HTTP/1.0 200 OK Content-Type: text/html Activist Accused Of Trying To Hijack Forum
Pubdate: Sat, 12 Nov 2005
Source: Hamilton Spectator (CN ON)
Copyright: 2005 The Hamilton Spectator
Author: Daniel Nolan


Councillor Tells Owner Of Pot Cafe To 'Sit Down And Shut Up' At 
Police Community Meeting

A pot activist who used a crowded rural forum to confront police 
Chief Brian Mullan says he'll keep speaking out at future meetings, 
despite being blasted by an irate city councillor.

Councillor Margaret McCarthy says she had to tell two men to "sit 
down and shut up" because they tried to "hijack" the meeting this 
week in the old Flamborough town hall.

The dispute began near the end of the two-hour forum. After people 
spoke about crime worries in Flamborough -- including kids smoking 
pot in various locations around Waterdown -- Chris Goodwin stood up 
"and accused the chief of harassment" by targeting his downtown pot 
cafe, McCarthy said.

Goodwin, owner of the Up in Smoke cafe on King Street East, said 
police have made more than 300 visits to his cafe, which he believes 
is unjustified and is a misuse of police resources. He was 
accompanied by Chris Lawson, head of a group that promotes medicinal marijuana.

Before a packed council chamber, McCarthy took the pair to task. The 
confrontation continued after the meeting, in which McCarthy says one 
of the men accused her of being narrow-minded and she responded with 
comments "you can't print" in a family newspaper.

"I was there to deal with my constituents and issues in my ward," the 
Ward 15 councillor said later. "He wouldn't sit down ... They chose 
an inappropriate forum for their issue and they argued with me. I was 
pretty mad."

Goodwin says her charge is untrue and says McCarthy's behaviour was 
"abhorrent." Lawson called the councillor's remarks rude and offensive.

Goodwin admits he was vocal, but said McCarthy was the one who got "combative."

"I just couldn't believe the disrespect from a city councillor," 
Goodwin said. "For a city councillor to tell a citizen to sit down 
and shut up, I'm still in shock. I was in a suit and tie and I think 
I spoke very well."

He says he's attended meetings the chief has held in Glanbrook, 
Stoney Creek and City Hall and has always spoken toward the end of 
the sessions. He plans to attend future forums.

"I plan to have my voice heard, maybe not necessarily always on the 
legalization issue."

McCarthy has no regrets in how she treated the pair. She says the 
crowd was "delighted" when "I told them off."

"I think they have real gall ... not only do I think they're wrong, 
but they're boorish in thinking they could get away with it. I have a 
low tolerance for that kind of garbage."

The next police community forum is Tuesday at 7 p.m. at the old 
Dundas town hall.
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