News Canada

Criticizing federal veterans cuts at Remembrance Day ceremony costs legion chaplain her job

Reg Clayton, QMI Agency

Rev. Sandra Tankard marches with veterans, uniformed police and first responders during the parade form Kenora Legion Branch 12 to the First World War cenotaph at Memorial Park during Remembrance Day services on November 11, 2014. (REG CLAYTON/QMI Agency)

Rev. Sandra Tankard marches with veterans, uniformed police and first responders during the parade form Kenora Legion Branch 12 to the First World War cenotaph at Memorial Park during Remembrance Day services on November 11, 2014. (REG CLAYTON/QMI Agency)

KENORA, Ont. — The Royal Canadian Legion branch in Kenora, Ont., has accepted its chaplain's resignation after she criticized federal government cuts to veterans services during local Remembrance Day ceremonies.

In her message to the gathering on Nov. 11, Rev. Sandra Tankard criticized the federal government for cutting funding to the Department of Veterans Affairs, resulting in the closure of service centres across the country.

Tankard said her support and vote would go to the political candidate and party that reinstates funding for Canada’s veterans.

Kenora Conservative MP Greg Rickford was at the ceremony to lay a wreath at the cenotaph as a representative of the government of Canada.

Immediately following the service, Legion Branch 12 president Jerry Lava requested Tankard submit a letter of apology to those offended and specifically to Rickford.

“It’s caused a major upheaval among legion members who felt the comments were inappropriate for a Remembrance Day service,” Lava said at the time. “Some people agree with what she said, but the Remembrance Day service isn’t the time or place to do it, not within the context of scripture and topic.”

Tankard complied with the request and apologized, saying it wasn’t her intention to embarrass the legion or its members, but to raise awareness of issues affecting Canadian veterans of overseas conflicts.

She also offered her resignation and at a meeting Monday evening, legion members voted to accept it, Lava confirmed.

In an interview on Tuesday, Tankard said she was "disappointed, but a vote is a vote."

Tankard has said she believes Canada should be doing more for its veterans, especially those returning home from active duty in Afghanistan suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and the high incidence of suicide among military personnel since 2004.

Poll

Do you think it is fair to criticize federal government cuts to veterans services?


Reader's comments »

By adding a comment on the site, you accept our terms and conditions


Featured Businesses

Go to the Marketplace »