It seems that every year, some motorcycle organization is singled out by the RCMP, OPP or other municipal police services and/or the Liquor Boards in the various provinces, as undesirable and undeserving of the right to march in and attend Remembrance Day services/parades or attend Legions in their riding regalia.

The Veterans MC on Vancouver Island has been locked in a battle with the local Legion, Branch 171 in Ladysmith BC.

Click this link to read the Nanaimo Daily article...

This is a battle undoubtably caused by the RCMP.  Read further and you'll understand why I say that.

Because this club, the Veterans MC, wears a 3 piece patch, they are being discriminated against.
And yet....Every member of the club HAS SERVED THIS COUNTRY by donning a Canadian Forces Uniform, and is an honest to GOD veteran.

We saw it in Cumberland at the Motorcycle RoundUp, the club was singled out by the Liquor Board & the RCMP as one of 7 clubs who were not supposed to wear their colours into licensed establishments.

In Ontario, we have heard of members of various RC's and MC's being asked to leave the Orangeville Legion because of their patches - some like C.A.V. wearing simple one piece patch, because the Legion didn't know who was who or what was what, regarding patches.

We saw it in Medicine Hat with the Falcon's MC and their poker run a few years back.

Because the police forces concern is that this MC is going to be absorbed by or is somehow already working with 1% clubs, they are being told they can't participate in Remembrance Day services.

The "request" however, never comes directly from the RCMP - OH NO....

The RCMP bring pressure to bear on those who control the establishment or function, in this case the RCL branch president.

You see the police feel that because most MC's follow COC protocol and go to the dominant club with their mission statement and their proposed patch to ensure the dominant club approves their patch and to show that their club as not interfering with any of the 1% clubs, that somehow that approval process means they are now in bed with or tied to the 1% club.

Clubs that have police officers as part of their membership are not allowed to attend COC meetings nor do they meet COC "guidelines" and therefore seldom go to the dominant to "ask for permission" to fly their colours.

It is considered a sign of respect, to let the dominant club know who you are and what your intentions are, if you intend to sport a 3 piece patch.  The dominant club either believes you or they don't. They either deem that your patch does not conflict or misrepresent who you say you are or it does in their eyes.

If you are "allowed" to wear your cut/colours that does NOT mean you are a 1% club, it means you are an MC that does not grate against the Confederation of Clubs and their protocols.

If you don't go to the dominant club to introduce your club, then in the eyes of the COC clubs, that means you allow police officers among your ranks and you are not a real MC in their eyes.
This aspect of the COC protocols creates a lot of discord/disagreement in the motorcycle community.

Of course the club that allows police officers in it, generally have a police officer who is a member who can smooth out the path so to speak, regarding the law and their ideas on special attention.

In the case of the Veterans MC, unlike many Veterans Clubs, they hold true to the core principle that you are not a veteran unless you have worn a MILITARY UNIFORM.
Unless you have worn the Canadian Forces Uniform and have been prepared for battle via basic training etc. you are not a veteran. Remember WWI, WWII, Korea, Afghanistan etc., were wars fought by soldiers not police officers. No one is discounting the fact that the RCMP serve their country, but they are not veterans who have been prepared to go to war and that is the mindset of the members of the Veterans MC.

Being an RCMP officer does NOT MAKE YOU A VETERAN in their eyes and so they do not allow police officers in their membership and therefore, they are fair game for special attention in the eyes of the police.

They (The RCMP) deem that to be the case with the Veterans MC because two their members have gone over to a 1% club. And yet, the rationale is not totally valid.  2 members left their club to go join a 1% club.  These veterans who went to a different kind of three piece patch club decided the "rigours" of being part of the Veterans MC no longer served them. They wanted to be a part of something different.  You don't see the entire membership moving over, being absorbed, patched over.  Two members....however.....

Here's where things get really muddy....

They left their club in good standing and while they will probably never be able to wear the Veterans MC colours again, they are still brothers at arms - they served in the Canadian Forces with the guys who make up the Veterans MC. So the Veterans MC gets invited to parties, events or the homes of these men who are now 1% MC members.

