'We all felt pretty bad about it,' councillor says after public locked out of city hall meeting
Coun. Phil Squire says 'inadvertent' lockout happened during meeting to discuss strip club touching rules
Members of the public were locked out of a London City Hall committee meeting Tuesday night while city councillors were discussing a bylaw that would ban the touching of dancers at city strip clubs.
City staff and politicians say the doors were locked accidentally after a break, blocking any sex workers who wanted to look-in on the discussion.
Coun. Viriginia Ridley said the committee tried to postpone the discussion to include the sex workers.
"We're not sure what happened at this point in time. They were advised that the doors were locked. The public were given the message that the door was locked and were waiting for us to resume open session."
When no one showed up in the public gallery, the discussion continued without the public.
But the committee later voted to ask staff to investigate the lockout.
The business licencing bylaw was passed without any changes.
Touching of employees at city strip clubs remains prohibited. The issue will go before full council next week.
Lockout 'should not have happened'
Coun. Phil Squire was asked about the lockout today during an appearance on CBC's London Morning.
He said there was no one in the gallery when the lockout happened.
"Then we did the entire debate and then we found out that people had been locked out, that the doors to the gallery were locked," he said.
Squire said it was "really disappointing" that people weren't able to hear the debate, but said it wasn't intentional.
"Somebody just locked [the doors] at the dinner hour and didn't go back and unlock them. This has happened. to us once before and it shouldn't happen it's not good. It absolutely should not happen."
Squire mentioned that the entire debate was available via livestream, which will be posted.
"They'll see exactly what we said, why we made our decision," he said. "It absolutely should not have happened. We all felt pretty bad about it."
Among those locked out of the meeting was AnnaLise Trudell, a manager at Annova, which provides shelter and support for women who've experienced abuse and sexual assault.
She tweeted this photo, showing her struggling to follow the proceedings by listening under the committee room door.
Epitome of barriers for participating in <a href="https://twitter.com/CityofLdnOnt?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@CityofLdnOnt</a> City Council .... listening in when locked out during adult entertainment by-laws 45min convo. Also, knowing date of mtgs, figuring out 300pg agenda, how to ask to speak, fear of outing yourself when have to speak publicly. <a href="https://t.co/9PfsdX6MnQ">pic.twitter.com/9PfsdX6MnQ</a>—@annatrudell
In a statement sent to CBC on Wednesday, Trudell acknowledged the door locking was "a mistake" and that there was no intention to keep people from hearing the discussion going on inside.