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

GFI gets underway in Grand Forks

Wednesday’s events feature a home run derby

Council levels zoning infraction at warming centre

Coun. Zielinski: ‘If we don’t uphold our own laws, we’re on a very slippery slope going forward’

Revitalization plan energizes downtown businesses

‘A lot of it is just simple stuff that I think people needed to hear from a different perspective’

Art in disaster: How Grand Forks is using creativity to process the flood’s impact

‘It was a sunny day, and so even though it was horrific and devastating, it was beautiful’

GFI legends, past and present

Before the first pitch flies, Gerry Foster remarks on the storied history of the tournament.

VIDEO: Killer whale steals fisherman’s catch off North Coast

Fishing duel results in eager orca snagging salmon in Prince Rupert

Fate of accused in Canadian couple’s 1987 killings in jury’s hands

William Talbott’s lawyer says DNA doesn’t prove murder

Child killed after being hit in driveway on Vancouver Island

The driver of the vehicle remained at the crash scene and is fully cooperating

Eating sandwiches, putting on makeup behind the wheel could land you a fine

RCMP say if you cause an accident while eating you could be penalized

Cat badly hurt in animal trap was likely stuck for days, B.C. owner says

Blu, a three-year-old house cat, suffered severe damage to his hind leg after being stuck in trap for days

40 cats surrendered in apparent hoarding at B.C. home

Officers found the cats living among piles of garbage and feces, suffering from fleas

Vancouver Aquarium drops cetacean ban lawsuit in new lease agreement

Ocean Wise CEO Lasse Gustavsson called the updated lease an exciting new chapter for the aquarium

Thieves steal two $40K chairs featuring gold serpents from B.C. furniture store

Chairs believed to be the only two of its kind in Canada, police said

Rising gas prices force B.C. residents to rethink summer road trips: poll

63 per cent of respondents reported gas prices are impacting their day-to-day finances

Most Read