A legion branch in B.C.’s Okanagan region says it had to alter its Remembrance Day ceremony due to a threat of violence.
A spokesperson with the Oyama branch of the Royal Canadian Legion said police contacted them on Wednesday, telling them the threat came through the regional district.
According to branch president Rob Nairne, the threat was “if the United Nations flag was flown at the Remembrance Day ceremony, someone might get killed.”
That threat, said Nairne, was enough for organizers to officially cancel the ceremony in Lake Country.
However, the branch still held a small ceremony, albeit at the Legion branch, while an unofficial ceremony took place at the cenotaph in Winfield.
“As an executive, we took the position that it wasn’t worth putting our necks on the line for that,” said Nairne, adding they didn’t know if the non-specific threat was aimed at the Oyama branch or other Legion branches in the Central Okanagan.
Nairne said the branch took the threat seriously, stating “when the RCMP tells you something like that, we thought it was the right thing to do.”
Still, the event went on, albeit in a much smaller manner.
“We put notices up that we were cancelling it,” said Nairne, “but we still wanted to honour our veterans and we did hold a ceremony outside the branch.”
Nairne said there was “a significant RCMP presence” at the ceremony held outside the Legion branch. He said a couple of officers patrolled the Legion branch perimeter with rifles, which he called “quite unusual.”
Global News has reached out to police and the regional district for more information.
Nairne said the threat absolutely baffled him, as did the Remembrance Day disruption in Kelowna and the cenotaph in Cranbrook being vandalized.
“It doesn’t make a lot of sense to me, what’s going out there,” said Nairne. “That day is the day to honour veterans — those that put their lives on the line and died and others who put their lives on hold for a number of years and experienced things that we can’t even imagine.
“What (veterans) did was made it possible for people to have the right to demonstrate peacefully and the lives we’ve lived here in Canada.
“And for people to go and denigrate that whole process, as they did — that crew in Kelowna, that was absolutely out of line; the threat of violence — I don’t even understand that.
“How can somebody have that much hatred?
“The veterans fought so that we could have the freedoms that we have in this nation, and we are more free than just about any other nation. I don’t understand this thing about tyranny because we’re being asked to take a vaccination.
“It is tyranny because you’re asked to take a driver’s licence (test?) I don’t get it. What’s going on in our society these days is quite mystifying to me.”