Provincial Command forced to intervene following Killarney Legion ‘hostilities’

A temporary board of trustees will run Killarney Legion #25 until May election 


It has been a strange few months of both exterior success, and inner disgruntlement, at our local Legion.

Rumours have flown regarding hostilities between a number of the executive and Legion members, and last week the iconic Royal Canadian Legion Killarney #25 was suddenly closed up and locked tight, by a departing staff and executive which had resigned in protest.

“Due to unforeseen circumstances, we had to close last Tuesday, April 2,” said former Legion president Craig Taylor. “And yesterday (Tuesday, April 9) the Liquor and Gaming Authority of Manitoba called the clubroom, and told them the license was revoked.”

Taylor, who served as Killarney Legion president from 2001 until 2015, said he couldn’t believe the upheaval that was taking place between the disgruntled members.

“It’s all a farce,” he said. “It should never have happened. Somebody had a grudge, and knew what to do about it. There is no president now, until elections are held in May.”

Taylor said that all 150 members of the Killarney Legion received a letter last week, sent from Manitoba and Northwestern Ontario Provincial Command.

“It is with regret that this Provincial Command must address the issues revolving around the ongoing hostilities within your branch,” said the letter, written by Ronn Anderson, provincial president. “There appears to be two distinct opposing parties that are causing hardship to a once very solid, viable branch.”

Complaints had been filed back in February, said Command in the letter, about the local Legion president, Comrade Kirk. After investigation by the Complaint Committee she was found guilty on two separate breaches of Legion by-laws, and cleared on a third charge.

This finding is what led to the emotional Legion executive and staff walkout last Tuesday.

“The Disposition was unfavourable to your elected officers, and they all immediately resigned,” wrote Anderson. “Their resignations have caused hardship. Without a president and executive to run the branch, regrettably Provincial Command is forced to intervene.”

“Why did we resign?” said Legion manager Colleen Skrypnyk. “To make a statement to this organization. Killarney is a wonderful community, and does not deserve to lose this historical club, for any reason.” 

To continue operation, Taylor, along with other Legion members Jack Garabed, Rose Choquette, and Gale Collinson (Command member from Souris), were immediately appointed by the Provincial Command as trustees for the Killarney Legion, and put in charge of handling branch affairs until the upcoming election, said Anderson.

“The board of trustees is running the place for now,” said Taylor.

And one week later, progress had been made.

Skrypnyk, along with clubroom supervisor Bonny Kobialko, were busy this past Wednesday morning at the Legion Clubroom, hauling in fresh cases of beer, and lifting out the empties to Gardewine employees, using a small hatch door up near the ceiling in the basement clubroom.

“We re-opened yesterday,” said a jubilant Skrypnyk on Wednesday. “I was asked to come back last week, and I did. I wept. All of my staff had resigned, and they came back too. I care about the Legion, and I love the job.”

Kobialko said there was quite a flurry when the open sign went up outside the previous morning.

“People were watching from the windows across the road,” she said. “And when they saw us coming, they came right over – five of them. It was just after 11 a.m., and we had eight customers here at the bar. They were happy, and we handed out two memberships. And we handed out two more this morning. They all want to show support of our Legion.”

Skrypnyk added that the revoking of the Liquor and Gaming Authority of Manitoba license would hopefully soon be reversed.

“There is $9,954 in the Chase the Ace,” she said. “It is safe, in a separate Legion account in the Credit Union. It would take two signatures to access it, but because of the walkout, I was the only one, and so it couldn’t’ be touched. Manitoba Liquor and Gaming are coming on April 16 to do an audit here, and when it passes – it could be right away – we will be reinstated, and back on track.”

Both the Meat Draw and the 50:50 events are also on hold until the license is renewed, she added. 

The separate liquor license for the bar is still valid, added Skrypnyk, which is why the celebratory drinks in the newly refurbished clubroom have been pouring for the past few days.

“Our VLTs are okay, and our liquor license is okay,” she said.

In the meantime, other events scheduled for the Legion and Clubroom are reportedly still on schedule, including upcoming socials, they said. 

READY TO POUR AT THE LEGION CLUBROOM – Legion manager Colleen Skrypnyk (right) and Clubroom supervisor Bonny Kobialko (at the liquor dispenser) were busy in the attractive clubroom bar on Wednesday morning, following re-opening of the facility the previous day. A board of four Command-appointed trustees is currently handling the branch’s affairs, until a supervised election is held next month to elect a new executive for the Killarney Royal Canadian Legion #25.