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Vaughan Royal Canadian Legion branch shuts down due to association with outlaw biker groups

Royal Canadian Legion. Mike Postovit/Global News

A Royal Canadian Legion branch in Vaughan, Ont., has been shut down due to its association with outlaw motorcycle gangs.

The decision was delivered to members of Branch 414, also known as Mackenzie branch, through a written letter on Feb. 12.

“It is with great sorrow that I inform you that the charter of the MacKenzie branch of the Royal Canadian Legion, Ontario Provincial Command has been revoked due to the branch’s overt association with outlaw motorcycle groups,” said the letter, obtained by Global News and signed by the Legion’s provincial president, Derek Moore.

Moore wrote that the action was taken by Dominion Command upon the request of Ontario Command, after police and internal investigations found that the branch was “overtly and knowingly breaching the legion’s policy” on wearing “outlaw motorcycle club/street gang colours”, which includes vests, logos and patches at Legion events.

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“The Legion developed this policy in consultation with Canada’s law enforcement agencies. The overt wearing of outlaw motorcycle club colours at Legion events and premises is contrary to the Legion’s Articles of Faith and disrespectful to the sacrifices made by our Veterans,” the letter reads.

“We cannot permit the Legion’s name or events to be associated with organized crime,” wrote Moore.

More said that in October 2023, after” inquiry and for cause,” the command suspended the Charter of the MacKenzie branch.

“We spent days, weeks and months gathering information and discussing the final decision on the MacKenzie branch and concluded that revocation was the only choice,” said Moore in the letter.

This isn’t the first time MacKenzie branch has made headlines. Last fall, York Regional Police said a former president and a former treasurer of the branch had been charged with fraud.

York police alleged that between 2017 and 2019, the branches’ former president had written herself 34 cheques and did seven electronic money transfers to her account totalling more than $33,500.

Police said the former treasurer “participated by signing 24 of the written cheques.” They both were charged with fraud over $5,000 and possession of property obtained by crime over $5,000.

However, the letter did not reference that the alleged fraud investigation is connected to the branch being shut down.

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The letter says that “despite this highly unfortunate situation,” MacKenzie members can consider transferring to a different Legion branch.

Moore said that the building and its entire contents will be sold. After outstanding bills and debts are paid, any remaining money “will go toward veteran-centric and community programs and supports.”

Global News reached out to Ontario Provincial Command of the Legion and York Regional Police for comment but did not hear back at the time of publication.

— With files from Global News’ Ryan Rocca

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