October 3rd, 2018 ~ Vol. 89 No. 40
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Blairmore Legion membership votes to turn in their charter
Crowsnest Pass Herald Front Page
Royal Canadian Legion - Blairmore, Alberta, Canada
ANNA KROUPINA
Pass Herald Reporter
After 92 years of serving the community, the Blairmore Legion #7, a branch of the Royal Canadian Legion, has closed permanently.

The legion did not operate throughout the summer after closing its doors on July 28, 2018 and at a meeting this past Thursday, September 20, the membership voted to sell the building and turn in their charter.

Legions across the country are struggling, much like the Blairmore Legion has been, with declining membership and financial difficulties.

“The biggest motivation was that they just weren’t getting the support and they were losing money,” says District Commander Wayne Shaw. “It’s too bad that Blairmore had to close, but they just couldn’t survive. If you can’t pay your bills, then it’s time to consider closing the legion."

Attracting new membership, particularly young people, has been a longstanding conversation within the legions for many years.
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Shaw says that a disconnect between youth and war may contribute to a lack of interest on the part of younger people to join.

“This new generation, they can’t comprehend the wars that these soldiers have fought in and we’ve never had a real war in Canada or the U.S.,” he says. “Our history books have just recently started doing more Canadian history. When I was growing up, you didn’t have much about the Canadian history, we just had British history.”

Another challenge facing Crowsnest Pass legions specifically is that when the Blairmore branch was operational, there were three legions serving Crowsnest Pass, stemming from a time before amalgamation. That’s three legions for a population of around 6,000 people.

"The Pass can’t support three legions,” says Shaw. “The legion is self-supporting and years ago, it would have been better to have one legion in the Crowsnest Pass rather than three. With the three legions, you divide up the community and it’s hard for the legions to make any money.”
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But even then, although Shaw believes that one legion in the Crowsnest Pass would help, he points out that even legions in big cities like Calgary and Edmonton are closing because they don’t have strong support from the community.

In the coming months, current members of the Blairmore Legion will decide how they wish to distribute their remaining funds and anyone who is registered as a member can have a say. Provincial command will then hold the assets for a period of one year and ensure all bills are paid, and then release the remaining funds according to how the membership voted. Members have the option to transfer to any branch of the Royal Canadian Legion, including those of Bellevue and Coleman.

Legion camaraderie


The Bellevue Legion Branch #19 and Coleman Legion Branch #9 have collaborated to fulfill some of the duties previously carried out by the Blairmore Legion. They will both be running the poppy campaign in Blairmore and have worked together to prepare the Remembrance Day community service.

“The legion uses the word ‘comradeship’ often, so we were definitely comrades,” says Debby Greenwood, secretary treasurer at the Coleman Legion. “We had the same cause. Nobody wants to see any legion close, but unfortunately it’s a growing trend
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October 3rd, 2018 ~ Vol. 89 No. 40
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