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‘Doxxing’: Saanich to stop forcing people to list address at council meetings

Council says it’s a barrier to people speaking before council
Saanich council during a regular meeting. (Ella Matte/News Staff)

Saanich Coun. Teale Phelps Bondaroff remembers when he used to speak before council before getting elected that he wouldn’t give his actual address.

He used to simply say he lived “down the road.”

But members of the public who speak before council at meetings are technically supposed to give their full address. That requirement, however, is soon to end as council approved a motion to have staff look at how stop this practice at regular meetings and public hearings.

Phelps Bondaroff put forward the motion, saying at the council meeting on Monday (Oct. 17) that citizens giving their addresses at meetings, which are public and recorded and posted on the district’s website, opened up people to “doxxing” and possible identity theft.

Phelps Bondaroff said many people are nervous speaking in public and it can be “discombobulating” to be interrupted to give their address.

The impact amounts to a barrier for some people.

“It’s a stifling effect on people participating,” said Phelps Bondaroff.

For controversial issues, the impact can result in harassment, according to Saanich councillors who supported the motion.

“Some people are feeling intimidated speaking in council chambers,” said Coun. Nathalie Chambers.

Coun. Susan Brice says the issue of intimidation has been felt in a strong way in “the past few months,” but she didn’t cite a specific issue.

“We want to give people a sense of comfort when they speak to their council and not be fingered by anybody who differs on their point of view,” Brice said.

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Chris Campbell

About the Author: Chris Campbell

I joined the Victoria News hub as an editor in 2023, bringing with me over 30 years of experience from community newspapers in Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley
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