Surrey’s city council meeting devolved into chaos Monday night as council voted to pass the city’s 2020 budget.
The budget has faced controversy in the past, as opponents say it doesn’t include funds for any new RCMP officers or firefighters.
At least 400 people packed council chambers for the vote, every seat was taken, and hundreds more stood in the lobby of City Hall.
At one point, Mayor Doug McCallum threatened to have security remove hecklers.
“OK listen, I’m not going to put up with this,” said McCallum to the council chambers. “The ones that are shouting, I’m going to ask you to leave. And if you don’t leave we will escort you out.”
At one point members of the Mayor’s Safe Surrey coalition got up and left the chambers amidst raucous boos and cheers.
When they came back about 10 minutes later, the budget was passed.
McCallum said he wasn’t going to allow any speakers on the item due to “safety concerns.”
Hearing that councillors would not be allowed to speak, Coun. Steven Pettigrew got up and turned his back to the mayor.
Former city councillor Mike Starchuk with “Speak up Surrey” called it “disturbing” that councillors weren’t allowed to speak.
“We elect those people to speak on our behalf,” Starchuck said.
“For somebody to stand in front of all those people and take that right away, that’s completely and totally irresponsible and wrong.”
Every item on the budget was eventually passed.