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Man who disturbed council meeting should be charged, Buchanan says

  • Sep. 29, 2016 10:18 p.m.

Councillor Buck Buchanan thinks a man who disrupted a council meeting on Monday by raising his voice and swearing before being escorted out of Council Chambers should be criminally charged.

The Red Deer citizen stood inside the doors of Council Chambers before the public hearing began. He then got upset by raising his voice and swearing because of a tax issue and stated no one was listening to him.

Mayor Tara Veer stated he was being out of order and made a motion for a five minute recess just before Buchanan and City Manager Craig Curtis escorted him out.

“I think the guy should be charged. This was premeditated. He can be charged with causing a disturbance or uttering a threat so that other people don’t get the idea that you show up at a public hearing and do that,” said Buchanan, who rode down in the elevator with the man before the man left the building. “There was still that underlying tension (in the elevator) and I told him it was the wrong venue – he picked the wrong place. You have to deal with it through the proper channels.”

Veer said during last year’s operating budget talks corporate security was an area that was suggested to make some strategic investment in. “Over the last two years we’ve invested more in corporate security historically in recognition of the fact that we are navigating through challenging times. We need to ensure the safety of City staff, but also the safety of members of the public who are visiting City Hall or other community amenities for any purpose.”

She added the City has made reasonable progress on this issue in recent years.

“On occasion there have been instances where a member of the public is upset about something in particular. We respond to those incidents as they arrive,” said Veer. “With this particular incident the other evening, there was security in the building and I spoke from the chair and ordered the man out of order and immediately declared a recess in order to resolve the matter and make sure the man was escorted from the building before we continued with the public hearing.

“In a democracy, one of the cornerstones is the accessibility of government, so we always want to ensure the accessibility of government from a time perspective and also in terms of having many different options for citizens to route their concerns. We really have endeavoured to build accessible local government through a number of means and obviously there are legitimate means through which citizens can rightfully have the right to raise their concerns with council or City administration. But the balance of that is in a challenging time when emotions can run high you want to balance that off with having security measures in place, but not compromising on the accessibility of local government.”

Veer added on the whole Red Deerians are respectful of council proceedings.

efawcett@reddeerexpresss.com

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