Cranbrook Legion member who wrote racist 'joke' dismissed

The president of the union of B.C. Indian Chiefs is demanding a formal apology to families of aboriginal veterans after a "joke" was published in the Cranbrook Legion's newsletter about hunting native men.

B.C. chiefs demanding a formal apology

Far from funny

10 years ago
Duration 1:06
A racist 'joke' was printed in a Legion newsletter in Cranbrook, B.C.

The volunteer behind racist and violent "jokes" in a Cranbrook Legion newsletter has been stripped of his duties.

A Royal Canadian Legion in Cranbrook pulled its newsletter after a complaint over a "joke" that talked about hunting aboriginal men. (Google Street View)

The Legion's August newsletter featured two inappropriate jokes, said Inga Kruse, executive director of the Royal Canadian Legion's BC/Yukon Command, on Thursday.

One "joke" described hunters killing aboriginal men, then getting arrested — not for murder, but for using beer as bait.

The other joke, she only described as "violent."

Forty copies were distributed to members before being pulled after Cranbrook Legion member Shirley Green — a Cree and Ktunaxa woman — called to complain.

The "joke" was removed and replaced with the explanation that while it had offended one reader it was just meant to get a laugh.

"What's supposed to happen is that if one person is writing a newsletter or doing a publication, there should be a quality control process in place at that branch level," Kruse said.

"He's no longer with the executive of that branch. He's no longer working on the newsletter. And that was taken care of immediately."

Kruse says the person who was supposed to proofread the newsletter had fallen ill.

She says it's possible the volunteer could have his membership to The Royal Canadian Legion revoked entirely.

Chiefs union calls for formal apology

On Friday, the president of the union of B.C. Indian Chiefs demanded a formal apology to families of aboriginal veterans.

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip wrote a letter to the Royal Canadian Legion's BC/Yukon Command on Friday to express the "collective outrage of our membership in regard to the blatantly racist 'joke'."

"I am astonished at Royal Canadian Legion officials at the legion and BC/Yukon Command levels were completely dismissive and cavalier in their response to initial complaints about the highly-offensive racist joke in their publication," he wrote.

Phillip pointed out thousands of aboriginal men and women served Canada during the First and Second world wars, in Korea and in Vietnam — as well as numerous international peacekeeping missions, the Gulf War and Afghanistan.