Royson James in his Toronto Star column today writes about GM2.12, an item the Government Management committee will consider shortly. The item recommends “Enhanced Security Measures” (but doesn’t list them specifically) to provide councillor security.
From what James and others have written, the move essentially seems to be about restricting the media’s access to City Hall:
So, it is with no little concern that television and newspaper reporters and columnists received news that the city’s government management committee Tuesday could severely restrict the media’s coming and going — in the name of enhanced city hall security.
You should be concerned as well.
One idea, apparently being tossed around, is to have the media sign in, like the general public, and be escorted to councillors’ offices. Over our dead bodies — and court challenges.
I’m written before that there is, unfortunately, very little downside to an elected official cutting off the media’s access. The public seemingly doesn’t care.
In 2006, a newly elected Stephen Harper did essentially the same thing, as reported by Global News:
Harper has come under fire from the media in recent months for limiting the parliamentary press gallery from having access to certain events and federal personalities.
Shortly after coming into power, the Harper government ceased publicizing Tory cabinet meeting times and also barred the media from the corridor outside of the cabinet room, effectively preventing reporters from staking out cabinet ministers and throwing questions at them as they emerged from the room.
via Stephen Harper vs. The Press. (Emphasis added.)
Feels a bit like déjà vu.