This story is the fourth in a series on Surrey’s eight newly elected city councillors.
The last time East Newton resident Jack Hundial served on council was in Grade 12.
On student council in high school in Terrace, B.C., that is, where he was born and raised.
But on Monday night Hundial, 48, was sworn in with the rest of the new city council to govern the second biggest city in this province.
“I’m very humbled by the opportunity,” he told the Now-Leader. “It’s a responsibility that comes with a lot of trust.”
Hundial was elected with 33,750 votes, under the Safe Surrey Coalition banner, putting him fourth rung on a ladder of eight elected councillors.
Most recently he’s been working with BC Hydro as a senior investigator into things like power theft.
“I’ll be taking a leave from B.C. Hydro,” he said, as he enters the political arena.
Hundial retired from the Surrey RCMP as a staff sergeant in May 2016, after serving nearly 25 years with the force — a career he began in Cloverdale in 1992.
Over the years he served in general duty, traffic enforcement, general investigations, and surveillance units before transferring north to Terrace for five years. There, he put in three years in general duty and two in Aboriginal policing before returning to the Lower Mainland, to E Division headquarters, to investigate clandestine drug labs, and join the organized motorcycle gang unit.
Being a politician, he said, is “very exciting in the sense of being a member of an organization like the RCMP, you’re in a position of trying to make positive change, but now I’ll be able to look at it from the other side and focus more on some of the social issues as well.”
Does it feel weird being part of a coalition that wants to replace the RCMP, which gave him a career, with a city police force? Has he lost any friends over the stance?
“No, not at all,” Hundial replied. “In fact most of my friends and many of the members throughout the campaign reached out.
“Regardless of what organization you’re part of in the policing world, you want to make sure the public is served in the best way possible,” he said.
Hundial decided to run for office in late 2017. “My passion was in establishing good governance on council,” he explained. “I was the first candidate in this entire campaign, from any party, I was an independent initially, to come forward about having an office with an ethics commissioner and an ombudsperson.”
Hundial said during the election campaign that he’s guided by three principles to improve Surrey: change, safety and transparency.
By change, he means to foster an environment on city council that encourages public involvement, debate and open discussion.
“Change that puts the needs of all the citizens of Surrey as the priority rather than pander to the ideals of a few. Change that is smart and sustainable for our future needs,” he said during the campaign.
According to Hundial, the “number one priority facing the new council” is the need for the public to feel safe in this city. He’d like to see a police board established that includes members of the public and wants to ensure police “are free to use their expertise without political interference.”
Hundial says he wants to “re-establish the public trust” at city hall “so decision-making is clear and transparent.
“Hold the mayor, council and senior staff accountable to the citizens,” he added.
“Create a new governance model that includes a fixed term ethics commissioner and city ombudsman, like other large Canadian cities.”
Surrey’s new city council, he says, is a council “that comes from a very diverse background. Diversity in ideas and opinions and locations. It is a coalition.”
Hundial lives in Chimney Heights in East Newton and has a 23-year-old son who is working on a bachelor of technology degree back east.