Calgary’s city hall erupted with infighting on Monday during the first fall session of council.
Tempers flared when Ward 11 Coun. Jeromy Farkas attempted to add a motion to the agenda calling for the city to establish a so-called “Blue Book” standard and make public all spending in excess of $10,000.
To add the motion to the agenda past deadline and have it debated as a matter of urgent business, Farkas required a two-thirds vote from council.
“I would like to hear from the city clerk because if we’re working off this revised agenda, then this is already in there,” Chu said of the motion.
“You’ll notice the word ‘proposed,’” Nenshi replied. “Madam Clerk, would you mind explaining to Councillor Chu how this works… again.”
“Your worship, it’s not necessary to do that,” Chu replied.
“I just explained it to you, and you —” Nenshi started to reply.
“I asked the question of the clerk, you don’t have to be so b–chy,” Chu interrupted.
Ward 13 Coun. Diane Colley-Urquhart asked Chu to withdraw his comment and apologize to Nenshi due to his “unparliamentary language.”
“Or I’ll have to ask to have you removed,” Nenshi said. “Are you going to withdraw that comment? Because you can’t insult other members of council.
“You either have to withdraw your comment, or you have to leave.”
Eventually, Chu apologized.
“I’m sorry I [said] something insulting,” Chu said. “But stop being a little kid.”
“You just did it again,” Nenshi responded.
“You have to stop, Coun. Chu,” Nenshi added. “And frankly, after five or six years on this job, you should know the rules by now and you shouldn’t always run to the clerk when you don’t like what the mayor has to say.”
Chu was then forced to withdraw his second comment.
“I’m sorry I said that,” Chu said.
The clerk then clarified that, as Nenshi had explained, the motion would have to receive a two-thirds vote to be added to the agenda.
Heated discussion between Chu and Nenshi continued.
Ultimately, the motion to add the item to the agenda as urgent was defeated in an eight to seven vote, but it is expected to return to council in a future meeting.
Speaking to Global News after the meeting, Nenshi said citizens “expect better.”
“They expect folks who are prepared, who know what they’re doing, who have done their homework, who are not grandstanding and who are focused on what’s right for the city – not on what may or may not be right for their political career.”
Meanwhile, Chu said the incident was “very frustrating.”
“We have a so-called leader of city council continuously [who] only [wants to] have one opinion – that’s his,” Chu said.
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