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

21 years: Grand Chief Stewart Philip to continue leading B.C. Indian Chiefs union

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip acclaimed as president of Union of BC Indian Chiefs

“Princeton won’t be the same without him, that’s what they say.”

A celebration of life held in the town square, possibly with a… Continue reading

RDOS board remuneration, expenses come to $500,000

Costs presented in Statement of Financial Information

VIDEO: Trudeau asks Canada to look to current, not past, actions on race

Liberal leader says he never spoke about the racist photo because he was embarrassed

John Horgan promises action after fatal mid-Island bus crash

Premier cites students, local Indigneous community as reason to repair the road

On this day 126 years ago New Zealand women granted right to vote

New Zealand women beat Canadians to the polls by 26 years

Provincial Mobile Medical Unit makes an appearance in Kelowna

The high tech hospital on wheels provides medical care for rural communities and during emergencies

B.C. health minister announces urgent care center for Central Okanagan residents

The Kelowna-based health centre will support about 63,000 patient visits per year

EDITORIAL: Past actions haunt candidates

Justin Trudeau and Andrew Scheer dogged by incidents from earlier years

How to get that Spark Joy feeling

Barb and Wendy at Simply Spark Joy help you to create a clutter free home on the Black Press Media

VIDEO: Tempers flare during Sagmoen’s police interview

Defence lawyer says statements made by accused Curtis Sagmoen should be deemed inadmissible

Teens charged in stabbing death of B.C. man in strip mall parking lot

Two youths, aged 15 and 16, charged in Aug. 16 killing of South Surrey’s Paul Prestbakmo

Most Read