Surrey council denied a request Monday evening from Surrey RCMP supporter Ivan Scott to appear before them as a delegation.
Scott, a South Surrey resident whose son is a member of Surrey RCMP, requested an opportunity to speak to council and provide information collected through his Keep the RCMP in Surrey campaign. Scott is the organizer of a petition that has been signed by about 8,000 residents.
Councillors who voted against giving Scott an opportunity to speak include Couns. Doug Elford, Laurie Guerra, Mandeep Nagra, Allison Patton and Mayor Doug McCallum, who are all part of the Safe Surrey Coalition.
The motion was defeated without discussion by council.
Elford, Nagra, Patton and McCallum have yet to respond to a Peace Arch News request for comment made Wednesday morning. However, Guerra said there are a number of reasons why she voted against hearing a 10-minute delegation from Scott.
Guerra said the Surrey Police force was one of the three pillars the Surrey Safe Coalition campaigned on and that, out of fairness, it would have been beneficial to have a secondary delegation that ran in contrast to Scott’s delegation.
“Another thing, he has sent me, personally, 23 emails. He has been very condescending in those emails. He has named-called our mayor. He has said that if we don’t keep the RCMP that we’re going to be voted out of the next election,” Guerra said.
“He said that the only reason this mayor wanted a local police board is so that it could be filled with – and this is his words – cronies and henchmen.”
Scott passionately refuted Guerra’s claim.
“I can absolutely deny every single personal thing that she’s said regarding me sending her emails, et cetra. You can offer the opportunity to redact that, because that’s a ridiculous statement and if she doesn’t redact that, then I want her to produce every single one of those (emails) either to me or you, so you can see what’s going on,” Scott said.
Guerra forwarded Peace Arch News 23 emails she received from Scott. The messages were sent to all members of council, newspaper editors, and provincial politicians. However, none of the emails was specifically addressed to Guerra.
Guerra said the “icing on the cake” was Scott’s behaviour at the Canada Day festivities at the Bill Reid Millennium Amphitheatre in Cloverdale.
Scott, who said his request to set up a petition booth at Surrey’s annual Canada Day event was denied by the city, went to the event anyway and collected 2,655 signatures with his team.
His formal application to attend the event was denied because event organizers don’t allow political groups to set up booths.
“We decided to go anyway,” Scott told PAN last week. “We got there and they refused me entry. They said no, we can’t come in because we’re carrying signs.”
Scott said that he, along with his group, “just walked in,” and “they didn’t do anything to stop me.”
Guerra said that she spoke with the event’s security team, who told her that they asked Scott to leave, and they had a place set up for him outside the event so he could collect petition signatures.
“But when you’re told no, and you just want to cause trouble, it wouldn’t have looked very good… if they would have had the RCMP forcefully remove them from an event. (It) wouldn’t have looked good for anybody,” Guerra said.
Guerra says she puts a high value on hearing views opposing her own, and that she’s chairing a civic task force on public engagement.
She said one of her goals is for City of Surrey staff to not be afraid of the “prickly people.”
“The one’s that might not know how to engage properly or respectfully. But I want to be able to get beyond all of that and hear the message. I want to be able to address that,” Guerra said.
“But when there’s no reasoning with people, I just wonder how beneficial it is to have these kinds of things come forward.”
Scott said the intention of the delegation wasn’t to get into a debate about the Surrey Police force, but rather to answer any questions Surrey councillors may have.
“I was astounded because it’s not normal, probably unprecedented, that this would occur,” Scott said, adding that his delegation request was “innocuous.”
“Give somebody a chance. What’s the downside of talking to us? Just open the door to us and say, ‘OK, we’ll hear you,’” Scott said. “I wasn’t expecting any more than that. I wasn’t expecting them to pull the whole police thing because I was there.”
Scott said anyone interested in signing his petition can contact him directly at 778-229-5108 or firstname.lastname@example.org