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‘Discussions’ between Surrey, province on SPS transition ‘final offer’

Neither side will confirm ‘final offer’ is for $110M more on top of $150M
Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth and Surrey Mayor Brenda Locke. (File photos)

The provincial government has sweetened the pot in hopes Surrey city council will change its position on sticking with the RCMP rather than forging ahead with the Surrey Police Service.

In reply, a statement issued by the City of Surrey attributed to Mayor Brenda Locke reads that while the city “is in discussions” with the provincial government about this she “will not be sharing any details at this time. Otherwise, there has been no change in the legal action the City of Surrey is taking against the province. A court date has been set for April 29 and our legal team continues to prepare the case.”

Surrey has petitioned B.C. Supreme Court for a judicial review of Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth’s decree on July 19, 2023 that the Surrey Police Service will police the city. Justice Kevin Loo will preside.

READ ALSO: No ‘parade of witnesses’ in Surrey’s cop transition court case

Farnworth wouldn’t confirm that the “final offer” is for $110 million more on top of $150 million that’s already been offered when speaking with reporters on March 13. “We think it’s good for the city of Surrey,” he said. “That’s all I can say at this point.”

Earlier this week, in the Legislative Assembly, BC Conservative MLA Bruce Banman asked Premier David Eby about the government offering an additional payment of $110 million “to make this NDP scandal go away. Does this NDP Premier think that it’s fair that B.C. taxpayers are once again being asked to pay the bill to clean up his mess?”

Farnworth suggested Banman is “almost out to lunch” and added that “the transition continues to go ahead. The law of the province of British Columbia is that the city of Surrey will be policed by the Surrey police service. And my staff work with the city of Surrey, the federal RCMP and the Surrey RCMP to make sure that that will continue and that that is going to happen.”

Banman replied. “Once again, I didn’t hear an answer about the $110 million,” he noted.

Kevin Falcon, leader of the opposition and BC United, told reporters the transition is “undergoing, again, secretive non-transparents discussions.

“This appear to be a pattern with this premier,” Falcon said. “This sneaky approach, sneaky Eby, frankly. That’s what I’m now thinking I’ll call him, sneaky Eby. Because there’s a pattern here that is very, very concerning for British Columbians. Why won’t they just be transparent?”

In an earlier interview Farnworth reiterated to the Now-Leader the transition “is going ahead, it’s in legislation, and it will get done.”

“This threat of massive tax increases is like, no,” he said. “I think most people just want, the decision’s made, just get on with it and get this thing over and done with.”

“Everyone wants this done,” he added. “My expectation is it will get done but like everybody else, I’ll be glad when it is.”

About the Author: Tom Zytaruk

I write unvarnished opinion columns and unbiased news reports for the Surrey Now-Leader.
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