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Between the crosses, row on row

November 10th, 2013 | Posted by Amy Boughner in Issues | Personal

I am wearing my red poppy this year, over my heart, as I have since I was a child. This year, though, I have heard controversy of two other style of poppies and I’ve been thinking about it.

The first is the white poppy. The white poppy comes apparently from the Rideau Institute and is meant to signify peace instead of the glorification of war.

This gives us the thesis that the red poppy is a proud symbol of war, which is, pardon me, completely ridiculous.

The poppy is a symbol of Remembrance Day, which is about honouring our veterans and those that died fighting. The red poppy signifies that you remember the sacrifices. It is a sign of respect. Honouring those men and women, to me, means fighting against more war and more casualties.

The second story I head about was a woman in Iqaluit, Nunavut, making sealskin poppies and selling them for $20. (I’ve tried to find it online, I haven’t seen it yet).

She told CBC that the price was meant to cover her costs, so I don’t actually know if she’s making a profit. She also said she donates “to the cause,” by which I gather she means the Royal Canadian Legion, the organization that sells traditional poppies with donations going to help veterans.

The problem I have is this: She said in a CBC interview that her poppies are meant to mark Remembrance Day, but also to bring attention to the seal hunt and support those affected by the ban on sealskin products in the EU.

Now, I’m not going to get into the seal hunt here, but here is my issue: I find it appalling that this artist would take a symbol for one, very important day, and a very important subject – our veterans are being virtually abandoned by this government – and try to piggyback another cause, start another conversation. These are two totally separate issues and our veterans deserve this day.

If, at the same time that she’s trying to switch the message of Remembrance to the sealing industry, she is making a profit for herself and taking money away from the Legion, I’m really angry.

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