The cenotaph in downtown Victoria at the legislative grounds always holds a Remembrance Day ceremony. (Black Press file photo)

Victoria councillor’s motion to bill military for community events ‘shameful’

Canadian Taxpayers Federation director argues events honouring military are worth the money

A taxpayers’ advocate says a Victoria city councillor’s proposal to bill the federal government for special events is missing the mark.

READ MORE: Readers react to Vancouver councillor’s pitch to bill military for events

Kris Sims, the B.C. director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, took aim at Ben Isitt for his idea to recover costs for special events by billing the Department of National Defence and Veterans Affairs Canada for community events that include military personnel, such as Remembrance Day.

It didn’t help that the motion was tabled on Wednesday, the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landing.

“We understand that governments do need to spend money. We are against wasteful … and needless government spending,” Sims said in a phone interview with Black Press Media Friday.

“It’s pretty safe to say that putting on a small ceremony to honour the veterans who fought for our freedom in the Second World War, particularly under the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landing, is necessary spending.”

Councillors voted to discuss the motion at a later date.

According to the Victoria Remembrance Day Committee, the city provides $15,000 in policing costs for Remembrance Day events each year, while the municipal chief financial officer said it costs $78,000 for policing on Canada Day.

Sims was formerly the director of communications for Veterans Affairs Canada and has worked with the families of both veterans and retired members of the RCMP.

“This is actually one of the reasons why we get so mad at politicians who frivolously waste our money, because it is these sorts of events that are so meaningful and so important for so many people that we need to spend some money on them.”

Sims pointed to a number of initiatives funded by Veterans Affairs Canada, including grave maintenance for all veterans buried in the country, as well as kids’ education programs and support services such as Legions.

These “humble, low-key events,” she said, are a fraction of what’s earmarked for transit, waste collection and city staff salaries.

Kris Sims, B.C. director with the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, with Canadian Armed Forces veteran Trapper Cane in Cambridge, Ont. (Keri Sims/Contributed)

Isitt later published a statement online, saying the motion stemmed from council’s response to a request from the police department for extra funding for policing special events. He said they directed city staff to engage the federal government on potentially recovering some municipal expenses incurred in relation to military commemorative events.

A scheduling mistake led to his motion being debated on the D-Day anniversary, he said.

“More unfortunate, however, is the nefarious ways in which conservative political forces and their agents in the corporate media have chosen to distort Victoria City Council’s benign request for assistance from federal authorities, into a supposed affront to war veterans,” he wrote.

Sims said no matter which level of government foots the bill, there is only one taxpayer.

“If that taxpayer who’s geographically sitting in Victoria is paying for it through their property taxes, or through their various levels of federal taxes while in Victoria, and then gets filtered to the bureaucracy that is Ottawa – it still pays for the event,” she said.

“It’s needless to split hairs like this.”


@ashwadhwani
ashley.wadhwani@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Grad march goes ahead with social distancing measures

‘Reverse march’ for 2020 DTSS grads

Wings Over the Rockies encourages nature viewing during pandemic

Three local photographers and Wings supporters offer nature viewing tips.

Hospital chief of staff provides guidance on COVID-19 and the Columbia Valley as we open up

Chief of staff says: “COVID-19 … is still here and is not going away any time soon.”

Our community news matters

Guest editorial by Arnold Malone

The GoPro that refused to drown

A snorkler found a submerged GoPro and used the camera footage to find the owners

B.C. legislature coming back June 22 as COVID-19 emergency hits record

Pandemic restrictions now longer than 2017 wildfire emergency

B.C.’s essential grocery, hardware store employees should get pandemic pay: retail group

Only B.C.’s social, health and corrections workers are eligible for top-ups

Edmonton, Vancouver and Toronto vying to be NHL hubs, but there’s a catch

The NHL unveiled a return-to-play plan that would feature 24 teams

B.C. sees 9 new COVID-19 cases, one death as officials watch for new cases amid Phase Two

Number of confirmed active cases is at 244, with 37 people in hospital

Introducing the West Coast Traveller: A voyage of the mind

Top armchair travel content for Alaska, Yukon, BC, Alberta, Washington, Oregon and California!

Nanaimo senior clocked going 50 km/hr over limit says her SUV shouldn’t be impounded

RCMP say they can’t exercise discretion when it comes to excessive speeding tickets

Illicit-drug deaths up in B.C. and remain highest in Canada: chief coroner

More than 4,700 people have died of overdoses since B.C. declared a public health emergency in early 2016

CMHC sees declines in home prices, sales, starts that will linger to end of 2022

CMHC said average housing prices could fall anywhere from nine to 18 per cent in its forecast

B.C. Paralympian named to Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame

Three-time world and Paralympic gold medalist Sonja Gaudet is part of 11-member class

Most Read