As protesters forced the adjournment of Mondays Budget meeting of Hamilton’s General issues committee, fault lines between the progressive wing of Hamilton Council and their supporters were on display. Protesters opposed to the Hamilton Police Service budget increase gathered in the city hall forecourt as delegates addressed council, the majority expressing opposition to the five-and-a-half percent increase which will bring the total police budget to almost $196 million.
As the meeting went into its fourth hour, protesters from outside city hall marched in and filled the public gallery. Hamilton Board of Education Trustee Sabreina Dahab who is also a member of the Encampment Support Network could be heard calling out, “ this is a peaceful demonstration, and we will not leave until you hear us.” As chanting from protesters continued, Committee Chair Brad Clark adjourned the meeting and ordered the chamber cleared. After about an hour the protesters left vowing to return.
Ward two councillor Maureen Wilson who in past had supported redirecting part of the police budget to social services, faced online pushback when she posted a tweet calling the protest” unacceptable” and “bullying.”
The final vote on the police budget is scheduled to take place February 21. At this point Ward 3 Councillor Nrinder Nann, Ward 4 Councillor Tammy Hwang, and Ward 13 Councillor Alex Wilson have said they will vote against the budget. Glanbrook Councillor Mark Tadeson says he will listen further before deciding on his vote.
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