ELECTION: Top polling Surrey mayoral candidates snub Newton meeting

NEWTON — Linda Hepner and Doug McCallum may have trouble winning votes in Strawberry Hill after failing to show at a mayoral candidates debate organized by residents of that community on Thursday night.

"They won’t get our votes for sure," said Andy Boyal, of the Strawberry Hill Community Association. "We invited them a number of times and we’re very sad they didn’t show up. We tried our very best."

Vikram Bajwa wasn’t there, either.

"I don’t take him very seriously anyway," Boyal said. "He should have been there. I think he’s going to lose votes for sure."

Surrey mayoral candidates Barinder Rasode, Grant Rice, John Wolanski and John Edwards attended the debate, which drew roughly 90 people to the 105-year-old Strawberry Hill Community Hall.

Organizers Raman Bhangu, 31, and Suprina Bassi, 23, live within two blocks from the hall and noted their meeting Thursday night was, to date, the only Surrey mayoral debate staged by residents.

Neither was impressed with the no-show candidates. "Our community is feeling disrespected because of that," Bhangu said.

She said McCallum’s camp told organizes he would not be at the debate because he was at a fundraiser.

"Linda we did not hear from."

Boyal said he spoke with Bajwa prior to the meeting and Bajwa told him he would not participate.


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