The Royal Canadian Legion ordered its Campbellford, Ontario chapter to close while police are investigating a complaint that a person in Ku Klux Klan robes led a man in blackface with a rope around his neck and won first prize at its Halloween party.
Edward Pigeau, president of the legion’s Ontario branch, also said Wednesday he is closing the legion after it received threats.
“It’s utter stupidity. First of all they should not have permitted them to come into the legion. And I’m outraged that they would give them first prize,” Pigeau said. “Could you be more insensitive? I’m absolutely outraged by it. We will do our best that something repulsive like this won’t happen again. This will go out across the legions in Canada.”
Const. Chris Dewsbury of the OPP’s Northumberland detachment said police are investigating. They’ve talked to the two people in costume and a person who made a complaint.
“At the present time, it would appear this is simply just a case of poor judgment involving the selection of a Halloween costume, and there is no basis to suggest a criminal offence has taken place,” Dewsbury said.
Dewsbury said police have no knowledge of any threats against the legion.
Mark Andrade, a resident in the small Ontario town says he has never experienced anything as disgusting as what he saw that night. Andrade says he arrived at the hall in southeastern Ontario for a beer at about 11:30 p.m. — just as Halloween costumes were being judged.
Andrade, who is black, says the person dressed as a Klansman and the man in blackface won first prize and he left in disgust. He says what angered him even more was that it was a Royal Canadian Legion party and legion members awarded the prize. Andrade says when he called the legion Monday to complain, he was told hundreds of others had also called in protest.
Campbellford is about 3 hours from Ottawa, the capital of Canada, which is where I live.