Meet the candidates: Surrey council

We asked each civic election candidate in our readership area – Surrey, White Rock and Delta – to submit a written response to one question, in 100 words or less: Why should people vote for you?

Their responses, unedited except for length, are published in our Civic Election tab. Below, Surrey’s council candidates respond:

Merv Bayda (One Surrey)

My name is Merv Bayda and I am asking for the privilege to serve as your city councillor. I am proud to be part of Barinder Rasode’s One Surrey Team.

We have a proven plan in place to make Surrey one of the safest cities in Canada. Only 13 per cent of the people in Surrey feel safe. 

Recently released statistics indicate that crime is on the rise. This is not what other politicians are telling you. 

When you do not feel safe, nothing else matters.

It is time for change at city hall and the One Surrey Team has the answer.

Kal Dosanjh (One Surrey)

I believe that the power to vote is a power to institute change.

My occupation as a law enforcement officer over the course of 15 years allowed me to connect with youth.

I embraced my social responsibility of serving our community by developing and running hundreds of youth empowerment programs. 

It was a call of duty which took me into law enforcement, but its a call of passion which takes me to the steps of City Hall.

With one voice we must tackle the social issues of crime, poverty and homelessness. 

I will lead with integrity, honor, and compassion.

Darlene Bowyer (One Surrey)

The number one issue in this election is poor governance that has allowed crime to be rampant in our communities. We need to remedy that situation.

I have served on many community based committees, and have operated a business in Surrey for over 35 years, and I am hearing loud and clear from residents that we need to stop the revolving door of justice.

Residents are tired of hearing that their perception of crime is not the reality.

The “One Surrey” Team, is committed to engage with citizens to fully and successfully address the public safety issues in Surrey.

Narima Dela Cruz (One Surrey)

If people agree that we need safer streets, better transit and healthier communities in Surrey – they should vote for me.

I am passionate about these issues as a parent and community volunteer and if elected, I will ensure they receive the highest priority as your City Councillor.

I also commit to ensuring that the voices of our diverse communities are heard and represented. 

In this way, all residents are able to contribute fully in helping to make Surrey an even better place.

For more info on my campaign, visit; for more details on my slate One Surrey, visit

Michael Bose (One Surrey)

I want to improve safety for the citizens of Surrey and develop an achievable crime reduction strategy which includes greater police presence on the streets, and a community court.

We also need a comprehensive transportation plan to connect the town centres.

I want to focus on our natural environment and use this resource as an opportunity to encourage investment and job creation.

I want to balance our residential growth with commercial and industrial growth, and bring jobs to Surrey.

I’ll strengthen efforts to protect farm land, and develop a value added sector in agriculture to encourage growth in farming and provide high quality food products. 

The One Surrey team will bring about the change our city needs.

Maz Artang (One Surrey)

I was born and raised in Surrey. My background is diversified, having worked both in the political field and in the private sector at the executive level.

Currently, I oversee a multi-million dollar venture with staff of approximately 50 people.

I have the experience of making tough business decisions, meeting payrolls, managing labour needs, controlling capital costs, and meeting financial targets.

I’m confident these skills will aid me in cutting costs, reducing red-tape, and streamlining the delivery of services at City Hall.

As Surrey continues to grow and develop our residents concerns need to be addressed.

I look forward to being a voice for the people of Surrey.

Brian Young (One Surrey)

Public safety is of paramount importance to residents and business alike – without this we don’t have a successful City.

Transparency needs to occur in all aspects of our City! As Block Watch Captain, I was not informed that property crime nearly doubled until after the quarter had finished.

Public safety should be public information, not reserved for the privileged. 

I believe that all City Centres should be treated equally with the list of amenities and projects driven by the community, not dictated by the City.

OneSurrey was created to give you a voice, please use it on Nov. 15.

Rick Scorsese

As a Surrey resident and a small business developer, I am passionate about fueling small business owners and entrepreneurs with tax incentives, educational tools and City support.

Further, as a professional having worked in Hospitality, Utilities and Transportation, I will bring my 15+ years of education and experience in to the City Hall making transportation efficiency, crime reduction and entrepreneurship top priorities.

In addition, I will replace the ineffective Police Committee with a much more practical, unified system with free information flow that will include your neighbourhood participation in reducing crime. 

Stephen Gammer (TeamSurrey)

I am a life long Surrey resident having graduated from Lord Tweedsmuir. 

