Should Prison Labourers be Making Poppies for the Legion?

On November 11th, Canadians across the country will take a moment to pause and remember the thousands of men and women who have sacrificed their lives in military service. Most will wear a poppy to show their respect for the fallen.

Every year the Royal Canadian Legion launches its annual poppy program to raise funds to help veterans and their families. For the 2014 Remembrance Day, prison inmates in Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba will be responsible for assembling the poppies, combining the red flower, black center, and bent steel pin (“Prison inmates to make Remembrance Day poppies“, CBC News, 27 October 2013).

The unions representing the corrections officers have raised concern over the inmates having access to metal pins which are used to hold the poppies together. The unions are hoping to address the security threat that the small pins pose as it presents a potential weapon that can easily be concealed and later used against guards and other inmates. Apart from security, there are questions over what types of “valuable skills” the inmates will be in fact gaining from the assembling of the poppy pins.

The Legion believes that the employment of inmates to assemble the poppies contributes to their rehabilitation:

“As Canada’s largest veterans and community support organization, the legion recognizes that rehabilitation programs help assist yet another part of our communities,” Scott Ferris, the legion’s director of marketing and membership, said in an email. “The legion cannot turn its back on these individuals. Helping Canadians in all communities is at the heart of the legion’s mission.”

Do you agree with prison inmates participating in the assembly of Remembrance Day poppies? Please feel free to leave your comments below.

Photo credit: Benoit Aubry

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13 Responses to “Should Prison Labourers be Making Poppies for the Legion?”

  1. Bonnie DenhaanNovember 13, 2013 at 1:58 pm #

    Poppy wearing does not “glorify” war at all, in my view. The image of all the poppies placed on the Unknown Soldier memorial in Ottawa on Nov.11 is surely one of remembrance and respect. No one in today’s world, outside of arms dealers & the NRA types, could think war is good! As to the prisoners producing the poppies, I think the prison security could manage the pin “problem” – there are many other ways for prisoners to be a danger to guards or themselves (forks?). Sitting in an overcrowded jail with nothing worthwhile or rehabilitative to occupy them, has proven to be much more dangerous. By the way, my Dad was in WW11, and a Great Uncle lost his life in WW1, and I clearly understand the waste and tragedy accompanying such violent times. I also support Peacekeeping as Canada has done it under previous Governments – not this current bunch.

  2. Marie LloydNovember 4, 2013 at 1:16 pm #

    Having done volunteer work in a local prison for a number of years, I mistrust anything this present misgovernment does with prisoners. Double bunking, punitive clawbacks to the inmates’ pittances of earnings–I smell a rat.

  3. Susan SchellenbergNovember 3, 2013 at 4:49 pm #

    This years poppy purchase allowed me to express my anger at the current Conservative government’s attempts to cut back on Cdn. veterans’ health and pension benifits and as well at their overdrugging of traumatized soldiers.

    I am anti war but until there are no more wars I believe we should care for the well meaning veterans whose circumstances caused them to buy into the damaging war fervor that governments stir up in their young minds.

    If assembling and making poppies helps one prisoner to change and adopt a crime free life, I am for it.

  4. Cheryl ErlandNovember 3, 2013 at 2:07 pm #

    I am strictly anti war. Although Canadian, I completely echo the American Ron Paul’s answer to the question “how would you bring the troops home from Iraq if you were elected president?” with this simple reply – “we marched in and we can simply march back out”. Having said that, I will continue to buy and wear a poppy as long as there are WW2 veterans alive and able to see people wearing them. It was a different time then and, however mislead citizens of the world may have been about the real reasons for that war, people truly believed they were fighting to defend our freedoms. For that bravery, they get my respect. As they grow old I think it becomes only inclreasingly important to remind them on that one day that we have not forgotten what they were willing to do for Canada and the free world.

    • Dr C.McIlwaineNovember 5, 2013 at 2:23 pm #

      I realize that Canada was a long way from the second world war.However I lived in Exeter,Devon,England-a country town with no munition- factories, we were bombed!!!

  5. Canada JoeOctober 30, 2013 at 3:02 pm #

    The NDP is wearing red poppies, maybe you guys should help Muclair out by making a public stink about his “crass display of evil militarism”.

  6. Barbara BambigerOctober 29, 2013 at 9:36 pm #

    No wonder Carol Pickup has so many supporters in Greater Victoria! Poppies do glorify war & those who fight them. We can respect veterans along with everyone else without making war out to be something noble.

    I add my vote for white poppies.

  7. Carol PickupOctober 29, 2013 at 3:54 pm #

    Train the inmates to do useful work not to continue to glorify war by making poppies. We should respect and value our veterans by giving them decent pensions and other services but forcing prison inmates to make poppies is not the way to support our veterans!!

  8. GraceOctober 29, 2013 at 3:32 pm #

    If it is at all possible to misuse components of the poppy, some prisoners will find the means to do so.

  9. Diane HendersonOctober 29, 2013 at 3:08 pm #

    As I understand it, the Remembrance Day poppy pins have been
    produced and sold by our war veterans to help with their needs.

  10. M.C. WarriorOctober 29, 2013 at 12:18 pm #

    The Legion can go suck a lemon. I shall never buy another poppy unless it be white.

  11. Alfredo LouroOctober 29, 2013 at 10:53 am #

    It’s exploitation pure and simple.

  12. Menno MeijerOctober 29, 2013 at 9:16 am #

    This will help inmates like shipping manufacturing to Bangladesh helps people in that country. Capitalist oppression and exploitation.
    I make my own poppies. Now they are only the white ones.