Remembrance Day collections interrupted in British Columbia – Kelowna News

The British Columbia branch of the Royal Canadian Legion says it is “unfortunate” that people with political agendas chose Remembrance Day to disrupt those who wanted to honor the sacrifice of military veterans.

The Legion’s BC / Yukon command issued a statement on Friday criticizing protests at Remembrance Day in Kelowna and Kamloops, as well as “defacing and vandalism” of a Cranbrook memorial.

“We are saddened that anyone would feel the need to distract from the sacrifice of our veterans and their families with political agendas. Especially on Remembrance Day,” said Val McGregor, president of the BC / Yukon Command of the Royal Canadian Legion.

“We are the memorials in Canada,” McGregor said. “As long as we exist, we will maintain the tradition of remembrance to ensure that Canada’s fallen are not forgotten.”

The Legion statement says COVID-19 pandemic restrictions have meant changes in how veterans are honored, including minor or virtual ceremonies and even canceled events.

“It is unfortunate that some took this as an opportunity to distract others from grief, remembrance and their intention to honor our veterans,” the statement read.

It says the protests in Kelowna and Kamloops – and the vandalism in Cranbrook – are “unacceptable”.

The RCMP in Kelowna said they were investigating a report from 75 to 100 protesters at the city cenotaph, who arrived just before 11 a.m. on Memorial Day.

Insp. Adam MacIntosh said that when people choose to interrupt those who hold Remembrance Day, it is “a step too far.”

Mayor Colin Basran said the city held a small, invitation-only ceremony he attended in a local legion ward because of the COVID-19 infection rate in the community.

An event at the cenotaphen, where thousands would normally attend Remembrance Day ceremonies, was not organized by the city, but many veterans went there and became involved in the protest against COVID-19 vaccination, he said.

“My reaction is anger, frustration,” he said. “The word I use is ‘reprehensible.’ This was just the wrong time and the wrong place for this type of protest. (It is) completely disrespectful to our veterans.”

Kamloop’s lawyer Jay Michi said he and his two young daughters left what he thought was a Remembrance Day ceremony in the city’s downtown park after it turned out to be a protest against BC’s vaccine mandate.

He said he arrived at Riverside Park in the belief that he was attending the city’s official Remembrance Day ceremony, which was actually held at a downtown cenotaph as an invitational event.

Michi said he realized he might have gone the wrong way when a young man started reading a statement against the government’s vaccine policy before another man grabbed the microphone and used obscenities to complain about COVID-19 vaccines.

“Someone has almost knocked someone out,” he said. “Another said, ‘Now is not the time,’ and this really big guy said, ‘Well, we agree with him,'” he said. “It was very, very aggressive, and I just thought, ‘This is absolutely crazy, I’m getting my kids out of here.’

In Cranbrook, the city says someone vandalized its cenotaph on Memorial Day.

“As a society, we are more than disappointed by the disrespectful actions of those responsible for destroying such an important monument on such an important day for all Canadians,” the statement said.

It said officials were able to remove the graffiti to allow Memorial Day ceremonies to continue.

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