Author Topic: Kris Sims: Insulting veterans not about saving Victoria taxpayers’ money  (Read 780 times)

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Offline daftandbarmy

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Kris Sims: Insulting veterans not about saving Victoria taxpayers’ money

Opinion: Politicians’ catered lunches cost taxpayers $10,000 per year. What’s more important: tuna wraps or Remembrance Day?

Victoria city council’s recent talk of saving taxpayers’ money was missing something: sincerity.

Inexplicably, council recently fixated on cutting funding for events such as Remembrance Day. Council recanted that folly but, if there is any sincere concern for taxpayers, there’s a long list for councillors to look at.

Here’s what happened. Council voted to ask Ottawa to pay for “military events” such as Remembrance Day, rather than using the city budget. After a national backlash, boycotts from veterans groups, criticism from Mayor Lisa Helps and an offer from the store chain London Drugs to cover the cost of Remembrance Day, most councillors apologized and reversed their votes.

The councillor who first put forward the motion, Ben Isitt, claimed to oppose spending on Remembrance Day events out of concern for taxpayers. Is just it a coincidence that he also complained about offering to host the Invictus Games, an athletic event for wounded and amputee veterans? Perhaps Isitt could take a closer look at the city’s budget.

The politicians’ catered lunches cost taxpayers $10,000 per year. What’s more important: tuna wraps or Remembrance Day?

If we look at expense accounts, Isitt has been one of the top three highest-spending councillors since 2012.

In 2018, he racked up $5,187 in expenses, mostly for a $2,904 trip to Halifax for the Federation of Canadian Municipalities meeting that included a $81 charge to rent a bicycle, a $235 bill for a train ticket and $150 for a ferry trip. Did the councillor fly into the Halifax airport, which is a 33-minute drive from the convention centre? What’s up with the planes, trains, automobiles, ferries and bicycles? In 2017, Isitt tallied $5,506 in expenses, again mostly in attending conventions, travel and meals. In 2016, he tallied up $4,695 in expenses.

If Isitt is trying to stand up for taxpayers, perhaps he could use Skype and FaceTime and bring bagged lunches with reusable cutlery instead of racking up $15,388 in travel and meals in just three years?

Let’s see what else Victoria City Hall spends money on.

To provide a police presence for Remembrance Day, it costs the City of Victoria about $15,000, or about 0.006 per cent of its annual budget.

For cost comparison, Victoria taxpayers hand out $72,000 every year to keep an artist in residence. The city also has a poet laureate. The city spent $596,335 of taxpayers’ money on art in public places in 2017. Those amounts would pay for Victoria’s Remembrance Day for 44 years.

In 2018, city hall spent nearly $1.8 million on arts and culture events. Isn’t Remembrance Day a big part of our culture? Especially in a provincial capital that is home to Canadian Forces Base Esquimalt? One year of that funding would pay for Victoria’s Remembrance Day for 119 years.

Victoria is spending close to $2.6 million on its urban forest master plan after boosting funding to the program. One of the feared goals of the plan was to replace Victoria’s iconic cherry blossom trees with native trees. Council backpedalled and clarified after it was reminded that the cherry blossom trees were a gift from the city’s Japanese community in 1937. The money spent on the awkward arboreal agenda could instead pay for Victoria’s Remembrance Day services for the next 171 years.

Victoria is spending more than $30 million on expanding bike lanes, including tearing up roads, installing bike traffic lights and chopping down popular trees. The money spent on that program could pay for our capital’s Remembrance Day services for the next 2,000 years.

There are lots of ways for Victoria to save taxpayers money by trimming spending for taxpayer-funded art, bike lanes, catered lunches and trips to conferences while continuing to honour Canadian veterans’ trips to Juno Beach and Kandahar.

https://vancouversun.com/opinion/op-ed/kris-sims-insulting-veterans-not-about-saving-victoria-taxpayers-money?fbclid=IwAR3T6xxY2UPdv_axI4HGysp39HhVcqJoqelVitzc8H-dDKjB2e4day99Z2U
"The most important qualification of a soldier is fortitude under fatigue and privation. Courage is only second; hardship, poverty and want are the best school for a soldier." Napoleon

Offline CountDC

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Victoria is spending more than $30 million on expanding bike lanes, including tearing up roads, installing bike traffic lights and chopping down popular trees. The money spent on that program could pay for our capital’s Remembrance Day services for the next 2,000 years.


with all but the bike lanes.  Every place should build them, Ottawa had the greatest system I have seen, Victoria sounds like it may be improving on it (separate bike traffic lights!).  Toronto could certainly learn from it. 
“non-commissioned officer (NCO)” means a member holding the rank of sergeant or corporal.

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Offline Brihard

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with all but the bike lanes.  Every place should build them, Ottawa had the greatest system I have seen, Victoria sounds like it may be improving on it (separate bike traffic lights!).  Toronto could certainly learn from it.

Seriously? Car vs Cyclist is like our official municipal sport here.
Pacificsm is doctrine fostered by a delusional minority and by the media, which holds forth the proposition it is entirely possible to pick up a turd by the clean end.

Online Remius

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Seriously? Car vs Cyclist is like our official municipal sport here.

No kidding. this city can't even get putting benches at bus stations right let alone the bike/road system here. 
Optio

Offline daftandbarmy

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with all but the bike lanes.  Every place should build them, Ottawa had the greatest system I have seen, Victoria sounds like it may be improving on it (separate bike traffic lights!).  Toronto could certainly learn from it.

The bike lanes are a massive red herring.

The real infrastructure needs are for upgrading water, sewer and other critical municipal services (like police and fire). Those are too expensive, of course, to sell to a left leaning electorate, so they dazzle the champagne socialists with the likes of bike lanes, covered bike parking, and rainbow cross walks.
"The most important qualification of a soldier is fortitude under fatigue and privation. Courage is only second; hardship, poverty and want are the best school for a soldier." Napoleon

Offline gcclarke

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I still haven't heard any decent arguments about why the expenses for such events should be the responsibility of the municipal level of government. I mean, I get that a lot of folks are pissed off that the city wants to change that, but what's the justification they're bringing in favour of the status quo arrangement? It's not the City's event.
"Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts.  Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan ‘Press On’ has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race."
- Calvin Coolidge

Offline Furniture

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I still haven't heard any decent arguments about why the expenses for such events should be the responsibility of the municipal level of government. I mean, I get that a lot of folks are pissed off that the city wants to change that, but what's the justification they're bringing in favour of the status quo arrangement? It's not the City's event.

It is the city's event, it just also happens to be the city that houses the province's legislature, and is adjacent to the navy's Pacific base.

If the city of Victoria didn't put on the parade there would be no parade for someone else to pay for.

Offline CountDC

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Yes there would, the vets would still parade, the military would still parade. The parade may consist of everyone meet at the cenotaph and form up for the ceremony rather than marching through the city streets but it would still be a parde.  Only thing really different would be that the city wouldn't put money into and city officials wouldn't get the photo ops that they like. 

“non-commissioned officer (NCO)” means a member holding the rank of sergeant or corporal.

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Offline gcclarke

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It is the city's event, it just also happens to be the city that houses the province's legislature, and is adjacent to the navy's Pacific base.

If the city of Victoria didn't put on the parade there would be no parade for someone else to pay for.

I highly doubt this. From what I know the only aspect the city's involved in the planning of this event is the stuff that they're proposing they get paid for: shutting down roads, extra police presence, etc. The two primary organizations in charge of running the event would be the Legion and DND/CAF.

"Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts.  Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan ‘Press On’ has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race."
- Calvin Coolidge