Fireworks at city committee as councillors discuss booze ban

CALGARY – City councillors got into a heated debate on Tuesday when it was suggested that they no longer be allowed to have alcohol in their offices or expense drinks during their travels.

The discussion at a Priorities and Finance Committee meeting was sparked by a recommendation that would force them to follow the same substance policies as administrators and City of Calgary employees.

Ward 7 Councillor Druh Farrell made a personal plea saying the consumption of alcohol has been an ongoing issue and it’s time to change the culture of entitlement.

“There has in the past been open consumption of alcohol,” says Farrell. “It’s disrupted the workplace. That’s not commonplace, the disruption. But I’ve had meetings where it’s been a party in the office, where it’s disrupted my meetings.”

“When I’ve complained, I’ve been told I don’t need to attend.”

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“This is a workplace, and I want it to be a respectful workplace where we do business,” she added.

Ward 4 Councillor Sean Chu, an abstainer expressed concern that all councillors were being painted with the same brush.

“No I haven’t seen anything… if you are going to say something there has to be evidence to back it up.”

With allegations of illicit drug use and councillors being drunk at community events, Mayor Naheed Nenshi responded, “I’ve heard stories about councillors at different events in different places and again the frustrating thing about that is it’s not my place to make a decision on that or any ruling on that.”

Councillors did vote to ban alcohol at city hall. They also passed a motion to stop councillors from expensing alcohol, except during third party meetings.

WATCH: Global News reporter Mia Sosiak asked Calgarians what they thought of city officials drinking on the job.

Several people shared their thoughts on Twitter.

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Councillors have requested that administration report back with a potential substance use policy for them to vote on.

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