Abbotsford City Hall File photo

Bad behaviour to lead to expulsion at Abbotsford council

New rules lay out how a member can be booted from a meeting

New rules have been crafted laying out how a bullying – and at this point, hypothetical – Abbotsford councillor can be booted from a meeting.

Council gave the thumbs up Monday to a new bylaw that formalizes the process for tossing a councillor acting inappropriately in a meeting. The bylaw also includes new rules regulating how frequently delegations can appear, and how the city will remove a person who has been told to leave but won’t.

Council meetings – particularly since the 2015 election – have been mostly staid affairs, with disagreement rare and clashes between members almost non-existent. But that lack of strife, Mayor Henry Braun said, makes this the perfect time to craft and implement the new rules.

“A lot of these issues we might not have experienced in Abbotsford, but you do see them in other municipalities,” Braun said.

Coun. Sandy Blue highlighted the rules governing decorum among councillors.

“You might not think about it when a council is working effectively, but you certainly notice it when it’s not.”

The rules say council members must not bully or harass other councillors, government officials or staff members. The bylaw defines such activity as including, but not being limited to: expressing negative opinions about the personality or character of someone; speaking disrespectfully, speaking or acting aggressively toward another person; using offensive gestures or signs; being rude; questioning the motives of others; or speaking on cellphones when another person is speaking, except in emergencies.

If a meeting chair finds someone breached the rules, the person can either be ordered to leave immediately, or permitted to apologize. An inadequate apology can result in the person still being removed from the meeting.

If someone who has been ordered to leave, doesn’t of their free will, the bylaw says council can call in a peace officer.

On delegations, the new bylaw says individuals or organizations can only address council once a year on a specific topic, or once every three months on different topics. The mayor can also refuse delegations that wish to speak about matter already being addressed at a public hearing, or if the matter relates to labour relations and employees, litigation, is outside the city’s authority, or is about information that can’t be released or is related to a freedom of information request. The mayor can also determine a matter to be frivolous.

A delegation can also be refused if the matter relates to compliance with city bylaws, is the subject of a future staff report, is an election matter, or relates to a tendered contract or an ongoing request for proposals.

Just Posted

WATCH: Brother of missing Hope woman makes emotional appeal for more media attention

Next search for Shawnee Inyallie Nov. 18 along Highway 1 towards Boston Bar

HATS invites Hope residents to talk about addiction in the midst of opioid overdose crisis

First talk happening Thursday, Nov. 15 at Blue Moose Coffee House

Country talent Petunia returns to Bozzini’s in Chilliwack Saturday

Petunia, performing Nov. 17, is referred to as ‘The Savior of Country Music’

Chilliwack Cultural Centre seeks artists who work in a large format

Deadline Nov. 22 to submit work for Cultural Centre lobby display

Raise your spirits with the 44th annual Chilliwack Christmas Craft Market

The artsy festive market runs Nov. 16 to 18 at Chilliwack Heritage Park

People flocking to Vancouver Island city to see hundreds of sea lions

Each year the combination of Steller and California sea lions take over Cowichan Bay

Toronto ‘carding’ activist Desmond Cole stopped by police in Vancouver

Cole says his experience reveals what daily life is like for black and Indigenous residents

Tubing, skating, light display part of new winter festival in Vancouver

Set to open Nov. 23, the six-week festival will take over Vancouver’s Concord Pacific Centre

Commercial trucks banned from left lane of Coquihalla

B.C.’s Ministry of Transportation has introduced a new program that hopes to prevent accidents and closures on the Coquihalla Highway.

B.C. on track to record same number of overdose deaths as last year

128 people died of overdoses in September, bringing the total to more than 1,100 so far in 2018

B.C. firefighters rescue horse stuck in mud

‘It happens more often than you’d think,’ says deputy chief

Regulatory confusion over ‘toxic’ stink near Abbotsford school

Officials sniffing out which regulators responsible for enforcing compliance at neighbouring property

Canadians more prepared for weather disaster than financial one: poll

RBC recommends people check their bank app as often as the weather app

B.C. dog owner sues after pet killed in beaver trap

A Kamloops man is suing the operator of a trapline north of the city after his dog died

Most Read