One of the Semiahmoo Peninsula’s most experienced politicians is running for Surrey mayor in this fall’s municipal election.
On Wednesday, Gordie Hogg announced that he will run for the mayor’s seat with the city’s Surrey First slate, citing improved access to city hall as a key plank in his platform, while also noting that he doesn’t think the city’s “enormous potential” is currently being realized.
“The multicultural, pluralistic nature of Surrey best reflects (Canada)… and I’ve been disappointed with some of the divisive nature that has taken place, the conflict that has been in existence (in the city), and I think we need to come together and realize what opportunities we have in Surrey to be a leading city in Canada,” he told Peace Arch News.
“We’re unique in that we have parkland, agricultural land… heavy industrial, light industrial – we have everything that we need to be the leading city in Canada, where we can be compared to Toronto and Ottawa and Montreal and Vancouver.
“We’re on the Canada-U.S. border, and we have access to the ocean – we just have so much potential, and I’ve been disappointed that we haven’t been realizing that, and instead have spent too much time debating.”
The Surrey First announcement came Wednesday morning during an event at Surrey’s Civic Hotel. Also announced were three Surrey First council candidates – incumbent Linda Annis, plus two new faces, Bilal Cheema and Mary-Em Waddington.
In a press release issued Wednesday, Annis said Hogg “will be a breath of fresh air at city hall because he always listens, and his reputation for honesty and integrity will be a refreshing change, which means Surrey voters will always be welcome at their city hall.”
Hogg also noted that Surrey residents’ ability to access city hall needs improvement, and pitched a few ideas to make that possible – from expanded operating hours in city departments to holding council meetings throughout the city, rather than solely at city hall.
“I think we need to open things up,” he said. “It’s a big city, and there are opportunities for all kinds of questions to be asked, and that’s been prohibited in the last little while.”
Over the last few decades, Hogg, 75, has been a politician at all levels of government. He served as a White Rock city councillor from 1974 until 1984, then was mayor from ’84 until 1993. Moving on from the municipal arena, he was elected as a BC Liberal MLA in the Surrey-White Rock riding in 1997 and was re-elected four times before retiring from provincial politics in 2013.
He was subsequently elected Liberal MP for White Rock–South Surrey in 2017 in a byelection prompted by the resignation of sitting Conservative MP Dianne Watts – herself a former Surrey mayor – but Hogg lost the seat in 2019 to Conservative challenger Kerry-Lynne Findlay, who also won a rematch during last year’s federal election of 2021.
Earlier this spring, Hogg told PAN he was mulling a mayor’s run in either Surrey or White Rock.
Hogg is the fifth candidate to announce a Surrey mayoralty run. Current Mayor Doug McCallum has said he plans to run for re-election, while current councillor Brenda Locke, Surrey MLA Jinny Sims, and Surrey MP Sukh Dhaliwal – who announced his candidacy and his new slate, United Surrey, Monday – are also running for the city’s top political seat.
Despite so many experienced, well-known politicians running, Hogg said he wasn’t concerned with vote-splitting or with the idea that, potentially, candidates could have similar platforms.
“My perspective is that the people of Surrey deserve a number of different visions and options to choose from,’ Hogg said. “People running for mayor and for council should be challenged, and should have to explain what their vision is… Access, opportunity, the police transition – people should be able to challenge each one of us on these issues, and then decide what works best for them.
“That’s how democracies are most effective.”