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Surrey Mayor Dianne Watts apologizes for liking Facebook post calling Rasode coward


SURREY — Surrey Mayor Dianne Watts says it was an accident that she liked four posts on Facebook that slammed Coun. Barinder Rasode, including one that called her a "coward."

This comes less than a week after Rasode said publicly that Surrey hasn't done enough in Newton, where 53-year-old hockey mom Julie Paskall died after being brutally beaten while picking up her son after a game at the local arena.

"I agree with people who say that our strategy isn't working. We need to do something right away. The time for talk is over," Rasode told the Now.

On his Facebook account over the weekend, blogger Alex Tsakumis wrote: "I cannot believe that no one has taken either (Laila) Yuile or Rasode to task for what they have done. Paskall's body hadn't hit to morgue (sic) yet and there's Rasode in front of a camera saying that Surrey 'hasn't done enough!'"

Yuile is a local blogger who has been calling on the city to take action following the attack.

Tsakumis went on to write that most of Surrey council has taken the "dignified" route, except Rasode who he says "is out trying to score political points on lies."

He calls Rasode's behaviour "disgusting" and "shameless" and calls her a "coward."

Watts said Monday she unknowingly "liked" these Facebook comments.

Watts sent the Now the email she sent to all of Surrey council. She wrote: "It has come to my attention that for some reason it showed that I 'liked' comments that Alex Tsakumis (sic). Please know that this was not done intentionally. I read it last evening and I immediately contacted Alex and told him to take it down. I will forward all of you that message. It is inappropriate and I will not support or condone those comments made towards any member of Council.

"From what I gather when reading it on my Ipad (sic) if I tap it twice it automatically likes it. I am so sorry. My daughter brought it to my attention and I had assumed it was rectified.

"If this has caused you any distress, I sincerely apologize. I will also post on Alex facebook (sic) page as well. Again I apologize."

Rasode confirmed Monday the mayor emailed her saying it was a mistake.

"I would like to say that social media has elevated the involvement and discussion on issues. It is so positive that everyone's voice can be heard. You don't need a title or a press release to engage in directing the shape our community takes," she said.

"It is however unfortunate that in very rare extreme circumstances, those who choose to serve are treated with such disrespect and without a filter that determines what the facts actually are."