A Surrey city councillor says she would resign if she were a member of the Surrey Police Board as currently chaired by Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum.
“If I was sitting on that board, as a volunteer, on a board, absolutely I would resign,” said Coun. Brenda Locke, mayoral candidate for Surrey Connect heading into the Oct. 15 civic election. “A public mischief charge for lying to the police, when you’re a police board, would be of huge concern to me and I would resign.”
The board’s next meeting is set for Wednesday, June 1. Asked Thursday if any board members have indicated they intend to resign, its executive director Melissa Granum replied “no, that would be rumour.”
Earlier this week Global News reported that according to unnamed sources, McCallum refused to step down from his position on the Surrey Police Board when it asked him to do so after he was charged on Dec. 10, 2021 with one count of public mischief.
McCallum’s trial is set for Oct. 31, two weeks after the Oct. 15 civic election in which he intends to run for a second consecutive term as mayor with Safe Surrey Coalition. A pre-trial conference has been set for Aug. 31 in Surrey provincial court.
He is charged with one count of public mischief contrary to Section 140(2) of the Criminal Code, stemming from an encounter last September between himself and a group that was gathering petition signatures outside the South Point Save-On-Foods store in South Surrey for a referendum on the policing transition. The mayor claimed a car ran over his foot.
On Tuesday (May 24), Locke filed a complaint with the Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner concerning McCallum continuing on as chairman with a criminal charge against him.
“As I understand it the SPS board has asked McCallum to step aside until this is dealt with – that made perfect sense to me and I was glad to hear that they had done that,” Locke said Thursday (May 26).
“It’s not that he didn’t do what they asked him to do, it’s that he should not be sitting as the board chair with a criminal charge against him.
“I haven’t had any feedback,” she said of her complaint. “They said they would look at it.”
Meantime, Coun. Linda Annis, of Surrey First, issued a press release Wednesday (May 25) charging that McCallum “has lost the confidence of the people of Surrey.”
She said the four Safe Surrey Coalition councillors supporting him – Doug Elford, Laurie Guerra, Mandeep Nagra and Allison Patton – need to “take a good look in the mirror and ask themselves why they continue to give Doug McCallum a free pass while they ignore what’s best for our city. Their personal loyalty should be to the city, not the mayor.”
Their “blind support” is the “only thing keeping McCallum in the mayor’s chair,” Annis charged.
To that, Elford replied, “they can choose to have their own opinion.”
“You’re talking about somebody who is obviously opposed to the mayor,” he said, and also “politically motivated.”
“I haven’t heard any policy come out of anybody on the other side,” Elford retorted.
Guerra noted that Annis and Locke have positioned themselves to run against the mayor so neither statement comes as a shock.
“Both individuals have a right to do and say whatever they like, however I hope they have more of a platform to run on rather than just grasping at straws and opposing what the majority on council supports,” Guerra told the Now-Leader on Thursday (May 26).
“I don’t blindly support anything.”