From hopelessness to hope: Cornwall’s poppy defacement after the tragic loss of reservist Nathan Cirillo By Mary Anne Pankhurst

dockery poppy joking MOD

Hope doesn’t always spring eternal.

This was especially true (for me) in late summer, after the 100th anniversary of WW1 slipped back into the past, and August was on the wane.

By that time, it was fully two months after the defacement of the poppy (by a gang that grew to well over 550 Cornwall-N-Area adult cyberabusers) and the slow march to Remembrance Day had begun. It remains difficult to understand why the defacement has been ignored, particularly given the significance of living in Eastern Ontario along the mighty St. Lawrence.

The geography alone forms a unique and militaristically significant triangle.

From my own southward-facing porch in South Glengarry, flowed the sparkling seaway, which was opened by Queen Elizabeth – Commander-in-Chief of Canada’s military – in 1959, a territory fiercely defended by Loyalists and First Nations during the War of 1812.

The view north stretched up to the horizon ending at the Highway of Heroes, the very route named for Canadian Forces personnel who have fallen.

And finally the westward view, to Cornwall, and the historic regiment situated there (known as the Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry Highlanders) whose Colonel-in-Chief is Queen Elizabeth herself.

Ranking just below the Queen is Honourary Lieutenant Colonel, Jim Brownell, who is not only a member of the group that defaced the poppy but who (1) Represents himself within the group in his military uniform, (2) Defends the group’s leader, (3) Belligerently refuses to distance himself from the group (4) Let the story STORY LINK about the defacement languish on his public Facebook page until the group suddenly went underground on or around August 25th.

It makes one wonder “why” and whether the involvement breaks the Queen’s Commands which deal, in part, with rules governing the military’s image.

In addition, there’s a thread that remains on Brownell’s timeline (August 20), in which a friend is complaining about ER wait times at the hospital, and Brownell heartily recommends to over 90 friends on the thread:

“…send a letter to the Ethics Department of the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, with a copy to the CEO of the Cornwall Community Hospital. What your daughter and wife witnessed is not right, and should be investigated. Without speaking up, things will not change. Personally, these kinds of things should never happen in the first place.

Those words resonate with me: …Should be investigated…Without speaking up, things will not change…These kinds of things should never happen in the first place.


So after communicating to the highest levels of government, as well as several leading to the top, the only response (over the poppy’s defacement) is silence.

Meanwhile, gang members make jokes and deny the defacement. My particular, feeble “favourite” is Thomas Roberts’: “No poppy was defaced, although a digital image of one was modified); and at least one comment from one of the group’s most prolific and excrement-obsessed posters (Bob Noble) is that it is I who should “Get a life.”

Fighting off cynicism has been difficult. One begins to wonder if the poppy has become a relic, or worse, meaningless lip service for the politically minded.

Mostly, I push those ideas away.

Still, how does one reckon “silence” from the Premier of Ontario; the Minister of Veteran’s Affairs; the Prime Minister; the Governor General and perhaps most of all the Royal Canadian Legion that has trademark and copyright protection but does nothing?

Then suddenly comes October 22nd. A terrible moment, a day of infamy.

Shots ring out in the golden morning light. A young reservist falls, his blood spilling soundlessly as he lies beneath the towering bronze and winged figures of the National War Memorial on Parliament Hill.

We are now in mourning.

I have hope that the poppy will be understood and cherished – if not by leaders who have failed to hear my alarm – by everyday Canadians whose hearts, minds and emotions are with Nathan Cirillo.

May he rest in peace.

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  1. So glad the XFLIES went underground
    They were gleefully burning newspapers like the Nazis before World War Two.
    All this hatred directed towards one man is sad

    If the poppy defacement is bad how about this idiot running for no Not in Cornwall
    Ottawa Sun report
    KINGSTON, Ont. ─ An Ontario mayoral candidate is defending comments he made on Facebook in which he praised Adolf Hitler’s leadership skills and suggested deporting “on their inner tubes” people who don’t adopt Canadian values.

    Rob Purvis, one of two people running to be mayor of Loyalist Township near Kingston, Ont., made the comments in an online discussion he started about the need for strong leadership to respond to the threat of terrorism.

    Purvis said Hitler’s type of leadership “would be celebrated” if applied in different circumstances.

  2. Author

    well Mel we just saw the UCDSB poobah David Thomas “retired” after issuing suit against CFN in superior court over our Swastika in CCVS coverage. Hopefully it ends as well for all those strange and wacky fruit loops running around unattended….

  3. OMG Melman can you imagine such garbage still hanging around these days. Just like that Richard Currier and Tammy Hart and their gang. Honest Melman they all make me sick literally. These jerks must all wear the swastika on their lapels instead of the poppy. These are might shameful people and nobody who is good should have anything to do with them at all. I can’t get over the defacement of the poppy and so many other things. I just came back with my daughter from a long trip we made on foot and people at the library are mighty sombre today on such a sad day of taking the body back of that young Cpl. back to Hamilton. My husband is just showing me in one of his newspapers from back home about ISIS in the north Tripoli and Saida and going against the Lebanese army and things are very bad he told me just now.

  4. What is your take on Debbie Cameron defacing a real poppy with a Canadian flag pin? Just curious because you you made a big issue over a photoshopped picture.

  5. Author

    Can’t believe someone is ignorant enough to ask that question never mind run with it as we’re seeing the hate group do.

    Here is a quote from a Royal Canadian Legion website:

    “There have been many queries related to the wearing of the lapel Poppy, specifically as it related to using a Canada flag pin or other such fastening device in the center of the Poppy.