I am passionate about our city, its people and our future. After over a decade of one party rule we want to see balance, safety, and simplicity returned to city hall.

We want to restore the process of decision making to the people of Surrey instead of for friends and insiders.  

Team Surrey will be there to ask the tough questions, hold people’s feet to the fire and help restore people’s faith in our city hall.

On Nov. 15 please Save 2 Votes for TeamSurrey

Brenda Locke (TeamSurrey)

We love Surrey – my family has lived here for more than 35 years.

We have seen tremendous growth in our City, but infrastructure has not kept pace with that growth.

Transportation, social services, recreational services and especially policing and public safety need serious and immediate attention.

We can and must do better. For more than a decade, Council has been dominated by one-party rule.

That is not good for Surrey and our infrastructure deficits are a result.

I have experience as a former MLA, Minister and businesswoman.

TeamSurrey will ask the tough questions and bring balance to council.

Jim McMurtry

I am opposed to a council hand-picked in the mayor’s living room, a $395,412 salary for a city manager, a “white elephant” city hall that was part of municipal expenses rising 16 per cent last year, Richard Branson getting $420,000 at Surrey’s Regional Economic Summit, the mayor making $150,000 of which one-third is tax-free, a million in uncapped contributions to Surrey First at election time, and free trips for politicians to England, India, China, Colombia, Italy and Puerto Rico.

If the Surrey circus is to remain the same each year, at least the clowns should change.

Fight repeat offenders – don’t re-elect them

Gary Hoffman

My name is Gary Hoffman. I have lived in Surrey for many years.

I have worked for Government and in a small business environment.

I believe that Surrey can continue to grow and become a better place.

We need responsible growth that will also incorporate the expansion of our infrastructure.

I recognize vital issues such as roads and transit need to be addressed, but I believe that it is essential to maintain effective, efficient government, without program cuts, unnecessary tax increases, or fees.

I believe in spending our tax dollars responsibly, and doing this job with honesty, integrity, and accountability.

Rina Gill (Safe Surrey Coalition)

I am an entrepreneur who is very passionate about Surrey and all of the potential it has to offer residents.

This belief is something that I bring to volunteering my time with a range of organizations working to contribute positively to the broader community.

I am running for City Council with the Safe Surrey Coalition because crime, irresponsible use of taxpayers’ money and political aspirations are getting in the way of good government that is about the people.

I am fighting for public safety to be the number one priority at City Hall and for immediate action to be taken.

Beau Simpson (Safe Surrey Coalition)

As an award-winning journalist in Surrey for the past seven years, I understand the challenges we face during this important time in our history.

That’s why I chose to put my career as editor on hold to run for council.

For far too long, I have watched our communities buckle under immense pressures that an out-of-touch city hall has placed them under.

Citizens want safer communities, better transit, a ward system and a fiscally responsible government, one that doesn’t waste $150M on a new city hall.

More than anything, they want strong leaders who will restore public confidence in Surrey.

Please vote for Beau Simpson and the Safe Surrey Coalition.

Justin Thind (Safe Surrey Coalition)

My family and I have lived in many neighbourhoods across Surrey.

One of the most surprising things that I have seen is the way that City Hall currently favours certain areas over others.

This is completely wrong, as every resident has the same right to good services and elected officials who listen to their concerns.

The Safe Surrey Coalition is about bringing back simple government.

On public safety, we need immediate leadership, focus and action.

Politics can be very self serving. I am motivated differently, and am running to truly give back to a city that l love.

Laurie Guerra (Safe Surrey Coalition)

I am a mother of five children, and I am proud to say that I have raised my family in the wonderful City of Surrey.

However, becoming a Block Watch captain in my neighbourhood of Fleetwood really awakened me to the problems of crime that all residents encounter, and the gaps that exist in maintaining public safety.

I have joined the Safe Surrey Coalition because I believe in public service, particularly when it comes to our community.

It is time to get away from politics by bringing commitment, dedication and most importantly action back to City Hall.

Shawn Francis

Heavy Duty Mechanic. 3 top Issues: 1. Crime reduction 2. Increased public safety 3. More transportation services.

First, I would increase the number of police officers to comparable levels to our neighbouring municipalities.

Second, I would examine and implement strategies for crime prevention. Like expanding community watch programs, after school outreach programs, and forcing the demolition of derelict and abandoned properties.

