A welcoming handshake for two of the best!

Greetings to all the members of the Canadian Shooting Sports Association and welcome to our new partnership with Calibre magazine. The CSSA is always aiming to provide better communication and services for its membership. To this end, we have been searching for a print publication over the last several years that can satisfy these demands. Although our more experienced members may remember a time when we had our own print publication, this process proved to be too expensive and time intensive for staff to perform and pure cost-effectiveness ruled it out.

Enter Calibre magazine. This premier Canadian publication is designed specifically for Canadian shooters and will now be distributed to every CSSA general member in good standing, six issues per year. We believe this is the beginning of a long and fruitful relationship between Calibre and the CSSA. It is our sincere wish that you enjoy every issue of this outstanding publication and that this benefit will significantly add to the value of being a CSSA member. Calibre magazine will provide our organization with an efficient and cost-effective means of communicating with our members – be it distributing AGM ballots and information or promoting important upcoming CSSA events.

If you do not wish to receive Calibre magazine, please contact our office to be removed from our confidential mailing list.

To the thousands of folks currently receiving Calibre who are not CSSA members, we would like to welcome you to our new partnership too! We hope that you find our articles and editorials interesting, and that they inspire you to become members of the CSSA, Canada’s largest and fastest growing firearms organization. We hope that you find our frank and thorough analysis of firearms politics in Canada to be a perfect complement to the excellent and informative articles Calibre already provides. We will keep you apprised of federal legislation and other important information that may affect the rights of Canadians to own and use firearms in a lawful manner.

Lastly, Calibre does not replace the CSSA E-News, and those of you who have enjoyed our weekly electronic publication will continue to receive it as usual. For those that do not receive it but wish to, you may subscribe, free of charge, at our website: www.cdnshootingsports.org.
But there’s been more afoot than the new partnership between the CSSA and Calibre. The Cabela’s poppy kerfuffle springs to mind. Every now and then people make mistakes. We are, after all, only human. That we make mistakes should not be the primary issue though. How we respond to the mistake when it’s brought to our attention is, or at least it should be. Here’s what happened.

The North Edmonton location of Cabela’s reportedly turned away a group of cadets who volunteered their time to distribute Remembrance Day poppies. This move, reported widely and immediately, brought down the ire of both the hunting and shooting community and Legion officials.
Were these people and groups correct to criticize a store specializing in outdoor gear for turning away cadets just a week before Remembrance Day? Absolutely!

However, those who called for an immediate boycott of the entire Cabela’s chain were quite wrong. Their first step should have been to find out what happened and what Cabela’s would do to correct the problem. That takes time, however, and our insatiable demand for instant gratification doesn’t allow time to hear the other side.

There are always two sides to a story and a lack of willingness to hear the other side makes all of us look bad. From the Edmonton Sun news report of this incident:

A group of volunteers dispatched from the Royal Canadian Legion Kingsway Branch for the kick-off of the Poppy Fund Campaign were invited to offer Remembrance Day poppies at the Cabela’s store at 15320 – 37 venue by an employee, the father of one of the cadets. When they arrived, management allegedly told the volunteers they had to leave, saying the employee didn’t have the authority to allow them on the premises.

The Royal Canadian Legion distributes poppies as a way of raising funds and collecting donations to provide assistance to ex-servicemen and women in need. It is a worthy cause and one Canadians have supported since poppies were first worn as a sign of remembrance in 1921.

However, we hunters and shooters ought to judge Cabela’s by how they responded to the problem, not by the fact a problem happened in the first place.

Here is the statement by Cabela’s CEO Tommy Millner: “Knowing Cabela’s long-standing commitment to supporting the Canadian Armed Forces and Royal Canadian Legion, I was deeply concerned when I learned of the misunderstanding that led to cadets planning to distribute Remembrance Day poppies being turned away from one of our stores.”

“Of course, cadets are welcome to distribute poppies at our stores, just as they have done in the past, and to make up for the missed opportunity Cabela’s will proudly contribute $10,000 to the Royal Canadian Legion’s Poppy Fund.”

“Cabela’s Canada, headquartered in Winnipeg, remains absolutely committed to the Canadian military, I assure you that. In 2013, for example, Cabela’s Canada partnered with Veteran Affairs Canada’s ‘Hire a Veteran’ initiative, which gives veterans opportunities to make a successful transition to civilian life.”

“Again, on behalf of myself and Cabela’s Canada’s more than 1,600 employees, I deeply apologize for this unintentional mistake and thank everyone for their understanding and continued support.”

That their honest mistake was rectified almost immediately is a testament to the integrity of the entire Cabela’s chain.

That Cabela’s apology was sincere is measured, not by the words their CEO used in his Facebook post, but by the fact he put the chain’s money where his mouth is. He backed his words with his financial commitment.

That’s integrity in action.

From the Toronto Sun report of the apology issued by Cabela’s head office: William Fecteau, a volunteer with the Edmonton Poppy Office who served with the Royal Canadian Air Force for 42 years, explained that the leaders of this cadet group did not contact the correct person before arriving at the store, likely catching the manager off guard.

“It’s unfortunate that this happened because Cabela’s is a proud supporter of the Royal Canadian Legion Poppy Fund,” Fecteau said. “We get donations from them every year, and they put honour boxes in their stores for us every year.”

Instead of publicly criticizing one of our own for making a mistake, perhaps we ought to write letters of gratitude to Cabela’s CEO Tommy Millner as well as the manager of the Edmonton store for their willingness to resolve the problem promptly as well as for putting their money where their mouths are.