Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum and his five-member Safe Surrey Coalition have passed a motion that bans several people from speaking at council meetings.
The individuals were accused of repeatedly being disruptive and verbally harassing council and staff during public hearings.
McCallum said the move was made to protect the democratic process.
“Our democracy provides for freedom of thought, opinion and speech, but when the discourse devolves into aggressive and disorderly behaviour, we must ensure that council and city staff are able to carry out their duties without fear of verbal assault and harassment,” he said in a statement.
“I am disappointed by the ongoing hostile behaviour of these particular individuals, which is why council has felt it necessary to put these measures in place.”
Calling the move “unprecedented,” Coun. Brenda Locke, who will run against McCallum in next year’s municipal election, said the mayor is refusing to listen to legitimate concerns of those opposed to the transition from the RCMP to a municipal police force and putting a road through Bear Creek Park.
“This is all part of the behaviour that we’ve seen over the past number of years,” Locke said.
“If you don’t agree with this mayor, he cuts you off, he bullies you, he takes you off committees, and in this case he’s banning seven residents from entering city hall.”
Those banned from speaking at Surrey council will now have to submit their questions and comments in writing.
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