Protests at Councillors homes could cost taxpayers $120,000

A group of protesters known as Calgary Freedom Central has been going to councilors and protesting the public health measures imposed on Calgary by the new mayor Jyoti Gondeck.

These uncharacteristic protest actions have sparked a new policy in the city council that would grant councilors of Calgary $120 000 of collective usage to add security systems to their homes. This new policy would allow up to $8000 of taxpayer dollars to each councilor that chooses to reinforce their homes with cameras and for these systems to be installed professionally. Along with the new policy comes a $100 monthly reimbursement fee for councilors who have opted into installing the security systems.

The decision to push the new policy came down to the mayors deciding vote as half of the councilors were opposed to the new bill. Dan Mclean states that if it was really necessary for councilors to protect their homes with cameras it should be on their dollar, not the dollar of the taxpayer.

The protests themselves have been peaceful thus far: which begs the question, was this bill really necessary in the first place. “If the security systems are so necessary then why are they making the taxpayer pay for it,” says Grace Berg a political science major at the University Of Calgary; “If the councilors don’t feel safe then they should be using their own disposable income to ensure their families safety”.

This new policy brings up the question of whether or not the city council can vote for personal benefits like this; if it threatens their safety then why not use their own personal funds instead of putting $120,000 of taxpayers’ dollars in an already crippled economy. The protests are claimed to invoke fear into the council in order to change public health mandates, yet have not been violent.

Since the protests, the councilor George Chahal has condemned the actions of the protestors who went to his house, and the houses of the councilors. Some members of the Calgary Freedom Central go as far as to call him a hypocrite. “Take your own advice and leave families alone” states Zoe Rae who has been with the Calgary Freedom Central protests, “If you’re going to publicly denounce the protests, at least see what we are protesting about, it’s about more than the mandates, you are ruining our homes”.

Since then the protests have stopped going to councilors’ homes, but Calgary freedom central is still prevalent and fighting for adjustment to the public health mandates.

About Ty Davidson 4 Articles
As a news reporting and communications major in the journalism program at SAIT, Ty Davidson is working as a writer for The Press during the 2021-22 academic year.