Surrey City Councillor Brenda Locke and Mayor Doug McCallum. (File photo)

Surrey City Councillor Brenda Locke and Mayor Doug McCallum. (File photo)

Locke prepared to take Surrey mayor to court if policing referendum motion deemed out of order again

Surrey councillor says it’s ‘a possibility, absolutely’ she will seek legal action if mayor reprises his response when she brings her motion back to council on May 31

Surrey city Councillor Brenda Locke says she’s prepared to take Mayor Doug McCallum to court if he once again finds her motion, which called on the city to ask the province to hold a referendum on whether Surrey should be policed by the RCMP or a city-made force, out of order after she re-introduces it at the May 31 council meeting.

Armed with a legal opinion from ARVAY FINLAY LLP that her motion was not out of order, Locke told the Now-Leader on Thursday it’s “a possibility, absolutely” that she will seek legal action if McCallum reprises his response.

“I think the public want to have their say, the public deserve to have their say,” Locke said. “I really think it’s time, once and for all, to put this thing to bed one way or another and right now the referendum is probably the only way. There’s just way too much opposition. It hasn’t slowed down in two years and, if anything, it’s mounting.”

READ ALSO: Widow of Surrey murder victim seeking referendum vote on policing transition

READ ALSO: Watchdog dealing with complaints against Surrey Police despite force not being active

READ ALSO: Surrey councillor trying to get policing referendum on the table, again

READ ALSO: Surrey council gets into row over policing transition as frustration boils over

The legal opinion Locke received from the law firm on May 19 addressed four questions, namely, does the provincial government have jurisdiction to order a referendum on whether the Surrey RCMP should be replaced by the Surrey Police Service, and if so, is its discretion to do so “constrained by any preconditions or other legal limits in these circumstances?”

She also asked if Surrey council can request the Lieutenant Governor in Council to order a referendum “as soon as possible, before additional expenditures are made, on the issue of whether Surrey should continue to be policed by the RCMP, or by the proposed Surrey Police Service,” and lastly, if her motion presented to council was out of order.

“In our view, the Lieutenant Governor in Council has jurisdiction to order a referendum on the issue of policing in Surrey,” the law firm told her. “The issue of policing is a ‘matter of public interest or concern.’” Locke was also advised that if the Lieutenant Governor in Council considers an expression of public opinion to be desirable on the issue, “its decision to hold a referendum is lawful.”

“The fact that steps have already been taken to establish the Surrey Police Board and Surrey Police Service would not, without more, establish bad faith or improper purpose. Thus, these circumstances would not make a decision to hold a referendum unlawful, or vulnerable to being overturned by the courts.”

ARVAY FINLAY LLP also advised Locke there is “no reason why” city council cannot ask the province to order a referendum. “We are not aware of any provision in the Community Charter, Local Government Act, or the Surrey City By-laws that would prevent such a request.”

As for her question whether her motion was out of order, the law firm responded that “Given that the province has jurisdiction to hold a referendum, and the city may properly request that the province do so, our opinion is that the motion was within council’s jurisdiction to decide, and did not otherwise violate rules of procedure. Thus, in our view, the motion was not out of order.”

McCallum said Thursday he “can’t talk about this. It was in-camera so I’m not going to talk about it.

“The legal opinion is,” he rejoined. “From our lawyers, and that’s privileged information.”

During an open council meeting on April 26 McCallum deemed Locke’s referendum motion out of order. She challenged his ruling but the Safe Surrey Coalition defeated her challenge on a five-to-four vote.

“The legal opinion is, I cannot read it out because it’s privileged and confidential, but I am going to rule her motion for a request for a provincially directed referendum regarding Surrey police services out of order based on that legal opinion that I got back,” McCallum said in open council on April 26.

On Thursday, McCallum told the Now-Leader, “This is out of bounds, even from the press. We have privileged legal opinion from our lawyers on it and that’s it.”

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

City of Surreymunicipal politicsPolice

Just Posted

A Grade 8 class at L.A. Matheson Secondary. March 2021. (Photo: Lauren Collins)
B.C.’s return-to-school plan good, but Surrey teachers hope there is room for adjustments

Surrey school district to receive $1.76M of the $25.6M provincial pandemic-related funding

Surrey Fire Service battled a dock fire along the Fraser River late Friday night (June 18). It was on Musqueam Drive, near Industrial Road, around 10:45 p.m. (Photo: Shane MacKichan)
Fire engulfs pier on Surrey side of the Fraser River

Pier has reportedly been unused for a long time

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

Emily Steele holds up a collage of her son, 16-year-old Elijah-Iain Beauregard who was stabbed and killed in June 2019, outside of Kelowna Law Courts on June 18. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
Kelowna woman who fatally stabbed teen facing up to 1.5 years of jail time

Her jail sentence would be followed by an additional one to 1.5 years of supervision

Cpl. Scott MacLeod and Police Service Dog Jago. Jago was killed in the line of duty on Thursday, June 17. (RCMP)
Abbotsford police, RCMP grieve 4-year-old service dog killed in line of duty

Jago killed by armed suspect during ‘high-risk’ incident in Alberta

The George Road wildfire near Lytton, B.C., has grown to 250 hectares. (BC Wildfire Service)
B.C. drone sighting halts helicopters fighting 250 hectares of wildfire

‘If a drone collides with firefighting aircraft the consequences could be deadly,’ says BC Wildfire Service

A dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is pictured at a vaccination site in Vancouver Thursday, March 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
NACI advice to mix vaccines gets varied reaction from AstraZeneca double-dosers

NACI recommends an mRNA vaccine for all Canadians receiving a second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine

A aerial view shows the debris going into Quesnel Lake caused by a tailings pond breach near the town of Likely, B.C., Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Updated tailings code after Mount Polley an improvement: B.C. mines auditor

British Columbia’s chief auditor of mines has found changes to the province’s requirements for tailings storage facilities

A North Vancouver man was arrested Friday and three police officers were injured after a 10-person broke out at English Bay on June 19, 2021. (Youtube/Screen grab)
Man arrested, 3 police injured during 10-person brawl at Vancouver beach

The arrest was captured on video by bystanders, many of whom heckled the officers as they struggled with the handcuffed man

Kalyn Head, seen here on June 4, 2021, will be running 100 kilometres for her “birthday marathon” fundraiser on July 23. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Woman’s 100-km birthday marathon from Chilliwack to Abbotsford will benefit Special Olympics B.C.

Kalyn Head hopes run raises awareness, advocates for inclusion of people with intellectual disabilities

Most Read