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