Council narrowly approves up to $120K for security on their private homes

Calgary City council has narrowly passed a motion that will allow each sitting member of council to be reimbursed up to $8,000 to purchase and professionally install security systems for their private residence.

The motion also allows for council to be reimbursed $100 monthly for monitoring that system.

This comes as Mayor Jyoti Gondek and Ward 9 councillor Gina-Carlo Carra were recently visited by anti-mandate protestors this month.

The motion was brought forward by administration and city manager David Duckworth on Tuesday.

Duckworth told council that more protests are expected in the future and could ‘get worse.’

Council were at odds with one another over the debate with seven councillors voting against the motion. The mayor had the deciding vote.

Councillor Dan McLean and others who voted against the motion believe this is the job council signed up for when running for public office, and that security expenses should be paid for by each member, and not with taxpayers money.

One political scientist believes this is money well spent by council.

“I think it’s a sign of the times, I think a number of city councillors, by this vote have indicated that they are frightened,” said Keith Brownsey, political scientist with Mount Royal University.

“If you have children, you’ve got a private life that is sacrosanct. You don’t go near that as a protester. You just don’t.”

The Canadian Taxpayers Federation believe council should not be making compensation decisions.

“What councillors and politicians shouldn’t be doing is making these knee jerk reactions in whatever is happening in the news of the day,” said Alberta director Kevin Lacey.

“Politicians shouldn’t be voting themselves their own expenses and benefits. That should be done by a citizens committee at an arms length.”

The motion also sees administration incorporate future expenses through this program between 2023-2026.

Councillors Chu, Sharp, Chabot, Dhaliwal, Wong, Wyness and McLean all voted against the motion.

Several councillors have said they will not opt to use any of the money for their home.