Ben Isitt is a Victoria city Councillor and an academic. Throughout his career he has made several controversial requests from the city of Victoria, which have landed him local or national coverage.
Isitt was first elected in 2011 and has held a position on the council ever since.
The Post Millennial looked into Isitt’s political past and we’ve listed the four craziest things Ben Isitt ever requested or promoted while serving as a municipal representative.
The military should pay for Remembrance Day events
The latest and perhaps most controversial request by Ben Isitt was to have the military foot the bill for Remembrance Day or veteran events.
In a hope to recoup the $15,200 spent on the policing and organizing of military commemorative events, Isitt suggested that the city ask the Department of National Defence and Veterans Affairs Canada to foot the bill for such events.
“I think responsibility for military commemoration and honouring veterans is more properly the responsibility of those federal agencies,” said Isitt in a statement to the council.
When asked to clarify on the motion after public backlash, Coun. Isitt said on CBC’s local radio show that WWII was about “fighting back against conservative forces”.
Provide hydromorphone for addicts not ready to quit yet
While British Columbia suffers one of the severest opiate crises in the country, Coun. Ben Isitt and Coun. Marianne Alto suggested earlier this year that the city and province should provide addicts not ready to quit yet with “safe opiate alternatives” like hydromorphone.
Hydromorphone is a medical grade opiate stronger than both intravenous morphine and methadone, which is the drug currently used to wean off long-term opiate addicts.
Death by hydromorophone overdose has been the contributing factor of 251 deaths in Ontario from 1985-2003 according to the Analytical Journal of Toxicology. The drug is also used in Ohio as an alternative means to carry out state-sanctioned executions.
Stop funding Christian symbols in public spaces for Christmas
Before Christmas celebrations in 2018, Isitt was calling for a report to further remove Christian symbols associated with the holiday from the city’s public grounds. Isitt particularly took issue with the lighting of a Christmas tree and receiving poinsettias as a gift on his desk.
“I don’t want a poinsettia. It is a symbol of the Christian faith,” said Isitt.
“Just get a temperature check. For me it’s the Christmas trees, it’s the poinsettias, it’s the hollies that sort of ruffle my sensibilities in terms of the expenditure of tax dollars. And snowflakes and even dragon symbols for Chinese New Year, they don’t, for whatever reason,” said Isitt.
Ban horse-drawn carriages
On a local level Isitt has also advocated banning horse-drawn carriages from Victoria city streets by 2023.
“It’s always struck me as an outdated mode of transportation in a dense urban environment. So that’s the motivation. There are certainly animal welfare considerations as well,” said Isiit.
However, locals have come out in support for the practice, claiming that it is a longstanding industry in the city. Hundreds of protestors came out in support of the family-owned businesses that provide horse-drawn carriage rides to tourists and customers.