FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – Peace River North MLA Dan Davies says around 30 per cent of British Columbia Legions might not make it through the end of the pandemic without support.
Davies appeared on Moose Talks Friday to discuss his concerns with the lack of funding from the provincial government.
A big issue is legions not qualifying for provincial COVID-19 emergency grants, explains Davies.
“They just did not fit all the checkboxes of the grants that were given out,” said Davies. ” The President of Pacific and Yukon command wrote the Premier as well as the minister stating their dire need.”
A number of legions in British Columbia have already closed, and more are at risk due to a year of inability to make money for themselves.
Davies, a reservist in the Canadian Armed Forces Cadet Instructors Cadre for over 25 years, explains the importance of legions.
“Legions are not just a bar. They are a community hub, they support our veterans, they support youth groups, our legion in Fort St. John houses many other not-for-profits. And that was the argument that was made to the Premier and the minister, why we need the support grants. We cannot make money, right now many legions are closed.”
Davies wonders why the government failed to consider the importance of legions, given their involvement throughout the community.
“It doesn’t make sense to exclude the legion. Anavets is the other organization, so both of our veteran organizations in the province were not included in the grant. We’ve written the premier, we’ve brought this up during question period, and there still seems to be, for whatever reason, no movement by the government to send some of the grants to our legions.”
While many across the province are at risk, Davies says the Fort St. John Legion has managed to hold on.
“We have a predominantly younger membership. We have a fairly busy lounge, the karaoke draws a number of people, the meat draws, and the dart league obviously is a huge draw. So I think our legion is holding on, but how much longer is the question?”
With the four-step reopening plan released this week, Davies is hopeful to see the Fort St. John Legion brimming with activity soon.
“I’m happy to see this restart, things should be opening up here. I’m suspecting the legion will open up in some capacity. But again, it goes back to Fort St. John being a very supportive community. People give when they need to, and I know if the legion does need support, I know that the community is going to be there to support them.”
Watch the full Moose Talks video below.