After public outrage nationwide, Victoria’s city council has struck down a proposal that would bill the military for policing costs on events like Remembrance Day.
In fact, the city council chose not to even discuss the motion at a committee meeting last Thursday.
The proposal was first put forward during a committee of the whole meeting on June 6, the 75th anniversary of D-Day, by council member Ben Isitt. The purpose was to address concerns that a great deal of money was being spent on policing large-scale public events.
Military and Veteran Community shocked by the proposal
News of this proposal sent shockwaves in the veteran and military community, and beyond, across the country. Many saw it as disrespectful to veterans who have fought for their country.
Additionally, CFB Esquimalt, located in Victoria, has a significant impact in the city. CFB Esquimalt has been a part of the Greater Victoria Community for more than 160 years.
According to base public affairs, the average Defence Team member at the Base provides over 125 hours a year in volunteer service to the local community and the Base has raised over $10 million for local charities since the late 1990s.
The Base hosts or participates in approximately 20 community events every year and is the 3rd largest employer in the Capital Regional District of Greater Victoria, playing a significant economic role in the area.
During last Thursday’s committee meeting, veterans like Keith Rosenberg came out to speak against the motion.
“You should be ashamed of yourselves the motion is an incredible justice to the men and women that risked their all for Canadian values and freedoms should now have to stand before their council to remind them of the concept of duty before self,” said Rosenberg to the committee.
Mayor Lisa Helps, who voted against the motion on June 6, later apologized on behalf of the council during the meeting.
“I think that when we send any kind of signal that feels like disrespect to the military, I think that is not a good signal to send,” said Helps.
She went on to speak about how “incredibly moving” taking part in Remembrance Day ceremonies have been for her.
“I just really want to signal from the capital city of British Columbia that there is a great deal of support and respect for the work that veterans are doing and see if anything came out this over the past week that singled anything other than that I am sorry on behalf of this council,” said Helps.
Victoria’s city council unanimously agreed on allocating up to $135,000 from the 2019 contingency funds to cover policing costs for special events.