Calgary to fund home security systems worth up to $8,000 for councillors
Council voted 8-7 in favour of the funding
Calgary city council has approved a plan to fund home security systems for council members after multiple protests were held outside the homes of Alberta politicians, including Calgary Mayor Jyoti Gondek.
Following advice from the city's corporate security, council voted to have the city provide home security systems and installation worth up to $8,000 plus $100 in additional monthly monitoring fees to council members who want them.
Council voted 8-7 in favour of the measure.
Several members of council including Andre Chabot, Dan McLean and Sean Chu voted against the funding. Chabot said councillors should pay for their own security, not taxpayers.
"I believe that there are many taxpayers out there that feel that they should have an increased amount of security that are earning significantly less than we are and they're not provided that same opportunity," he said.
Ward 1 Coun. Sonya Sharp said council's pay has recently increased and Calgarians' taxes have gone up.
"I feel that safety is important to me and my family and protecting them. I feel that I make enough money to pay for it myself, and I will. So I cannot support what's in front of me today, but will support my colleagues and other forms of having conversations of where and how they can be safe in doing this role," she said.
Gondek said she wasn't sure that all councillors would have the means to provide security for themselves.
"I want to make sure that given what's happening right now, and the continuing escalation that my colleagues who are in public service have the ability to access some funds to protect their home and their family. That's why I voted in favour," she said.
Ward 11 Coun. Kourtney Penner was critical of those who think security shouldn't come with the job as the threat level has increased.
"Needing security is not a perk," Penner said. "It is not a benefit. It is a byproduct of the environment that we are living in. We do have spaces for people to protest, we allow protesting outside of city hall for a very good reason. Our homes are not our workplaces."
With files from Scott Dippel