest,” said Mr. Marshall. “I think I could count the number of veterans we still have on one hand.”

Compounding the issue is the anecdotal observation that today’s veterans seem to be less engaged in the Legion than those of earlier conflicts or perhaps it is just that modern wars produce fewer veterans than were to be found in the “greatest generation.”

“Today, most people seem to look at the Legion as the place they go to help fund their ball team or hockey team,” said Mr. Marshall.

While many organizations can limp along with less than a full complement of officers, the Legion is somewhat different, he explains. “We have to follow the rules and protocols set down by Dominion Command. They send them to the provincial, which then sends them on to us.”

Should the Legion be taken over by Dominion Command it will spell its death knell.

“They won’t take it over to run it, you can be sure of that,” said Mr. Marshall. The routine is well established through the example of dozens of branches that have been closed over the past decade. “They will sell off the assets to pay the bills and then sell the land,” he said. Even though it has been the local community that has financed and supported the Legion, the proceeds and profits from the sale will go to the Legion’s Dominion Command.