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

Victoria council to fund Remembrance Day ceremony; offers apologies to veterans

‘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

Greater Victoria man killed in Alberta accident was expectant father

Geordie Murray described as ‘wonderful husband, brother son and friend’

Canada Post aware of ongoing email, text phishing scams

Scammers pretending to be Canada Post will ask for personal and payment information

VicPD says circumstances around missing teen are ‘high-risk’

Arianna McKenzie last seen in Centennial Square

Suicide rates not impacted by seasons

While men are three times more likely to commit suicide, women have higher rates of depression

VIDEO: Music stars pay tribute to Kobe Bryant at Grammys award show

Music artists including Billy Ray Cyrus, Rick Ross and Kirk Franklin paid tribute to Bryant

Pregnant B.C. woman stuck in Wuhan, the epicentre of coronavirus outbreak

Woman is due to give birth in Wuhan, China unless she can get out

Ontario confirms second presumptive coronavirus case in wife of first patient

Both arrived on a China Southern Airlines flight after having been to Wuhan

Canada’s basketball community mourns Kobe Bryant after helicopter crash

Bryant was an 18-time NBA all-star who won five championships

‘Devastated’: Fans, celebrities remember Kobe Bryant after his death

Bryant played all of his 20-year career with the NBA with the Los Angeles Lakers

Investigation launched after six dead puppies dumped in Richmond hotel parking lot

RAPS reminds people they can always give up puppies they can’t take care of

Canadian Lunar New Year celebrations dampened by coronavirus worries

But Health Minister Patty Hajdu said today that the risk of infection is low

B.C. VIEWS: New coronavirus outbreak an important reminder

Walking the line between cautious and alarmist

Kobe Bryant, daughter killed in California helicopter crash

Bryant entered the NBA draft straight out of high school in 1996

Most Read