Third, I would work towards crime reduction, by cooperating with our community partners to reduce poverty in our most vulnerable neighbourhoods.

And finally, transportation is the cornerstone to a healthy and vibrant community.

Judy Villeneuve (Incumbent, Surrey First)

I care about making Surrey a welcoming, safe and inclusive city that is the best place to find a home, access a good education and nurture a family and build a business.

I believe in protecting our environment and vulnerable residents, and I feel that with Surrey First I can advocate for those priorities.

A resident of Surrey for 44 years and Surrey’s longest serving Councillor first elected 25 years ago, I serve as Chair of the Social Policy Committee, the Public Art Advisory Committee and Metro Regional Culture Committee where I strive to expand art and cultural appreciation.

Tom Gill (Incumbent, Surrey First)

I believe that candidates have a primary responsibility to respect taxpayers by holding the line on tax increases and investing tax dollars wisely.

As a Chartered Professional Accountant, and an Elected Councillor since 2005, I am proud of the high standard that is set by council, while ensuring that Property taxes remain low and maintain the lowest per capita spending in the Lower Mainland.

First elected in 2005 and the current Finance Chair, I am a founding Director of the Surrey Homelessness and Housing Society, a Director of the Healthcare Benefit Trust, and CFO for Coast Mental Health.

Bruce Hayne (Incumbent, Surrey First)

As a member of Council since 2011, I have been involved in many of the changes that you see in Surrey today.

I want to see Surrey’s economy continue to grow through private investment and a climate that promotes innovation.

I believe our City has achieved so much over the last 10 years under the leadership of Mayor Watts and I know that there’s still more to do.

An entrepreneur and Surrey resident since 1993, I was elected in 2012 and serve as Chair of the Environmental Sustainability Advisory Committee and as Chair of the innovation and Investment Committee.

Barbara Steele (Incumbent, Surrey First)

Surrey First has delivered strong, effective and cohesive leadership which I want to see continue. 

I’ll work hard to ensure we make Surrey a city where citizens of all ages have a safe, high quality of life. 

As a City we are respected and I will work hard to keep this image of Surrey alive.

A Surrey resident for 32 years and a Councillor since 1998, I am past President of the Union of BC Municipalities and currently represent Surrey at the Metro Vancouver Board.

I serve on the boards of the Pacific Parklands Foundation and the Fraser Basin Council.

Mary Martin (Incumbent, Surrey First)

A resident of this City for the past 25 years, I feel blessed to live in such a dynamic city and as a Councillor I am honoured to serve its residents. 

With a career in the healthcare industry, I bring a passion and understanding of the importance of health to a high quality of life for all.

A Surrey resident for nearly 25 years and a Councillor since 2005, I serve as the Diversity and Inclusivity Advisory Committee Chair, Chair of the Community Health Programs Committee and on numerous boards including Surrey Memorial Hospital Foundation and Centre for Child Development.

Vera LeFranc (Surrey First)

I’ve had a passion for community service since I was young, and I believe that I can make a difference in government to help create a safe, inclusive and sustainable community here in Surrey.

As a manager with Canada’s largest credit union, I bring business discipline with a social conscience for a balance problem solving approach.

A Surrey resident since 1998, I’ve provided leadership in developing the Surrey Homelessness and Housing Society where I’ve worked with the board and foundation.

I helped develop the Surrey Poverty Reduction Strategy in cooperation with the Poverty Reduction Coalition.

Mike Starchuk (Surrey First)

A resident of Surrey for over 50 years, I have an immense passion for the City of Surrey.

My goal is to help build and maintain a city that is safe, clean, and affordable and those people that choose to live, play and work in the city are kept safe.

I had the honour of serving with the Surrey Fire Department for 32 years, retiring in 2014 as Chief Fire Prevention Officer.

I was a founding member of the Surrey Fire Fighters Charitable Society and was awarded the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2013.

Dave Woods (Surrey First)

I want to contribute to shaping a vibrant, liveable, safe City of Surrey.

A city with a flourishing business environment creates jobs and supports city services which benefit all city citizens.

I have experience with working with people from all sectors to find a cooperative solution to today’s problems.

A resident of Surrey since 1986, I’ve served with the RCMP for 43 years, including 8 years as District Commander for Cloverdale-Port Kells.

