Langford resident blames ‘vocal minority’ for out-of-hand council meetings


The debates during city council meetings can sometimes be passionate, but someone storming the stand screaming isn’t a usual occurrence.

“What happened Tuesday night was really over the top,” said Langford resident Sarah Plank. “I was afraid for people’s safety.”

Plank has lived in Langford for the last 20 years, most of which she’s spent municipally engaged. But in those two decades she says she’s never seen the political climate this disrespectful.

“It’s very toxic,” said Plank. “There’s this small group of vocal minority who have been trying to dominate council meetings for political reasons.”

“I think they’re unhappy with the election results and they want the old mayor back,” she said.

Plank says she’s observed a dozen or so Our Langford supporters who are regularly and intentionally interrupting or disrespecting the municipal process.

“There’s a few people, the same people bringing up things that are not on the agenda, intimidating other speakers and being intentionally disruptive,” said Plank. “And it’s wasting everybody’s time.”

Langford’s mayor says the disruptions during council meetings have been increasing since he and his new council were voted in eight months ago.

“It’s just gotten worse and worse,” said Langford Mayor Scott Goodmanson. “They got a lot of latitude. You see what happens when you give people too much latitude? They take advantage of you.”

Goodmanson said his council initially didn’t interrupt when members of the gallery went long or off topic, but recently, to keep order and focus, they’ve been interjecting.

On Thursday, CHEK News spoke with Langford resident Lisa Foxall who felt she and others were being unfairly muted by council

“The public is being interrupted, silenced,” she said.

To those allegations, the mayor says the rules are the rules for good reason.

“We want to hear from you, but we ask for respect. We ask that people follow the procedures that are long standing so that we can have good, solid meetings where we can get work done,” said Goodmanson.

Both the mayor and others in the gallery are calling for a sense of respect to continue to the democratic process.

“I think at the end of the day we probably all want similar things,” said Plank. “And I think if we get past the politics of it, we can all work constructively to work towards that.”

In a previous version of this article Langford Now was in place of Our Langford. CHEK News regrets the error.

Kori SidawayKori Sidaway

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