Interruptions and hecklers cause chaos in Langford council chambers


Tempers are flaring and tension is building at Langford council meetings. On Tuesday, at a council meeting, a man charged the podium, yelling and causing a 20-minute delay in proceedings.

“Hey…we’re looking for respect here,” Mayor Scott Goodmanson can be heard before microphones were cut off.

In the corner of Tuesday’s video livestream, a man can be seen pointing a finger at Langford Coun. Lillian Szpak and yelling before the video freezes.

It’s not the first instance of chaos in Langford’s council chambers as of late.

Someone called in to Aug. 21’s council meeting self-identifying as “Pepperoni from Mars.” In that same meeting, the chair was palpably frustrated with hecklers speaking out of turn.

“We have clear-cut rules and if people don’t listen to those I don’t know what to do. Because we need a respectful place in here,” said Goodmanson.

Friction in council meetings has been building on both sides of the table since the election.

“The public is being interrupted, silenced, and it’s just not open and transparent which this new council campaigned on,” Langford resident Lisa Foxall told CHEK News in an interview.

For the last eight months, Foxall has sat in that audience. She says those trying to speak are being muted unfairly, specifically when they try to address Coun. Lilian Szpak’s alleged overstep of authority for seeking a resolution to a parking dispute between her son and neighbour.

“There’s a lot of mistrust from the public and citizens from the public,” said Foxall.

Several speakers Tuesday were cut short on the issue Tuesday, including  Sandy Sifert.

“Can you just let us speak?” Sifert said.

Coun. Colby Harder had interrupted Sifert’s time, telling her she couldn’t speak about the ombudsman’s report referenced in code of conduct amendments which relate to Szpak’s actions because the report itself wasn’t on the agenda.

That moment led to resentment for those who’d prepared notes.

City of Langford communications tells CHEK News no one from their seven-person mayor and council was available for comment Thursday.

Kori SidawayKori Sidaway

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