Rasode’s call for live streaming police committee meetings deemed electioneering

Rasode's call for live streaming police committee meetings deemed electioneering

SURREY — Should the City of Surrey live stream its police committee meetings? And look at holding them in the evenings?

Coun. Barinder Rasode thinks so, but Coun. Bruce Hayne says he smells "electioneering."

During Monday’s police committee meeting at city hall, Rasode presented a motion requesting that future meetings be moved to the evenings, to allow more public to attend, and also suggested live streaming meetings. The motion was not seconded by any other councillors and, thus, not carried.

Rasode said this is the second time she’s made the motion.

"I think one of the things around transparency and accountability, nothing builds trust like having information," Rasode said. "I think because public safety is top of mind, I think they should have an opportunity to view the dialogue that goes on at police committee meetings."

Rasode said she will continue to bring her motion forward.

"When I was removed, as a temporary measure, as chair of the police committee, it was when I was speaking to having more open meetings," Rasode said.

"I think I need to honour what’s being asked of me by the public – the sharing of open information."

President of the Port Kells Community Association Darlene Bowyer was at the police committee meeting Monday, and said she was concerned about Hayne dismissing the request as "electioneering" on Twitter.

"Regardless of the motivation, we feel the request was valid and deserved consideration," Bowyer said.

Hayne said Rasode’s request certainly seems like "electioneering." Rasode has chaired the committee for over five years, he noted, and never brought the request forward.

"Between the two years, 2012 and 2013, there was a total of nine police committee meetings over a span of 24 months, so she’s talking about being removed from the committee (as chair) because she’s calling for transparency and so on, but quite honestly, the mayor removed her from committee for a couple of reasons," Hayne said.

"Number one is that very few meetings were being held over the past number of years, no recommendations were coming out of those meetings and the mayor, as you know, struck a task force in 2013 because of the violent crime stats, particularly the homicide spike in 2013, she struck a multi-agency task force and decided at that point that the police committee would be a necessary piece to take control of, and so she took over as being chair of that," Hayne said.

He insists Rasode wasn’t temporarily removed as chair because "she was screaming from the hilltops about transparency, quite the opposite actually."

But potential electioneering aside, Hayne said if live streaming is going to be looked at for one committee, it should be looked at for all the city’s committees.

"It’s not that it isn’t a valid idea, but if you’re going to do it for the police committee meetings, then you should do it for all committees. If you’re going to do it for all meetings, what is the cost of that? What staff are going to be live streaming them?" he asked, adding, evening meetings would also mean more staff overtime.

"I don’t think there’s in any way a lack of transparency," Hayne said of the police committee.

"So I think calling for that, knowing full well you’re not going to get support for it, is trying to prove a point and I think the timing is rather suspicious."

Rasode recently split from Surrey First to sit as an independent on council. She has said, with Mayor Dianne Watts not running for re-election, she is "strongly" considering running for mayor.

Hayne has also expressed interest in running, along with fellow Surrey First Coun. Linda Hepner.

areid@thenownewspaper.com