Mayor Horwath calls for ‘orderly dialogue’ after protestors disrupt council meeting


Published February 7, 2023 at 11:00 am

city of hamilton city council defund police hamilton police budget increase mayor andrea horwath maureen wilson brad clark
Hamilton Mayor Andrea Horwath called for "orderly dialogue" Tuesday after "defund the police" protestors disrupted a City Council meeting. (Screenshot taken from Feb. 1, 2023, GIC council meeting)

Hamilton Mayor Andrea Horwath called for “orderly dialogue” after protestors disrupted Monday’s city council meeting, demanding that elected officials vote against a proposed $12 million increase to the Hamilton Police Service’s 2023 budget.

The sometimes boisterous group of about 50, whose chants included “defund or resign” and “no justice, no peace,” eventually caused Ward 9 Coun. and general issues committee chair Brad Clark to end the meeting about three-and-a-half hours in.

As a result, many scheduled delegates were not allowed to speak.

The meeting can be watched below from the City’s official YouTube account. The meeting feed is cut at the 3:38:00 mark, immediately after Clark instructs council to leave the chambers.


In a statement released Tuesday morning, Horwath referred to the protestors’ actions as unfortunate and disrespectful.

“I understand that many individuals in Hamilton are passionate about the budget, including the police budget,” the statement begins. “However, disrupting a peaceful discussion, shouting people down, and refusing to listen to one another cannot replace respectful dialogue.”

“When a situation arises in Council Chambers that does not appear to be calming down, Council is advised to leave in order to avoid further escalation. In this case, it was unfortunate that many Hamiltonians who were scheduled to delegate did not get a chance to do so because of the disruption,” Horwath continued.

“I look forward to a peaceful and orderly dialogue with Hamiltonians and my Council colleagues as we continue to deliberate on this budget and other concerns of residents of our city.”

Ward 1 Coun. Maureen Wilson tweeted Tuesday morning that the protestors’ actions amounted to bullying.

“What we witnessed last night was an unacceptable attempt to bully members of (city council),” she stated. “In previous Council I spoke out when members of Council attempted to bully staff & members of public. This undemocratic act denied the opportunity for many delegates to be heard.”

city of hamilton city council defund police hamilton police budget increase mayor andrea horwath maureen wilson brad clark

According to reporter Joey Coleman, protestors, led by Ward 2 public school trustee Sabreina Dahab, say they “will come back again and again” until the police budget increase is voted down.

Council continued budget discussions Tuesday morning at 9:30 a.m. The live stream is available online.

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