Surrey City Hall. (File photo)

Steele, Surrey First part ways

Longtime councillor says she resigned but Tom Gill says departure wasn’t her choice

SURREY — Longtime Surrey councillor Barb Steele is jumping ship from Surrey First to run alongside Bruce Hayne in this fall’s civic election.

The question is, was she pushed?

In a press release Tuesday (July 17), Steele said “It has become clear that philosophically I can no longer be a part of Surrey First,” citing “leadership and integrity“ as concerns. The release states Steele “has resigned from the party she was a founding member of.”

But Tom Gill, Surrey First’s mayoralty candidate, tells a different story.

“She left because we did not endorse her,” Gill told the Now-Leader on Wednesday. “She had trouble committing to Surrey First and her loyalties were elsewhere.

“I am so disappointed that Barbara would convey to the media it was her choice to leave Surrey First,” Gill said.

homelessphoto

City Councillor Tom Gill, Surrey First mayoralty candidate. (Metro Vancouver video image)

Gill said push came to shove after Steele told him she had been speaking with the Rich Coleman camp and Bruce Hayne about throwing her lot in with them. Coleman decided this week not to run.

For her part, Steele said she doesn’t recall “the word endorse or not being endorsed coming up at all.”

“Nobody said they wouldn’t endorse me,” she said. “Yes, I resigned, for sure. I also don’t want to play Grade 6. The facts are the facts.

“Tom knew I was doing some serious thinking,” Steele said. She also said she and Gill “sometimes clash” and “really hadn’t been seeing eye to eye for a while.”

“I have no intention of carrying on a great big fight in the press,” Steele said.

Gill furnished the Now-Leader with what he says is a text-message conversation between himself and Steele earlier this week:

“I have made up my mind. I am staying where I am. I don’t think we need to meet tomorrow. Ok?”

“Let’s meet at city hall.”

“Why. I am staying with Surrey First. My mind is made up.”

“I have to close loop on a few things We should meet as scheduled, it’s important that we meet.”

“What loopholes Tom? You I am a member of Surrey First. I don’t see any loopholes.”

“Sorry for typing”

“We are good Tom”

Gill said Steele did not show up for the meeting.

homelessphoto

City Councillor Barbara Steele. (File photo)

Following councillor Hayne’s departure from Surrey First in June, Steele is the second sitting Surrey First councillor to part ways with the civic party in less than a month. Hayne has yet to publicly declare whether he intends to run for mayor or councillor this fall.

Steele has been a councillor with the City of Surrey for two decades, and is a past-president of the Union of British Columbia Municipalities (UBCM).

In the Oct. 20 civic election, she will seek an eighth term on Surrey council.

“I’m looking forward to running in the election this fall to continue the work I’ve started on behalf of the good people of this city,” Steele stated in the release.

“I joined Surrey First because I believed in the work, the values and the vision of my friend and colleague Dianne Watts. This is no longer the party that represents the ideals we began with, and in good conscience I can’t be part of it.”

On June 22, Surrey First announced Tom Gill will be its mayoral candidate in the election, following a decision by Mayor Linda Hepner to not seek re-election.

Judy Villeneuve and Mary Martin, current members of the all-Surrey First council, are also not seeking re-election this fall.

— with files by Tom Zillich

homelessphoto



tom.zytaruk@surreynowleader.com

Like us on Facebook Follow us on Instagram and follow Tom on Twitter

Just Posted

New police force in Surrey must avoid VPD, RCMP errors made in Pickton case: Oppal

Boots are scheduled to be on the ground by spring 2021

PHOTOS: Surrey designer uses toilet paper to make a dress for annual Toronto show

‘The dress is very experimental and avante garde,’ says Guildford-based Alex S. Yu

Police issue warning after four overdoses in North Delta

Police and emergency health services use naloxone to revive four overdose victims Thursday morning

Surrey reacts to policing plan getting the green light

Former mayor, councillors and residents weigh in on the Public Safety Minister approving the transition

Trudeau vows to stand firm against ‘increasingly assertive’ China

China has accused Canada of meddling in its affairs

Conan turns to the Property Brothers for tips on buying Greenland

Jonathan Scott suggests removing glaciers and mountains to bring in ‘more natural light’

Forests minister visits B.C. town rocked by multiple mill shutdowns

A third of Mackenzie turns out for rally, not much to cheer about

B.C. sockeye returns drop as official calls 2019 ‘extremely challenging’

Federal government says officials are seeing the same thing off Alaska and Washington state

North Van music teacher accused of sexual misconduct involving girls

Police believe other victims could be out there after the arrest of Lamar Victor Alviar

B.C. family stranded in Croatia desperate to come home

Funds being raised to bring back mom and two children

B.C. man on trial for daughters’ murders says an intruder broke in

Andrew Berry takes stand in his defense for December 2017 deaths of young daughters

‘Plenty of time for a deal’: Teachers’ union expects kids back in school on Sept. 3

BCTF says class size, composition at the heart of the issue

Most Read