    It is the position of the Legion that the Poppy is the sacred symbol of Remembrance and should not be defaced in any way. No other pin, therefore, should be used to attach it to clothing.

    While this should be the practice of all Legionnaires, it is recognized that the Legion cannot control its form of wear by the public. It is undoubtedly better to wear a Poppy with a Canadian flag in the center than not to wear a Poppy at all. The best that we can do is to encourage Legionnaires to wear it properly.”

    I personally support that position as I’m sure most Canadians who aren’t mentally ill or hateful would as well.

  6. So what you are saying is its okay for Debbie to do it to a real on but not to a picture of one. I don’t understand your logic or your remark about being mentally ill or hateful. And this is coming from someone who wants to run the city.

  7. Author

    What Debbie did is acceptable to the Legion and anyone with a few brain cells which clearly Ben you may be missing. What your friends in the hate group did was gross defacement as per the Legion’s own statement.

  8. I, and many others, stopped wearing the poppy and supporting the Legion several years ago when they started going after web site owners (including Pierre Bourque)for displaying the poppy because of copyright issues. I didn’t want any part of my donations going into the pockets of copyright lawyers.
    There are plenty of ways to show respect and support for our veterans without wearing or buying The Poppy™.

  9. Author

    Furtz if the Legion stays quiet and allows Mr. Brownell to participate in uniform I will stop supporting the Legion at every level. They have identified the defacement and clearly stated how horrible it was. To give anyone a free pass is unacceptable. Mr. Brownell needs to be stripped of his honorary rank and not be allowed to participate in any Remembrance Day activities. He’s had multiple opportunities to mea culpa and instead there is a cover up.

    It’s a form of Project Truth all over again.

  10. I haven’t followed the Dockery Crew issue closely. Life is way too short. As far as the Legion goes, I started to lose respect for the institution many years ago because of the bigoted and asinine rules about the wearing of turbans. Add to that the poppy™ copyright BS, and that was it for me.

  11. Furtz keep in mind, to enter a sikh temple you must wear headgear and remove your shoes. NO exceptions. Just something to think about. My kids can’t even have christmas at school anymore, that’s how tolerant we are as Canadians. Do you remember christmas as a child in school? That doesn’t exist anymore. How do you feel about that?

  12. Jerry, I don’t see the connection between entering a holy temple and entering a beer parlour or military club. Many Sikhs fought and died on our side in WW2.
    I don’t know where your kids go to school, but at the public school that my grand daughter attends, they have a jolly fun Christmas concert every year.

  13. The point is that now your kids can celebrate Christmas but parents choose not to lobby the school boards to recognize our country’s heritage. We are apathetic.

    When a freedom and or right are not protected or respected they are lost. If the practice of Christianity was banned here in Canada, would it bother you? If you were compelled under threat of penalty to practice a different religion, would it bother you? And for those that choose not to support democracy by exercising their right to vote, would it bother you if you had no say at all?

  14. You lost me there David. We should be lobbying school boards to recognize which heritage? Aboriginal heritage? Anglo heritage? Franco heritage? Chinese heritage? etc.
    As for religions being under threat, I see no indication of that.

  15. The dominate religious roots stemming from the onslaught of the Europeans into North America were founded in Christianity. Although the premise for my questions was of a religious nature (due to the post to which I was commenting on) the larger point was the eventual demise of rights and freedoms we would enjoy in the future if we continue down our current path of apathy.

  16. Right now, a lot of people think that the biggest threat to our democracy and rights and freedoms is our current Prime Minister. I tend to agree.

  17. Does it matter if it’s a holy temple or a beer parlour? Should we not respect the rules and ways of the establishment? If i go to the legion and they ask me to remove my hat, should i fight them and make them change that rule and how they run their establishment? If you can see how things are run now at ccvs and central public, you would see just how ridiculous society has become for our children and for parents who were raised with certain traditions that no longer exist. Just to pamper a small minority of intolerant people.

  18. Furtz, if you think that Harper is a threat just hold on to your hat ,if Trudum ever got in, there would be his Lslam friends taking away even more

  19. Harper has to go. Will his replacement be better? We can only hope so. There’s no knowing what a politician will do until they are in office.

  20. Mary, you’ve been hanging out with a certain preacher too much. Harper is political toast, and just about everyone knows that. People have had enough of his nastiness, cheating and underhanded ways. He’ll have more time to spend with his family within the next year. And I bet his family is thrilled with that prospect.

  21. I disagree Furtz that Harper poses a threat to our brand of social democracy. If voters believe that change is required than change will simply occur, that is democracy. I believe that Canadians own apathy is the greatest threat to our freedoms and rights and democratic society. I predict that the next 20 years will be a struggle and that strong leadership will be required. The party is secondary to the leadership required. The NDP are not likely to factor into the next election race other than as their traditional role of vote splitter. Justin Trudeau is not a leader he is an opportunistic young man with name recognition and little substance. So what are our options?

  22. We won’t know what Justin Trudeau will do until he is PM. Pleas stop trying to predict what he will do.

  23. Eric it was likely no coincidence that young Trudeau entered the arena at the time that he did. Obviously he has served the federal Liberal resurrection well. Your proposal definitely has the ability to hold water.

    Any idea who is trying to predict what young Trudeau will do? Hugger1 seems extremely perplexed.

  24. Some people will always be hard-core Harper fans no matter what. But thankfully, those people are becoming fewer and fewer.

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