Regina Mayor Defends Councillor’s Choice to Bring Toddler to Contentious Meeting

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In the midst of a fractious city council meeting, Regina Mayor Sandra Masters had to step in due to a disagreement over a councillor’s choice to bring his toddler into the council chambers. The divergence arose when Councillor Dan Leblanc introduced his young daughter within the council’s environs.

“It is a process-driven and sensitive point,” argued Councillor Bob Hawkins as he voiced his objection before the council. “Our council’s guidelines decidedly dictate that only the councillors should be on this side of the hexagonal chamber.” His contention was rooted in Councillor Leblanc’s decision to join the council along with his daughter.

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In a plea concerning decorum and respect for the council’s rules, Hawkins urged Leblanc to find another solution, even offering to halt the meeting so that his daughter would no longer be a part of the council ‘circus.’

The council meeting in question was characterized by regular disruptions, with public gallery members expressing their displeasure over a debate concerning the declaration of a ‘homelessness crisis’ in Regina. During this emotionally fraught debate, one individual was removed while accusing the council members of having “blood on their hands.”

Upon consultation with city administrators, Mayor Sandra Masters decided to allow Councillor Leblanc’s daughter to remain, citing precedence as he had brought her to the council meetings before. However, in her response to Hawkins, she invited him to challenge her decision, stating firmly her intention to let Leblanc continue with his daughter in tow as it had been done before.

Hawkins decided against contesting the mayor’s ruling, but he persisted in expressing that the toddler’s attendance was “inappropriate.” His flat disapproval was punctuated by the ongoing heckling noises emanating from the public gallery.

According to Section 14(6) of The Procedure Bylaw, apart from designated members, no other individual is permitted to enter the council’s chamber during the sittings without obtaining explicit permission from the presiding mayor or a council member.

The ensuing discussion led Mayor Masters to remark that the situation would be addressed in more detail within the procedural bylaws, as the council moved into the fall session.