Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum. (Now-Leader file photo)

Surrey mayor says he’s ‘only a messenger of the people’

Doug McCallum explains why he excluded some councillors from a new policing committee

Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum’s exclusion of councillors who aren’t with his Safe Surrey Coalition from serving on a committee dedicated to the city’s yet-to-be-approved policing transition plan demonstrates that he doesn’t care about anyone’s opinion but his own.

That’s the charge Councillor Linda Annis, one of the four councillors shut out of this new Interim Police Transitory Advisory Committee, levelled against the mayor Tuesday.

“Doug McCallum has stopped listening to anyone who thinks differently, and that’s not good for our city,” Annis charged.

But McCallum insists it’s not as petty as all that.

“I look at myself as only a messenger of the people of Surrey, what they want,” he told the Now-Leader on Wednesday afternoon.

“That’s how I’ve always felt in politics, and so I listen to what the public wants, and they want their own police force.

“I never act on my own at all,” McCallum added. “The fact remains that the majority of council is the ones that make the decisions, and it doesn’t matter who’s in that majority, but a majority like five out of nine is what makes every city operate, it’s not one person. I’ve said this many times – one person can’t make decisions or anything unless the majority of council agree.”

READ ALSO OUR VIEW: Committee’s exclusions a waste of Surrey public safety expertise

Since taking office eight months ago, three former SSC councillors have jumped ship from McCallum’s crew. One of them, Councillor Brenda Locke, described the current situation on Surrey council as “constantly a one-man show.”

On Monday, McCallum appointed remaining SSC councillors Doug Elford, Allison Patton, Laurie Guerra and Mandeep Nagra to the new committee. Previously, all members of council sat on the Public Safety Committee, which the mayor dissolved on July 15 to replace with this one.

Independents Locke, Jack Hundial and Steven Pettigrew, like lone Surrey First Councillor Annis, were not invited to the table.

McCallum explained why he didn’t choose Annis – executive director of Crime Stoppers since 2004 – or Hundial, who served for 25 years as a police officer, to sit on the committee.

homelessphoto

Councillor Jack Hundial

“Well, both of them have spoken against our police force and they constantly speak against it, and we can’t have on any committee, it doesn’t matter what you have, to put somebody on that’s completely against what the committee is doing. It doesn’t work,” McCallum said. “When you’re developing something new, you have to at least have people, outside of councillor Annis, the rest of the people on council all campaigned, and promised to the Safe Surrey Coalition, that they would support, if elected, support our police and a couple of them have turned completely not supporting it.”

Who?

“Councillor Hundial is one,” he replied, “and councillor Locke has also indicated she is not happy with the way it is going, so they’ve been very outspoken about it, and so what we need is people on the committee, because we need to get a lot of decisions made once we get the green light, we need people on there that are positive, and also we need people on there that actually campaigned in the public on their number one platform, which is the number one issue that the public want to see, is their new police force.

“It makes complete sense, on any type of committee, to have those people that have carried the message from the residents who want their own police force, to be part of that committee.”

McCallum says the new policing transition committee will be in place for three to six months, “to support the policing transition process leading up to the establishment of the police board.”

The City of Surrey sent its 189-page Policing Transition Report to the provincial government for review on June 3, but there has been no word of it being approved.

Meantime, Annis maintains shutting down the Public Safety Committee was a “poor decision because that committee includes every councillor and deals with so much more than just policing.

homelessphoto

Councillor Linda Annis

“But more than anything, this latest decision is a sad commentary on the state of our city hall and the Mayor’s office,” she said.

“Dissenting or different opinions are no longer welcome, and by only including his remaining Safe Surrey councillors on his advisory committee the mayor is guaranteed to hear exactly what he wants to hear. But, it’s out-of-touch with our community and taxpayers and that has to concern our community.

“We can expect to feel their grip on power tighten even more,” she said of the Safe Surrey Coalition. “I think we’re going to see more of this sort of isolated and intolerant behaviour, and that has to raise red flags for all of us in Surrey.”

Hundial told the Now-Leader he had emailed the mayor asking to be on the new IPTAC committee.

“He didn’t get back to me on that.”

Despite the mayor’s decision, Hundial said, “I’m going to keep advocating for the community, for the people that elected me and put me here. I’m certainly going to be outspoken, not a critic, but certainly highlighting gaps in the policing transition.”

“You can block my comments out in chambers,” he said, “but you can’t block out comments from (Public Safety) Minister Farnworth.”

Locke said it should be “a concern to everyone” that Hundial was not appointed to the new committee, “because he has more experience” in policing matters “than all of them put together.”

– With files by Amy Reid



tom.zytaruk@surreynowleader.com

Like us on Facebook Follow us on Instagram and follow Tom on Twitter

Just Posted

Sikh millworker lodges human rights complaint against Interfor, again

Mander Sohal, fired from Delta’s Acorn Mill, alleges discrimination based on religion and disability

Guilty plea in Lower Mainland break-and-enter spree

Gordon Vincent Gladstone, 42, was charged with 12 counts relating to a dozen incidents in late 2018

Developer offers free Tesla 3 with purchase of South Surrey townhome

Century Group’s offer for Viridian development runs through Oct. 31

Police looking for missing teen last seen at Surrey Central bus loop

Surrey RCMP say Daniel Froehlich has been missing since 10 p.m. on Sept. 10

Pedestrian struck and killed by vehicle in Surrey

Investigators were asking anyone who witnessed the incident to come forward

VIDEO: Liberals make child care pledge, Greens unveil platform on Day 6 of campaign

Green party leader Elizabeth May unveils her party’s platform in Toronto

Vancouver police officer hit with bear spray mid-arrest

Officer had been trying to arrest a woman wanted province-wide

B.C. ends ‘birth alerts’ in child welfare cases

‘Social service workers will no longer share information about expectant parents without consent’

U.S. student, killed in Bamfield bus crash, remembered as ‘kind, intelligent, talented’

John Geerdes, 18, was one of two UVic students killed in the crash on Friday night

B.C. communities urged to improve access for disabled people

One in four B.C. residents has disability, most want to work

UVic students killed in Bamfield bus crash were from Winnipeg, Iowa City

Authorities said the two victims were a man and a woman, both aged 18

Safety concerns resurface after fatal bus crash on Vancouver Island

Huu-ay-aht First Nations wants a safe route between Bamfield and Port Alberni

National weather forecasters predict average fall, cold winter

The Weather Network says precipitation will about average in most parts of Canada

Two dead, two in critical condition in highway crash near Campbell River

Highway 19 reopened Sunday night after it was closed in both directions

Most Read