During the Nov. 11 legion service, Rev. Sandra Tankard spoke out about concerns that veterans who fought in Afghanistan are not getting proper care, and then talked about cuts to Veterans Affairs.
"Canadians have become lulled into thinking that our Afghan vets have received similar support to that received by vets in earlier conflicts, and that is not the case," Tankard said in an email to CBC News. "Further, it is the 'job' of the chaplain to stand with the suffering. PTSD [post-traumatic stress disorder] is a sort of life-long sacrifice."
Her comments were "deemed to be 'inappropriately political'," Tankard added.
But the president of the legion said it was Tankard's words about how she would vote that members felt were poorly chosen, and poorly timed.
"She felt that it was important to say that we have to continue supporting our veterans, which the legion totally concurs with, but the members' concerns were: wrong place, wrong time," said Jerry Lava.
After the Remembrance Day service, Tankard said local Conservative MP Greg Rickford approached her directly and expressed his "displeasure" about her remarks.
Rickford declined CBC's request for a comment.
Tankard said she wrote a letter of apology to Rickford and offered her resignation as chaplain after she was told some legion members felt she had "embarrassed the legion."
Lava said once Tankard offered her resignation, protocols needed to be followed and legion members voted largely in favour of accepting it at a meeting Monday night.
"First, I wish it didn't happen," Lava said. "Second, it seems to have been blown out of proportion. If she would have said it the next day, or would have said it at our meeting last night, I don't believe there would have been any offence taken to it because it's something that is debatable."
But the president of the Canadian Veterans Advocacy group supports Tankard speaking out, especially on November 11.
"Usually there is a mandated level of decorum that is provided during Remembrance Day," Michael Blais said. "But I certainly sympathize with [Tankard] and understand her frustration and frankly feel that it is appropriate that she did speak out.
"People should rally behind the wounded not against those who are the messengers of the wounded's plight."
Tankard said she was "disappointed" her resignation had been accepted by the legion. But she added that local clergy members are offering support and happy that she'll have more time for her other work in the community, including hospital and prison visits.
When asked whether there is a lesson for others in her Remembrance Day experience, Tankard said "perhaps it is that the freedoms we have to speak are not necessarily as vibrant as they once were."
here is her speech
Rev. Sandra Tankard resigns after legion remarks about veterans - Thunder Bay - CBC News