Monday, June 13, 2016

Hecklers Hijack City Council Meeting

Don't understand how city council is supposed to work
heckling from the gallery is simply ignorant

At 9:31 city council had to go into what was to be a five minute recess. They reconvened at 9:47 for about 30 seconds and then the broadcast went to black again.

What started this whole kerfuffle you may ask??

Council was in the process of reconsidering a development permit, which had been previously turned down. While a delegate was speaking someone in the gallery called a point of order. The Mayor rightly asked the member of the gallery to sit down, the person in the gallery refused leading things to heat up to the point the Mayor called for security to have the person removed.

CAO Ms Samra spoke up, suggesting council had already agreed to recess at 9:00 said it might be a good time to take the recess.

(This is pure speculation on my part, but I suspect council recessed behind closed doors where there was likely a heated discussion.)

For a brief moment council reconvened with Councillor Fuller asking how he could go about having McKay removed as chair. The broadcast was immediately shut down again for several more minutes.

I guess if you want to see what is going on at city council, you can't rely on the broadcast as it seems to be subject to preemptive redaction.

Watching the meeting online was challenging due to audio troubles which made hearing anyone speaking as a delegate near impossible as the sound kept cutting out. Despite a notice that the trouble was temporary it lasted all evening.



  1. Rediculous. Now we have realtime censure ship of open meetings.

  2. important question would be just who controls the "switch" on what the public is permitted to see and not see of our elected Council's actions? To whom have they granted such power and why? So much for promises of openess and transparency!

    1. I agree. Not only are council meetings being allowed to by hijacked by loud mouths in th gallery who shout out "Point of Order" as if they were on council and rudely interrupt council meetings and delegations but we also seem to have someone at the webcast switch who seems to have absolute discretion as to when to " allow" the public to view the continuing discussions and debates. It;s like some censure has his finger on the button and there is no questioning such absolute authority. When is council going to move towards "real" transparency? Maybe they will wait till 2018 and let the voters do it for them.

  3. This censorship has been going on and on and on, for as many years as I have been Council watching. City tapes of council meetings do not reflect the reality of what happens at those meetings. They should never be taken as proof of anything, such as comments "well it isn't on the tape of the council meeting therefore it didn't happen". In fact, individual memories of these meetings, hopefully backed by personal videos are far more accurate.

  4. By what authority do they have the power to "preemptively redact" a public open meeting?

  5. This is clearly unlawful. The law requires a motion of Council to close any portion of a meeting to the public. This is very clear and fundamental in the legislation.

  6. Big Brother is alive and well in Nanaimo City Hall. Ron Bolin has been on about City Hall reinventing history for a year and now we have unseen and unknown parties deciding whether the public can even observe Council in case they might step in it. Unbelievable! ( I wish).

  7. The live feed needs to start when the meeting's opened - and the live feed must only end when the meeting is adjourned. Anything else is censorship. I am told we do not live in a dictator nor censored country.


  8. Correct Kev. Who is this person behind the curtain who has the power to decide what the public should see and not see in open meetings before it even happens? Did Council sanction this outrageous protocol?

  9. I spoke to Shaw Cable 4 staff today who say it is their discretion as to when to cut the feed to a "recess" slide - not the city/council.

    As well, they said they have talked among themselves about scrapping live council coverage altogether with the...goings-on of late. This, to me, would be a very backward, non-democratic step.


  10. That would be a tragedy. Thanks for investigating that Kev. Meetings have been televised since at least the 70's. This would be a great accomplishment by this City Council. ( Not). Unfortunately, the way it is going, Council is likely to see that as beneficial. No paper and no television. Sigh

  11. Leslie Barclay14 June 2016 at 18:36

    Perhaps they need to start calling these meetings "special special open open meetings" as opposed to the run of the mill "special open meetings" which are in fact closed (a.k.a. "In camera"). I left before the action began. Always miss the fun stuff.

  12. Is Shaw considering the end of coverage because the end of the naming rights of the auditorium is upon us?

  13. The Shaw staff broadcasting these meetings are not journalists, they are camera and audio technicians.
    They wouldn't know a real news story if it kicked them in the butt. There's probably some historic verbal order from a Manager to shut 'er down when the crap
    nears the fan. I bet there is no written policy.
    Its just a crew of technicians trying to get through the night, without getting hauled up 'on the carpet' the next day.
    I was watching that broadcast live and terribly disappointed at the outage, as well as the technical skills of the operators. Whatever happened to Fuller's question about removing the Mayor ???
    This is Nanaimo where No journalism = No transparency.
    Thank GAWD for this blog because the NB is not interested in filling our cups.

  14. Why can't Shaw just leave the cameras running gavel to gavel?Why is it up to Shaw to censor our council meetings?If Shaw doesn't want to do the job properly then get them out of there and have the city take over the broadcast.It can be shown live on Youtube and the city website.This is total BS!

  15. To give Shaw Cable 4 some much-needed guidance, and to make sure they do not cut council meetings, give Supervisor Cam McLean a call at 250 760-1974 and then Press 2 on your phone to get his extension and leave a message. He's always gotten right back to me.


  16. Some may call it heckling, others may call it 'calling out' a person not doing his job.

    Robert Rules are pretty clear:
    You may INTERRUPT a speaker for these reasons only:
    to get information about business – point of information
    to get information about rules – parliamentary inquiry
    if you can't hear, safety reasons, comfort, etc. – question of privilege
    if you see a breach of the rules – point of order
    if you disagree with the president of the board’s ruling – appeal

  17. Tim. Those rules apply to those legitimately at the table. With respect, you need to follow the golden rule and treat you fellow citizens with respect. They are as entitled to their opinion and freedom of speech as you are. If you want these rules to apply to you, you need to get elected


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