She Governs Model Council Passes Calgary Street Harassment Bylaw, Adds Community Service

Com. Jennifer Wyness (clockwise from top left), Jasmine Mian, Sonya Sharp and Kourtney Penner, and Mayor Jyoti Gondek (center) participating in the She Governs panel on Monday, March 7.

She Governs of Calgary bogus board members have increased the fine for visible knives and endorsed community service for those who have been ticketed under the falsely approved street harassment by-law.

Fifteen young Calgary women from across Calgary participated as delegates in a model city council meeting on Monday. There, they debated the next municipal street harassment bylaw. They were assisted by city administration and city clerks, as well as law enforcement in answering questions.

They were participating in the She Governs: Participating in Municipal Leadership event in partnership with Equal Voice Calgary. It was aimed at young girls in grades 9 to 12.

Although their decision is not binding, the group discussed aspects of the settlement that elected officials had not addressed. Calgary City Council will formally discuss the proposed harassment changes at Tuesday’s combined council meeting.

Delegates expressed concern about the lack of support for victims of street harassment. They said he only focused on punishing the offender.

Delegate Mackenzie Huang said the settlement focuses on enforcement and relies on peace officers witnessing the incidents. It is sometimes difficult for victims to come forward, she said.

“I wonder if we don’t need some kind of encouragement to help these victims report these incidents of street harassment because, as we’ve talked about at length, it can affect victims in different ways,” he said. said Delegate Huang. .

“I wonder if we can perhaps shift the focus of this type of settlement to help victims rather than prosecute perpetrators. I believe that because the victims could be so heavily affected by these incidents of street harassment, giving them support could be more important than offering them retaliation in the form of fines or this type of punishment.

Raising awareness in a diverse Calgary

Delegates also addressed the education and awareness aspect of the proposed regulations.

Delegate Raj Dosanjh acknowledged the language and communication barrier for many of her northeast constituents.

“I’m still getting on and off and traveling and you see a lot of Punjabi elders taking the bus,” she said.

“And they are very, very, unfortunately victims of hate crimes and often they don’t even know it.”

Dosanjh said all Calgarians can access information about harassment.

“I think it’s important that we deploy resources to make sure they also get the information because they are victims and they represent a huge population of victims,” ​​she said.

To ensure that offenders receive an education, an amendment to their motion was added. It included direct community service and sensitivity training for anyone charged with an offence.

Delegates also thought the fine for visible knives was low at $50. They increased it to $500 to match the harassment fine. They added an amendment stating that the visible knife should be used for intimidation purposes. This was due to potential carrying for religious reasons.

Their amended regulations were adopted unanimously.

Panel of future women leaders

Then there was a public Q&A panel which included Mayor Jyoti Gondek and councillors. Sonya Sharp, Jennifer Wyness, Jasmine Mian and Kourtney Penner. These five women won their council seats in the last election.

They were peppered with questions about the work, their inspirations and how they could support more female leaders.

“Every girl, every young woman who has decided to join She Governs is continuing what we started so many years ago,” Mayor Gondek said.

“Knowing that you all care about civic affairs as well as democracy warms my heart and makes me happy to see you all with us today.”


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