Online backlash against Don Cherry for comments on immigrants and Remembrance Day

TORONTO — Hockey commentator Don Cherry is in the limelight yet again, this time for complaining that he rarely sees people he believes to be new immigrants wearing poppies ahead of Remembrance Day.

The 85-year-old Cherry said on Saturday on his weekly Coach's Corner segment as part of Hockey Night in Canada that he's less frequently seeing people wearing poppies anymore to honour fallen Canadian soldiers — and he singled out those he believes are immigrants in Toronto, prompting a swift online backlash.

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"You people ... you love our way of life, you love our milk and honey, at least you can pay a couple bucks for a poppy or something like that," Cherry said. "These guys paid for your way of life that you enjoy in Canada, these guys paid the biggest price."

Among the online responses was one from Paula Simons, an independent senator from Alberta.

She wrote that it has not been her experience that new immigrants don't wear poppies or appreciate the tragedies of war, and further condemned the sentiment behind Cherry's remarks.

"We don't honour the sacrifice of those who died in battle by sowing division or distrust," Simons wrote.

Cherry made his comment prior to running his annual Remembrance Day video montage, where he is seen walking through a military cemetery in France visiting the graves of Canadian soldiers who went to battle in the First World War.

Poppies are sold every year starting on the last Friday in October until Remembrance Day on Nov. 11 by The Royal Canadian Legion to raise money in support of veterans and their families.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 10, 2019.

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