Conservative MP Jay Aspin, Member of Parliament for Nipissing-Timiskaming has refused to have a poppy donation box for the Canadian Legion Branch 23 in his Constituency office in North Bay, Ontario.

Yes, you read that right but let me repeat it in case you didn’t catch it in its entirety the first time.

Conservative MP Jay Aspin, Member of Parliament for Nipissing-Timiskaming has refused to have a poppy donation box for the Canadian Legion Branch 23 in his Constituency office in North Bay, Ontario.

Did you catch the first word in that sentence?

Conservative. Keep that title in mind moving forward.

First of all, let me make one perfectly thing clear; if this was a Liberal or an NDP or a Communist or anything else, I’d be shouting them down and calling them out, but a Conservative MP refusing the Legion? The party that holds itself up as the champion of the Canadian military? That just makes it worse. Not that that’s out of the way, let’s proceed with the yelling, shall we?

So Mr. Aspin claims that he can’t have a poppy donation box in his Constituency office because he isn’t permitted by Parliamentary bylaw to collect donations in a public office, and is liable for any lost funds. Aspin says he’d be happy to distribute poppies, the time honoured symbol of respect and remembrance for Canadians fallen in war and during peacekeeping missions (and the primary source of fundraising for the Royal Canadian Legion to assist veterans) but will not accept donations. Bill Wilkins, chairman of local Branch 23 was a little more then shocked and said this is the first time in fifty years he’s seen an MP reject the Legion. Fifty years. That’s a five followed by a zero. As in half a century. As in most of the people reading this probably weren’t even alive when Wilkins began handing out poppy boxes or were just in diapers if you were. Now Nipissing-Timiskaming is actually a new Federal riding, the result of a 2004 amalgamation of Nipissing and a portion of the old Timiskaming-Cochrane riding and up until 2011 was represented by Liberal MP Anthony Rota, who Wilkins said always accepted a poppy donation box. Wilkins also reveal that other area MPs (I’m assuming belonging to various parties) have accepted poppy donation boxes.

So here’s what it boils down Jay; it is apparent that this by-law or regulation is being unenforced when it comes to the poppy at this time of year. There are hundreds, maybe thousands of Constituency offices from all political parties across the country with poppy boxes proudly displayed and collecting donations. Apparently the people who enforce this regulation have made it a quiet habit to look the other way when it comes to the Legion and public officials of all political stripes take advantage to help a patriotic cause. But not only are you turning your back on the Legion Jay, your doing it as a member of a party that is constantly and proudly telling the whole world how much it loves our military and our men and women, both past and present, who serve our nation in uniform. It’s a platform that won your party plenty of votes last time around, especially given Canada’s heavy involvement and bloody sacrifice on the sands of Afghanistan. It’s like the Surgeon General warning everyone about the risks of smoking between puffs. I wonder how other members of your party, especially those who make an exception to this by-law you feel is too sacred to bend or ignore, feel about your dismissal? Maybe they should ask you behind closed doors where the poppy you will soon wear on the floor of Parliament came from? Tim Horton’s? Starbucks? Your local mom and pop convenience store? Because those businesses are doing more for our vets then you are. And if you really wanted to be an anal retentive stickler about the rules (which are apparently ignored by Liberals, NDP and other Conservative officials) but still wanted to do the right thing, you could have offered to make a sizeable personal donation to the Legion and in return taken a box of poppies and distributed them for free at your office. But you didn’t even do that. All of this makes you a hypocrite who spits in the face of Canada’s veterans and doesn’t have the dignity, decency or intelligence to be ashamed of himself.

I wonder how long your constituents memory is up there Jay? Will they remember this next October when the country heads to the polls to choose it’s next federal government? Will they remember what you did when they cast their vote? Will it matter? After all, you only squeaked to victory in 2011 by a mere 18 votes. It’s a moot question, because I do have a long memory Jay, and I’m one of those demented schmucks who buys six or seven calendars every year (I like dragons, wolves and Despicable Me minions, so sue me) and I’ll make sure to circle October 19th on each and every one of them. Because I’ll be more then happy to remind everyone in range of my voice and my keyboard of what you did and what kind of hypocritical embarrassment you are. I don’t care if your riding votes Liberal, NDP, Marxist or chooses a chicken with three legs to occupy its seat in parliament, anything will be an improvement over you.

See you next October Jay. With a bulls eye.

Shayne Kempton



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