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Verbal brawl at Calgary City Council

Last Updated Sep 10, 2019 at 2:59 pm MDT

(Photo by Chelsey Harms/660 NEWS)

CALGARY (660 NEWS) – It’s back to work for Calgary’s city council today, and it kicked off with bickering and infighting.

It started with Cllr. Jeromy Farkas’ motion calling motion for greater transparency over who does business with the city.

He had submitted the motion past the deadline to be included as a regular item on Monday’s agenda, which began a debate on whether or not it should be discussed as an urgent item.

Mayor Naheed Nenshi said the motion would require approval from two-thirds of council.

Cllr. Sean Chu disagreed with Nenshi’s determination and a back and forth argument ensued.

“I asked the question of the clerk, you don’t have to be so bitchy,” Chu said to Nenshi.

He was called out by other council members for using inappropriate language.

“I’m sorry I said something insulting,” Chu continued to say to Nenshi. “But stop being a little kid.”

Some councillors continued to call out Farkas, saying his motion was political grandstanding.

Nenshi said it was “disingenuous” of Farkas to bring forward the motion.

“There’s nothing whatsoever urgent about [the motion] except the need for some members of council to look good to the provincial government,” Nenshi said. “I urge [Farkas] to be much more thoughtful about how to get what he wants, which presumably is more than getting his name in the paper.”

Cllr. Jyoti Gondek chimed in after Nenshi made that comment. She accused the Mayor of being just as disrespectful as Chu.

“I would say if we have told one member of council to please watch their language, and their tone, and their level of respect, I think when we disagree with another member of council, we owe them the same level of respect,” said Gondek.

“I think making comments [from Nenshi] about someone’s desire to have publicity in the paper is probably just as disrespectful as a kid.”

Nenshi immediately said, “Thank you, I respectfully disagree.”

Gondek and Nenshi then bickered for several minutes.

Nenshi said personal insults aren’t okay, but disagreeing with other councillors is okay.

“This is the most ridiculous process to start a meeting that I’ve ever seen,” Gondek responded. “Maybe if we could all just grow up and be councillors, that would be nice.”

“And I would invite you to take the same advice.” Nenshi immediately responded.

Eight councillors voted against adding Farkas’ motion of urgency. Seven voted in favour.

“We always have lunch together after every meeting, which I think is important, because we have to be able to really set aside what we’re debating versus how we feel about one another as colleague,” Nenshi told members of the media when asked about Monday’s spat.