Surrey’s Richard Landale has taken public engagement to a whole new level, ironically, concerning public engagement in this city.
A vast number of Surrey residents have voiced strong opinions about city hall’s plan to swap out the RCMP for a homegrown police force, and how it has handled public consultation so far in the process. But not everybody produces a slick-looking 14-page treatise on the topic, like Landale has.
The 71-year old Fleetwood resident was employed as a senior electrical design draughtsman in the oil and natural gas industry before he retired in 2004. He has a wife, three daughters, six grandchildren and two great grandchildren. He says he worked in a profession where attention to detail was a “key prerequisite” and he continues draw on those skills as the need arises.
“Transparency is my Mantra,” Landale declares at the end of his report, entitled “Qualitative Review of the Policing Transition Citizen Engagement Survey,” in which he subjects related city documents to microscopic examination.
Landale wants Wally Oppal to review it and then forward it to Solicitor General Mike Farnworth “for his review, deliberations and assistance.”
“It would be lovely if he would.”
The Fleetwood resident dismisses as “unsubstantiated garbage” City of Surrey corporate report CR2019-R164 on the proposed policing transition and its accompanying Final Policing Transition Citizen Engagement Strategy Report.
“Whether Mr. Oppal agrees with the contents or not, the City of Surrey’s undertaking to 23 Consultation Events and the resulting lack of data transparency is highly questionable, and does not reflect the majority of 570,000 citizens living in the City of Surrey,” Landale concludes.
Landale told the Now-Leader that nobody paid him to do his report. “All my work for the last few years is entirely voluntary,” he said.
He said it took 60 hours to produce. Why’d he do it?
“It’s very simple – my work experience is all about detail, and I’ve never believed the mayor saying 93 per cent supported him in having a Surrey police department,” Landale said. “And when the so-called full disclosure report was released on Dec. 23rd, I went at it. It’s just as simple as that. I stand behind every single number I reproduce and behind the Excel spreadsheets and the graphs.”
The former B.C. Supreme Court judge and attorney general is in charge of overseeing the plan. Oppal told the Now-Leader on Dec. 23 that it will take him roughly a month to review the report from the joint provincial government-City of Surrey committee on the proposed transition, “to see if it passes muster.”
He has now finished his review of that report and has sent it on to Brenda Butterworth-Carr, B.C.’s director of police services, for further consideration.
Oppal told the Now-Leader on Wednesday that he would be happy to read Landale’s report, with the caveat that it’s not really in his mandate to deal with citizen engagement.
“You know, I spend over an hour a day just fielding calls from people from Surrey, not to mention the number of emails that I get,” he said. “But I take the time to read it, it’s my job to do that. You know this idea of citizen engagement and all that, I just can’t, it’s not a part of my mandate. I respect the people in Surrey who have taken an interest in this issue, and that’a really good that there’s this much public interest but our starting point is that the Province has given the city the green light to go ahead. But before you can take the next step, they need to have information, they need to have evidence that would justify Surrey having its own police force.
“I can’t go behind the decision of city council,” Oppal said, but added, “You know, I read the material and if the guy wants to send it to me I’d be more than pleased to read it. I just want the people of Surrey to know that everything they’ve sent to me, I read.”
Oliver Lum, the City of Surrey’s communications manager, said Mayor Doug McCallum “will not be commenting” on Landale’s report or a related press release that was issued by Surrey Connect on Wednesday.
McCallum’s one-time Safe Surrey Coalition running mates and now rivals Jack Hundial and Brenda Locke, city councillors who recently formed the Surrey Connect slate, brought Landale’s report to light Wednesday in a press release entitled “Flaws in the City of Surreys Own Consultation Process Revealed by Local Resident.”
“Despite the Mayor trying to force his agenda and direct how this report was conducted, Surrey citizens have risen up and are seeing the folly of this report and consultation process,” Locke states in the press release. “Citizens are demanding the facts and honest engagement in this process. As a former Minister, in the provincial government it is shocking to me that the process to date has been so obviously manipulated. Surrey residents deserve better.”