In October I wrote that we should absolutely not let council succumb to security theatre. Edmonton's city administration was proposing installing a glass wall between council and the public in council chambers, as well as installing metal detectors and implementing bag searches at the doors.
Since that post, the redacted report was made public and city administration has begun some consultation on the issue - which makes this topic worth revisiting.
Implementing "security" measures that make City Hall less welcoming without just cause should absolutely not be tolerated
So, does city administration have just cause for implementing these measures? No. They absolutely do not.
For reference, you can read the redacted report(pdf). The report gives a couple examples of "security incidents" in other locations as justification for these measures. It makes sure to preface the incidents by stating
That means anything can happen anywhere with no warning, so obviously we must prepare for everything. You never know if ringing the doorbell or using the telephone will electrocute you.
I want you to read that, and let it sink in. As justification for making City Hall less accessible and putting up literal (not just figurative) barriers between council and the public, city administration is citing an incident where president Bush was in Iraq, a country where the US had deployed troops, and had a shoe thrown at him.
They then acknowledge that Edmonton has never had an event of this magnitude. Maybe someone threw a sock.
As a method of gauging support for this initiative, the City of Edmonton sent out this survey question.
We need to send signals to the city adminstration that these changes are unwanted, unwarranted, harm democracy and make city hall less inclusive. We can't run our city on fear.