June 13, 2019 6:40 pm
Updated: June 16, 2019 8:05 pm

London Drugs offers to fund Victoria Remembrance Day costs as council debates asking military

WATCH: A Victoria councillor's motion to ask the military to help foot the bill for events such as remembrance day goes before council tonight. Ben Isitt introduced the amendment on D-Day drawing both support and criticism. Kylie Stanton reports.

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As Victoria city council prepares to debate whether to ask the Canadian military to fund the capital’s Remembrance Day ceremonies, London Drugs is offering to foot the bill.

In a statement released Thursday, the Canadian pharmacy chain’s president and COO Clint Mahlman said the company plans to cover the costs of the events and other veterans’ commemorations “for at least the next few years.”

“We have seen the concern about the Remembrance Day event potentially being cancelled or changed in some way, and we have seen and heard our Veteran’s concerns,” Mahlman said.

WATCH: (Aired June 7) Victoria councillor faces backlash over Remembrance Day funding proposal


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“We want to ensure that we remove the worry from the community so that this important event continues and can be planned for.”

Mahlman noted London Drugs opened its first store in Victoria in 1980, giving them strong roots in the community.

READ MORE: Victoria councillor slammed for ‘disgraceful’ pitch to bill military for Remembrance Day

The company is hoping to meet with members of city council and Victoria police “to discuss the full scope of what is needed to ensure the Remembrance Day commemorations can proceed into the future.”

Global News has reached out to the City of Victoria for comment.

City council is set to debate an amendment put forth by Coun. Ben Isitt during a committee of the whole meeting last Thursday, which directs staff “to engage [The Department of National Defence] DND/Veterans Affairs Canada officials to seek to recover costs associated with military events in the city.”

WATCH: (Aired June 7) B.C. city councillor says timing of Remembrance Day request was ‘unfortunate’

The amendment was approved by the committee despite Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps and councillors Geoff Young and Charlayne Thornton-Joe voting against it.

Isitt’s proposal was met with immediate outrage, particularly as it was introduced on the 75th anniversary of D-Day.

The councillor apologized for the timing of the proposed amendment, but stuck by the idea as “good policy.”

READ MORE: Victoria Coun. Ben Isitt still asking military to fund Remembrance Day, other councillor backs down

Isitt argued the DND has a $20-billion budget and was better equipped to fund policing than the municipality, which has limited tax resources.

The total cost of policing military events in the capital, including Remembrance Day, is estimated to be roughly $15,000.

WATCH: (Aired June 7) Victoria councillor says he’s ‘standing up for taxpayers’

The amendment, which was brought up as council debated the future of covering policing costs for the annual Canada Day celebrations, will likely have a harder time passing through the full council.

Coun. Laurel Collins, who initially voted for the proposal and is running as the NDP candidate for Victoria in the October federal election, has since walked back her support.

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