WINNIPEG -- Veterans have won a battle far removed from the front lines of Europe, Asia and Africa. They've gained the right to sell poppies inside Canada Post offices across the country.
The Royal Canadian Legion's annual poppy campaign got off to a rocky start in the northern Manitoba town of The Pas last week when veterans were told they could not sell the familiar red lapel pins inside the post office. "It's like somebody slapped me in the face," Duke Dutkiewicz, chair of the local poppy campaign, said Wednesday in a telephone interview. "It's a Crown corporation. Don't the people of Canada own the bloody thing? "That's what (veterans) went out and fought for, so we would have all these things." Dutkiewicz said the post office had allowed poppy sales in previous years and the change of heart was a surprise.
Canada Post said it has always had a policy against letting charities set up on its premises, but the policy was not always enforced and some local offices have allowed poppy sales over the years.
The outcome would have been different if not for this:
The Pas residents, including the mayor and New Democrat MP Bev Desjarlais, got behind the legion branch. Canada Post changed its mind, averting the potential public relations disaster of engaging in a public spat with veterans in the lead-up to Remembrance Day.
"Canada Post is not an ogre. We certainly do listen to the public," Williams said. Canada Post president Moya Greene announced Wednesday that all post offices would be advised to allow poppy sales.
Canada Post misjudged the times we live in but were they that far off the mark for all of that? Ask yourself this, what happens when the day dawns and the veterans from the greatest generation have mostly passed away? Who will stand in their place?
(Tipped off by Neale News)