SURREY — A second new civic party has made itself known this week.
On Monday morning, the Surrey Community Alliance revealed it would be challenging the Surrey First slate. Later that day, the People First Surrey party also announced its intentions to run in the upcoming fall civic election in Surrey.
The face of the team, Rajesh Jayaprakash, told the Now-Leader the party was born roughly a year and a half ago when some residents were “trying to understand” LRT.
“We were just curious and started trying to understand what LRT is and the impact,” said Jayaprakash, a software architect. “We started studying that and are not convinced it will improve the city’s transportation situation overall.”
“That’s where it started.”
While Jayaprakash said they are not affiliated with the SkyTrain for Surrey group that has long opposed light rail in the city, he noted they used that group’s website in their research.
Jayaprakash said the team then began delving into crime and other issues, leading to a 16-point agenda (see more online) being created, which is outlined on their website, peoplefirstsurrey.ca. Prakash said they intend to “refine it with people participation.”
Jayaprakash said People First Surrey doesn’t like that “current council got $902,000 of their $1.18 million (campaign donations in the last election) from corporations. That is almost 80 per cent.”
As for the party’s platform, the People First team says it wants SkyTrain and bus service instead of LRT.
When it comes to crime, People First Surrey proposes a high-tech system be developed to “identify, record and prove crimes” via the installation of cameras in all or most road intersections, which would be reserved for police use. A “drone network” is also proposed.
What about privacy?
“Privacy of our citizens are ensured by a Privacy protected and people inclusive for governance of the system,” according to the website. “This body will develop the overall rules for the use of the network. Police would be given enough data to detect and respond to situations only based on the published and approved rules. But will not have control of the system.”
Jayaprakash noted the group is actively looking for people to join the team.
Those wishing to get in touch or involved with the group can email firstname.lastname@example.org. Jayaprakash said candidates are expected to be announced in July or August.
Surrey voters head to the polls on Oct. 20.