ORLEANS, ON, July 10, 2015 /CNW/ - The Honourable Erin O'Toole, Minister of Veterans Affairs, helped induct Afghanistan Veteran Master Corporal (ret.) Jody Mitic into the Royal Canadian Legion Friday night in Ottawa. Minister O'Toole attended the initiation ceremony for new members at the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 632 in Orleans and delivered remarks after being introduced by Member of Parliament for Ottawa-Orleans, Royal Galipeau.
Minister O'Toole urged Canada's youngest generation of Military Veterans, the brave men and women who served Canada in the Balkans and in Afghanistan, to join the Royal Canadian Legion en masse to help revitalize the storied service organization.
"The Royal Canadian Legion has more than 1,400 halls in cities, towns and villages across Canada, and sadly, fewer and fewer Armed Forces Veterans are joining this vital group and sharing their experiences in these community hubs – that needs to change. Younger Military Veterans must get together and share experiences at and get assistance from the Legion," Minister O'Toole said. "In the 1980s, the Legion had more than 600 thousand members, today, it's down to about 300 thousand, and less than a third of those members are actually Military Veterans – that needs to change. The next generation of Armed Forces Veterans needs a place for comradery, and they should come to the Royal Canadian Legion."
Earlier in the day, Master Corporal (ret.) Mitic was presented with a Ministerial Commendation in a ceremony honouring 28 recipients for their contributions in the service of Military Veterans.
- The Royal Canadian Legion (RCL) is the largest Veterans' organization in Canada. The RCL strives to make a difference in the lives of Military Veterans and their families, provide essential services within our communities, and remember the men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice for our country.
- RCL Branch 632 (Orleans) was granted its Charter on March 18, 1980 and today has over 800 members, mostly of which are Military Veterans.
- RCL Branch 632 visits over 400 Military Veterans annually in long-term care residences and senior residences in Orleans as well as supporting two Cadet organizations and several other charities in the community.
- Minister O'Toole, who served in the Royal Canadian Air Force, is a member of the Bowmanville Legion Branch 178.
"When Veterans have a strong voice—such as The Legion's—working on their behalf, everyone wins. I encourage as many Canadians as possible to join their local Legion branches so this important institution can continue to play a vital role for our Military Veterans and our communities."
The Honourable Erin O'Toole, Minister of Veterans Affairs
"As a volunteer Legion community, most of our efforts are directed to supporting and assisting veterans and their families. Last year alone, the members appointed to these very important duties visited with and/or assisted over 500 veterans and family members here in the Orleans community."
Marty Keates, President, RCL Branch 632 Orleans
SOURCE Veterans Affairs Canada
For further information: Martin Magnan, Press Secretary, Office of the Minister of Veterans Affairs, 613-996-4649; Media Relations, Veterans Affairs Canada, 613-992-7468