I’m the Vice-Chair of the Options Community Services Society Board and was named the Police Officer of the Year in 2006.

Touraj Ghanbar-Zadeh

Founded Nejat Church Ministry and owner of All Nursing Health Services. My Plan; No taxes increase for home owners 65 and older for 3 years.

No salary increases for Mayor and Councilors for 3 years. Enhanced gang task force.

Invest in children by eliminating recent cuts to sports and leisure programs.

NBA (basketball) for Surrey. Smart for economy, brings American to Surrey and create jobs.

Athletes are excellent role model for youth and children.

No to gambling initiatives. Deal with root cause of crime such as homelessness, lack of access to basic services and employment. Immediate action on rapid public transit. Secured bike lanes.

Nav Dhanoya

My Vision for Surrey. I am a Bylaw officer by profession.

I support hiring RCMP officers, and Community Safety officers for crime reduction in Surrey.

Better Translink services and reducing Bridge tolls for Surrey residents and businesses. A New Surrey Convention Centre to promote business and trade shows in Surrey.

New Recreation Centres and Libraries in the City. A UBC Science Campus in Surrey for medicine, engineering, research and pharmacy students.

Streamline business and development applications approvals within 45 days of applying.

Cost reduction for Community events i.e. Vaisakhi Parade, Cloverdale Rodeo, etc… Support for Mental health, and homeless shelters in the city.

Vote for me on Election Day to make a difference.

Cliff Blair

I am an effective communicator, negotiator and leader with a background in Commercial credit, Real Estate sales and development, Federal and Provincial politics and community volunteerism.

I am able to recognize and direct the talents and strengths of others, fulfilling the needs of the organizations I work with.

I have a history of making sound business decisions. I will work full time, tirelessly focusing on helping Surrey grow while ensuring the social wellness of all Surrey residents.

I am committed to making our future prosperous and safe.

Linda and I have made Surrey our home for over 40 years.

Obi Canuel

Dear Surrey: If any of you struggle to pay the rent, or live paycheck to paycheck, or wait for the bus to take you to work, then you have no representatives on council.

Your mayor made more than $130,000 last year, and these folks are supposed to represent you and your interests.

Instead, wealthy land developers donated $676,283 to their campaign in 2011.

I’m only here to point out the problem.

Do not vote for me, because I will do nothing but donate 2/3rds of my bloated salary to charity.

Although it can’t get any worse, so why not?

James Duncan

My name is James Duncan and I am running for Surrey Council as an independent.

I have worked as a construction contractor and job-site security for many years.

I would like to change transit fines.

Also, health care can be improved. Thank you.

Martin Rooney

I will be an independent voice on behalf of us all advocating for a safer city – “Connect the Dots” – Bylaw enforcement including a more effective policing policy. Better transit options, (that connect our town centers), to serve our current and future needs.

Engage youth, protect our seniors, affordable housing in both the rental, and purchase markets.

Shelters open year round that offer resources.

Sustainable growth that protects our parks, farmland, streams and rivers.

My goal is to be our representative that unites OUR city to once again be Surrey Proud. Twitter @MR1_

Rita Elvins

I work for Vancouver Coastal Health.

My intentions if elected for Councillor is to change 1) Ward system 2) Independent police force 3) Transparency 

My intentions if elected for Councillor is to change some of the antiquated policies, that surrey has operated on for far too long.

I would like to bring more accountability in where our elected officials represent all areas of surrey and not just the interests of one area.

I believe decisions should be made public and accessible for every member of our community.

I believe the city of surrey should have its own dedicated police force, independent of the RCMP. 

I’m passionate for young families and their economic future and kindly ask for your support to take this challenge to bring in new ideas to the City Hall.

I look forward to share our ideas with the voters of surrey and work hard to win this campaign.

Saira Aujla

People should vote for me because, it’s time to take control of our beautiful city.

We need to make low income housing a top priorty.

We need to stop spending money on wants, we need to focus on our city’s needs.

Petty crimes are going to escalate.

Truck parking needs to be rezoned. 

Vote Saira Aujla for City Councillor. 

Note: Surrey council candidates Tanvir Bhupal and Fiona Dionne did not submit responses to the Now.

To read about Surrey’s mayoral candidates click here.

To read about Surrey’s school board candidates click here.

There are 52 voting locations across Surrey on Nov. 15, open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Visit for a list of locations.

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