That's where the RCMP feel they are justified in connecting the dots if you will.  Although they no longer ride together as a club, the Veterans MC and the 2 members who moved to a 1% club are still friends, they were friends and comrades before they were MC members, but it's that very friendship the police look upon as suspicious.

At least that is how it was explained to me by a gang task force officer last year at the Vancouver Motorcycle Show.

The thing that truly makes this a sad situation is that the Veterans MC have donated substantial monies to the Ladysmith Branch of the Legion and now they feel abused and betrayed.

I called the RCL Branch 171 and asked to speak to their president, Gary Phillips, but as of this moment in time, he has not contacted me so that I could understand and pass on the specifics of this situation to you.

I do however already know in my gut how this played out.

I have heard it enough times...I have EXPERIENCED IT MYSELF, back when I used to host motorcycle shows.

Police officer tells the event coordinator, in this case, the Legion president that if they allow the Veterans MC in the Legion or to be a part of the ceremonies, they, the RCMP will pull out.
They also mention liquor licenses and how they can be affected by non compliance. They tell the Legion they are protected by the petty trespass act, and they, the RCMP will come and ask the "offensive" people to leave when they get the call.

The Legion becomes scared by the perceived intimidation, they cave in and do not defend the very veterans they are sworn to serve, they go against the Charter of Freedoms and Rights, they deny these people the right to be involved in a public ceremony on public land, they deny them access to a private club meant to serve military veterans and members and the veterans become hurt, indignant and angry.

Public opinion goes badly against the Legion because the citizens of the region do not understand the bullying tactics used on the Legion, the Legion decides that the RCMP are wrong minded in their "requests", the RCMP have no legal leg to stand on and so, the Legion reverses it's decision AFTER the damage is done.

OR, the Legion out of fear, stands firm because they would be embarrassed if the RCMP did not attend the service.

That's what has transpired, time and time again all across this country. Some Legions stand firm with the RCMP, usually out of fear of reprisal OR they stick to the Charter of Freedoms & Rights and protect the rights & freedoms of those they have vowed to serve.

Sadly too often, ill feelings become entrenched and their is a lot of anger on all sides of the equation.

In this case, the RCL Branch 171 in Ladysmith BC, has apparently, although not publicly, overturned their initial decision and have decided to allow the Veterans MC to attend.

Their decision is too late though, as the Veterans MC has decided to go to another Legion, the one in Chemainus and have vowed to not support the Ladysmith Branch.

In my personal humble opinion, there needs to be a full push to have motorcyclists recognized as a visible minority, because we are. We are very distinguishable from other motorists, other persons and we are a true minority, our community is only 700K+ strong. (Washington State was successful in having motorcyclists recognized as a visible minority).

My rights as a citizen, taxpayer and rider have been trodden on several times by the RCMP with regards to hosting events and banning patches. I lost almost a 1/4 million dollars standing my ground against them. They damned near broke me financially by blocking entrances to my show in Olds and it took me years to recover.

The RCMP will cripple you, financially and every other way they can so that they can get their way.
They do not care that what they are doing is not only immoral but bordering illegal.  It is profiling and at the very least it is subversive. They are in a battle with the 1% Clubs and sadly think that everyone who wears a patch, 3 piece or not is a 1%er unless there happens to be a police officer as a member, then the treatment tends to be different. Not always, but most times.

And so we find ourselves in this position time after time after time.

There are no rights and freedoms in this country as it pertains to motorcyclists, but somewhere there must be lawyers who will challenge the charter and people willing to force the point. Money and desire being the two strengths that are needed to get something like this done.

That's how I see this situation, what say you?

I'd dearly love your feedback on this topic.

To express your feelings to the RCL on how this situation has unfolded please contact:
Royal Canadian Legion, Branch 171
Gary Philips - President
621 First Ave, Ladysmith, BC
Phone:(250) 245-2273
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Belt Drive Betty 
Editor & Rider


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