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.

Just Posted

First presumptive case of coronavirus identified in the Interior Health region

The woman, in her 30s, travelled from Shanghai and lives in the interior

Robbery with a hammer at Invermere Dairy Queen

Robber makes off with undisclosed amount of cash.

Talking valley politics

Local politicians offered an update on their communities and progess.

Who should own James Chabot park?

Invermere asks for James Chabot park back from province

January precipitation deepens snowpack in B.C.’s mountains

Most of the province now has higher-than-normal snowpack levels

VIDEO: Ottawa wants quick, peaceful resolution to pipeline protests, Trudeau says

The protests have manifested themselves as blockades on different rail lines across the country

Canucks acquire forward Tyler Toffoli from Kings in push for playoffs

Vancouver sends Schaller, Madden, pick to L.A.

New highway proposed between Alberta and B.C.

The route would connect Red Deer to Kamloops

Wet’suwet’en and B.C. government have been talking Aboriginal title for a year

Coastal GasLink says it has agreements with all 20 elected First Nations councils along the 670-kilometre route

Trudeau tightlipped on plan to end protests ‘quickly and peacefully’

The prime minister, who cancelled a two-day trip to Barbados this week to deal with the crisis at home

B.C. budget expected to stay the course as economic growth moderates

Finance minister said ICBC costs have affected budget

Canadian standards for coronavirus protection to be reviewed, health agency says

The protocols set out how health workers should protect themselves and their patients

Monday marks one-year anniversary of man missing from Langley

42-year-old B.C. man, Searl Smith, was last seen leaving Langley Memorial Hospital on Feb. 17, 2019

BC Ferries sailings filling up Family Day Monday

More than 20 sailings added between Swartz Bay and Tsawwassen for long weekend

Most Read