SUMMERSIDE – Motorcyclists who wear certain motorcycle club colours will have trouble getting into Legions across P.E.I. and nationwide as the organization prepares to instate a “no colours” policy.
The new rule has impacted an Atlantic Confederation of Clubs and Independents Unity Ride that had been set for the Miscouche Legion this past Saturday.
The ride, organized by the ACC, was for club members, independent bikers, and enthusiasts to have a chance to get together, discuss current events in the Atlantic provinces, and then end it off with a ride.
Edwin DesRoches, president of the Miscouche Legion, declined to comment about the reason for his organization’s decision when contacted by the Journal Pioneer.
At the national level, Legion official Nujma Bond said the topic of banning “outlaw motorcycle club” (OMC) and street gang colours has been discussed.
Colours include club logos and rockers.
“At the last Dominion Executive Council meeting in late April, it was discussed, and a recommendation was made and passed. The new policy states that the wearing of OMC/street gang colours is not permitted at Legion events and premises as this is contrary to the Legion’s Articles of Faith and disrespectful of the sacrifices made by our Veterans.”
Bond is the communications manager for the Royal Canadian Legion Dominion Command.
She says the topic came up after a Remembrance Day ceremony that took place in 2017.
“Last year, members of outlaw motorcycle clubs attended a remembrance ceremony at a Legion branch in Ontario, wearing their full colours and with service medals attached. Law enforcement later approached the Legion to talk about the appropriateness of allowing OMC members wearing colours to participate in a Legion event. After further discussion and consideration, the Legion adopted its new policy.”
For Jerry Arsenault, a veteran with over 30 years of service, it’s disappointing.
“Last year and the year before I participated in Remembrance Day ceremonies at the Legion, indoor, in my colours and with my poppy and beret. Out of respect for comrades I lost in Afghanistan during my tours. And those from World War One, Two, Korea and the Boer War. And if this is now the Legion’s policy, even as a veteran, if I go to enter a Legion this Nov. 11 while in my colours, will they turn me away?”
He added, “If I take them off. I’m still the same person. Whether I wear my colours or not. What difference does it make?”
Arsenault is a member of the Bacchus Motorcycle Club. He’s also a veteran of the Afghanistan conflict and served in the Gulf, all through Europe, the Caribbean and more.
“We were going to this event because it’s a gathering of enthusiasts. It’s not put on by [Bacchus]. To me it’s wrong of the Legion, just because I’m a member of a club. Not a gang, a club to not let us in. Just because you read something bad in the news about a club, does that mean we’re all bad? No.”