Larry Heather, Calgary city council’s most recognizable gadfly, has been removed from council chambers. Heather, who has run for mayor in the past and is registered to run again in 2017, attends almost every council meeting and often takes the mic at public hearings to speak to most issues.
On Monday, Heather was speaking to council during a public hearing on a secondary suite application in his community when Mayor Naheed Nenshi cut off his microphone and asked him to sit down.
Heather refused to move from the podium so the council meeting was recessed.
City security officers were called to escort him out and the police were called.
‘His time was up’
Nenshi said they always give people time to speak as long as they’re being respectful.
“But today with Mr. Heather it was a very simple thing. Despite all the racism and all the hatred over all these years, what got him in the end was a refusal to move away from the microphone when his time was up.”
Heather often speaks against secondary suites and tries to rally neighbours in opposition to proposed units.
At other times, his wildly off-topic comments on other issues have irked Nenshi and other members of council.
“It’s important than when you speak, you speak on this particular issue, and he often speaks on items where he doesn’t live in the neighbourhood, he doesn’t know anybody in the neighbourhood and he goes off on things that have nothing to do with what council is speaking about, and I usually cut him off and he’s usually pretty good about it,” said Nenshi.
“On occasion he does let his outside persona, which is really unbelievable racism and hatred — if you read his twitter feed it’s a never-ending stream of that — leak into his comments to council and that’s when I really cut him off.”
Heather said Nenshi’s characterization of him as racist and homophobic is “an act of slander.”
“What Mr. Nenshi needs is a little deitiphobia, fear of god and his standards,” he said by phone.
“God set standards of moral and ethical behaviour in the Bible which is authoritative for all people made in the image of god. So it applies to Mr. Nenshi as well.”
Heather is known outside of council chambers as the man who stands beside cycle tracks condemning cyclists as “retro primitives.”
He was at the recent Calgary Pride parade protesting “GSA fornication clubs” in reference to gay-straight alliances in Alberta schools.
On Twitter, he rails against the LGBTQ community, cyclists, those who are pro-choice, murkily defined jihadists and, often, Nenshi.
Heather gained some notoriety earlier this year by creating the hashtag #sexmarxists, which took a comical turn despite his earnest intention to attack the provincial NDP government.
Nenshi said in council chambers that he wanted Heather removed for a year or two, but conceded he does not have that authority. The decision rests with city hall security.
“We are aware that an incident occurred in Council chambers today resulting in a member of the public being asked to leave chambers,” said city hall’s chief security officer Owen Key by email.
“We are unable to comment further as Corporate Security is reviewing the details of the incident, and we are unable to discuss individual security incidents due to privacy concerns.”