Victoria, Friday, November 11th, 2011. Petty Officer Greg Sly plays trumpet in the Naden Band, which performed during the remembrance day ceremony. The rembembrance day ceremony was held in front of the Legislative building in Victoria on Friday. (Gunnar Freyr Steinsson photo)

Victoria council to fund Remembrance Day ceremony after controversial debate

‘I am sorry on behalf of this council,’ said Mayor Lisa Helps

Victoria council dropped its plan Thursday to seek federal funds to cover Remembrance Day ceremony costs, deciding apologies to veterans and those currently serving in Canada’s Armed Forces were in order.

A council committee voted last week to approach the Defence Department and Veterans Affairs Canada about helping with policing costs for Remembrance Day events, but the move provoked widespread criticism from veterans and Canadians who said it was disrespectful to the military and the sacrifices made by those who serve.

READ MORE: London Drugs offers to pay Victoria’s Remembrance Day costs

Council decided instead to mend fences, voting unanimously to provide $135,500 from its contingency fund to help with policing costs for Canada Day, Remembrance Day and other events. The Remembrance Day funding amendment did not even come up for debate Thursday, but that did not stop several council members from apologizing over the uproar.

“I am sorry on behalf of this council,” said Mayor Lisa Helps, who opposed the original plan to approach the federal government for funding. “I think when we send any kind of signal that feels like disrespect to the military, that is not a good signal to send.”

Helps said she and the other members of council were inundated over the past week with messages from people across Canada upset about the plan to look for government funds for Remembrance Day ceremonies. She said debating Remembrance Day funding last Thursday on the 75th Anniversary of the D-Day invasion added more fire to the issue.

“I think all members of council gave this sober second thought,” she said outside of the meeting. “Those of us who did not support the motion last week, I think, we are very happy to see it not even hit the floor this evening.”

Coun. Ben Isitt initiated the request, saying the Canadian Forces budget is in the billions of dollars and should help the city defray some costs associated with the event.

He told council Thursday that the discussion about funding community events such as Remembrance Day was poorly timed.

“If anyone was offended by the timing of council’s consideration of that motion, my apologies, particularly to ex-soldiers and other ex-members of the Armed Forces,” said Isitt, who declined to make further comments after the meeting.

Canadian military veteran Keith Rosenberg addressed council, saying the members who voted in favour of the funding review last week, “should be ashamed of yourselves.”

He said council should apologize to all veterans and called for Isitt to step down from council.

Coun. Laurel Collins, who originally supported the motion to seek federal funding for Remembrance Day in Victoria, said she deeply regretted her decision.

“I’m sorry,” said Collins, who will run for the New Democrats in the Victoria riding in this fall’s federal election.

She also said council will not be considering an offer by drug store chain London Drugs to cover Victoria’s Remembrance Day costs.

“Thank you, but we’ve got this,” said Collins, who suggested the business make donations to veterans organizations.

Dirk Meissner, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Driver in North Shuswap observed vomiting after crashing vehicle, then running

Chase RCMP say woman was impaired, given 90-day driving prohibition

RCMP called in North Shuswap about vehicle with U.S. licence plates

Police summoned on July 4 regarding car parked with California plates

Road repaired after landslide in Seymour Arm

A temporary fix for a damaged water system has also been completed

Motorcycle rider seriously injured in collision with vehicle west of Pritchard

Chase RCMP report that motorcycle was attempting to pass when crash occurred

Summerland Ornamental Gardens remain closed

Staff and volunteers continue to weed and maintain plants

B.C. identifies 20 new COVID-19 cases, travellers specified in count

Pandemic total 3,028 cases, 51 people from outside Canada

Summerland Ornamental Gardens remain closed

Staff and volunteers continue to weed and maintain plants

Kelowna taxpayers could pay $90K for losses caused by cancelled Memorial Cup

$135,000 would be put aside for a potential bid for a future opportunity to host the tournament

Canadian policing organization calls for decriminalization of simple illicit drug possession

Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police want policing focus of opioid crisis to be replaced with a health one

Predator mutilated cats in Kelowna: BC SPCA

The BC SPCA confirmed a mutilated cat was killed by a predator

LETTER: Former Summerland mayors speak out on solar project

Five former Summerland mayors sign name to short letter

Emergency crews conduct CPR on unresponsive person in Okanagan Lake

West Kelowna emergency crews are on scene at the shores of Jubilee Mobile Home Park

Filing deadline in RCMP sexual-harassment class-action extended due to COVID-19

Plaintiffs now have until January 2021 to submit claims for up to $222,000

Jamie Bacon pleads guilty to charge in Surrey Six case

The plea brings an end to a complex legal case that has spanned more than a decade

Most Read