Victoria city councillor Ben Isitt is calling on the public to “reject conservative media distractions” after several outlets reported on his motion to request funding for policing military events from DND (Department of National Defence) and Veteran’s Affairs Canada officials.
On Thursday, June 6th – coincidentally the 75th anniversary of D-Day – Victoria Council deliberated on VicPD’s request for additional funding to cover expenses for policing Canada Day and military events in the city.
- Victoria council approves funding for this year’s Canada Day policing costs
- Victoria Police request additional funding to cover Canada Day celebration costs
While the city eventually approved spending $135,000 from their contingency budget to cover these costs, their decision came with conditions.
In particular, councillor Ben Isitt put forth an amendment that asks staff to “engage DND/Veterans Affairs Canada officials to seek to recover costs associated with military events in the City.”
His motion was carried forward with support from councillors Laurel Collins, Jeremy Loveday, Marianna Alto, Sarah Potts, and Sharmarke Dubow.
Once this news was reported by several media outlets, many members of the public responded with outrage, stating that his comments were disrespectful to veterans.
Isitt pushes back
In a Medium.com post on Friday, councillor Isitt clapped back at what he calls “corporate media”, expressing that the industry adheres to the saying, “If it bleeds, it leads”.
“It is unfortunate that the latter decision was taken on the 75th anniversary of D-Day, marking the landing of Allied troops on the beaches of Normandy to turn back the tide of fascism in northwestern Europe,” he writes about the decision to seek funding from the military.
“However, an accident of agenda planning resulted in consideration of the Victoria Police Department request on that date.”
“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 goes on to state that conservative voices in the media along with neofascist, “alt-right” groups like the Proud Boys – referring to formations like BC Proud – are deliberately keeping citizens focused on minor controversial issues, rather than major challenges like housing affordability, climate change, and the “the dangerous slide away from democratic participation and toward fearmongering and neo-fascist politics.”
Isitt’s post also criticizes media for not covering Council’s unanimous vote to endorse $90 million of new funding for the Regional Housing Program, in partnership with regional, provincial and federal authorities.
The final vote on the police budget along with the amendments put forth by councillors yesterday will take place on Thursday, June 13th.