B.C. government will leave Veteran’s Licence Plate program alone
The B.C. government has decided to leave the Veteran’s Licence Plate program alone.
The provincial government was considering expanding the eligibility of the licence plate program to include police officers. After a six-week consultation period, 63 per cent of the nearly 4,400 people who filled out the survey told the province they wanted the plates to remain for military veterans.
“Overall, respondents strongly favoured keeping the eligibility criteria the same and not expanding it to include RCMP or other police officers,” reads the consultation report. “With the exception of respondents who indicated having a policing background, all other respondent groups opposed broadening the criteria.”
B.C.’s military veterans have been eligible to apply for a special plate in honour and recognition of their service since 2004. Those who are military veterans, currently serve in the military, served for the UN or NATO with the Armed Forces or served as a police officers under special command of the Armed Forces are eligible for the plates.
The debate was triggered earlier this year when the Royal Canadian Legion Dominion Command and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Veterans’ Association requested
that government and ICBC consider allowing RCMP officers to be eligible as well.
In July, when the public consultation was launched, some veterans said they would return their special license plates if the program was expanded to include police officers. Retired Lt. Col. Archie Steacy helped lead the charge in favour of keeping the licence plate the way it is.
Steacy, who was issued British Columbian’s first veteran’s plate, is thankful that the province is listening to the clear feedback.
“I am really glad the thing is over and done with and that is what is important,” said Steacy. “I do thank Mr. Eby for making this decision. He finally woke up I guess and realized it was the wrong thing to do.”
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The legion sent a letter to the provincial government informing them that the poppy image was a licensed symbol. The expectation is that the organization will continue to allow the poppy to be used and that the legion respects the findings of the consultation.
Steacy says that this controversy has led to some veterans giving up their legion memberships.
“The legion is a dying organization and doesn’t represent veterans any longer because 80 to 90 per cent of their membership is non-military and I know a lot of veterans who will not join them,” Steacy said.
The province also considered special plates for first responders but based on feedback is longer looking at that option for now.
The government was also working with ICBC to expand the specialty plate program. But with the major changes underway at the public insurer, implementation of those initiatives is the top priority and specialty plate changes have been put on hold.
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