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Province gives Legion Week activities a $65,000 boost

Jun 08 2012

The provincial government has given B.C. legions $65,000 to help promote Legion Week this month.

Minister of Community, Sport and Cultural Development Ida Chong said the money would help the Royal Canadian Legion's B.C. and Yukon branch locations raise awareness for their work and charitable causes June 24-30.

"I know you will make each and every one of these dollars stretch," Chong told a group of veterans at the Trafalgar-Pro Patria Branch 292 on Gorge Road Thursday.

The money will be shared among B.C.'s 153 branches and used to host public events such as barbecues and family events, as well as to highlight the legion's housing programs, scholarships and community support projects.

"To have the provincial money enables us to put these functions on," said Dave Munro, the legion's south and mid-Island commander. "The branches, they still have to use some of their own money, but this helps."

The provincial money comes from a $135-million gaming grants program, which distributes some of the more than $1 billion in annual gambling profits back to charities. The Liberal government recently restored some money to gaming grants after years of cutbacks.

Victoria-Swan Lake NDP MLA Rob Fleming said the legion deserved the money, which should never have been cut back.

"I think there's a lot of nerve for the government to take away with one hand the gaming grants for all sorts of organizations across British Columbia, and then a couple of years later show up with a cheque and photo op to give the same money back that was cut," Fleming said.

rshaw@timescolonist.com

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