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Three of Surrey’s 35 declared civic election candidates live outside the city

‘Surrey left me, I didn’t leave Surrey,’ Surrey First mayoral candidate Gordie Hogg points out
Surrey city hall. (Photo: Anna Burns)

Three of 35 declared candidates seeking a seat on Surrey council live outside of the city.

Surrey First mayoral candidate Gordie Hogg lives in White Rock, as does United Surrey councillor candidate Becky Zhou. Philip Aguirre, who is seeking a seat on council with Surrey Forward, lives in Vancouver.

Coun. Doug Elford, running for re-election with the Safe Surrey Coalition, lives in Newton and says it’s “100 per cent imperative” for a person seeking office to live in the city they’re running in.

READ ALSO: Surrey civic election 2022 gearing up to be ‘mother of all elections’

Jinny Sims, mayoral candidate for Surrey Forward, lives in South Surrey but stays in a hotel in Victoria when her legislative duties as NDP MLA for Surrey-Panorama call her to Vancouver Island. As for candidates running for office in a city they don’t live in, she said, “That’s a decision for each person to make. I do live in Surrey and the decisions made by the council impact on me directly.”

She noted that Aguirre owns the Old Surrey Restaurant in Newton, is executive director of the Newton Business Improvement Association “and pays taxes” here.

“I’ve known him since 2011 and he’s always been ‘Mr. Newton’ to me,” Sims said.

While Zhou lives in White Rock, she also owns rental property in South Surrey and has property in Surrey Central she pays city taxes on. She used to live in Cloverdale, where her husband Colin Hill, also a realtor, was shot dead in July 2015 while trying to protect his family from a midnight burglary. The gunman was sentenced to life in prison with no eligibility to apply for parole for 17 years.

Hogg is the only one of the seven declared mayoral candidates so far to not live in Surrey. Doug McCallum (SSC) lives in Crescent Beach, Brenda Locke (Surrey Connect) lives in Tynehead/Guildford, Sukh Dhaliwal (United Surrey) lives in Panorama, Independent Kuldip Pelia lives in Whalley and Amrit Birring (People’s Council Surrey) lives in Guildford.

Hogg lives a block away from the Surrey/White Rock border and when his family came to live in the City by the Sea, before it seceded from Surrey in 1957, “it was Surrey, and so in many ways I lived in Surrey for the first, I don’t know, 10 or 12 years of my life and then White Rock became independent so actually Surrey left me, I didn’t leave Surrey.”

Hogg has plenty of connections with Surrey, having served with various organizations within the city. He worked as a parole officer in the north end, founded KidSport for Surrey, raised money for charity in Surrey and has been on the board of Options Community Services as well as Sources, which are major service providers in Surrey, to name a few.

“I was talking about issues all across Canada, as a Member of Parliament, and as an MLA, again representing large parts of Surrey through both of those for over 20 years, and being actively involved in the issues of Surrey,” Hogg said. “I was on the transit commission representing Surrey when we brought SkyTrain.”

Typically went by Gordon until people in Victoria started calling him Gordie to differentiate him from former Liberal Premier Gordon Campbell while he served in Campbell’s government.

“They figured I was the only one who could be a Gordie because Gordon Campbell could not be, so that’s how I became Gordie.”

Hogg explained the story of a shirt he wore in the “late ’70s or early 1980s” with the message “White Rock never means having to say you’re Surrey,” which is coming back to haunt him some 40-odd years later.

“The history of that, the big movie of the time was Love Story, and the big line from the movie Love Story was ‘love means never having to say you’re sorry,’ so we had an in-camera meeting with Surrey council so I had this T-shirt printed thinking it would be pretty funny, and I had my sports jacket on and in the in-camera I took it off and they all laughed and thought it was funny, and we were all chuckling away.

“But in those days, back then, in the ’70s and ’80s Surrey was a laughing stock of Metro Vancouver,” he recalled. “The last 15 years, that has changed dramatically. The growth and the change in Surrey, now it is a respected place…. So that T-shirt is old but in was in those days people, wherever you talk to people, they will say ‘Yeah, it was kind of a laughing stock.’”

“Certainly the last 15 years, and the positive developments in Whalley and across the whole city, there’s a whole different flavour, a whole diffferent sense of excitement and opportunity that’s here now that wasn’t there then,” Hogg added.

As for the rest of declared candidates vying for a Surrey councillor’s seat, Surrey First’s Linda Annis lives in South Surrey, Mary-Em Waddington lives in Clayton, Bilal Cheema lives in Chimney Heights, Ajit Mehat lives in South Surrey and Paul Orazietti lives in Fraser Heights. Mike Bose lives in Sullivan Station, and Kulwinder Saini and Sargy Chima live in Whalley.

For the Safe Surrey Coalition, Allison Patton lives in Rosemary Heights West, Mandeep Nagra lives in Panorama Ridge and Laurie Guerra lives in Fleetwood.

Surrey Connect’s Jack Hundial lives in East Newton, Sebastian Sajda lives in Whalley, Pardeep Kooner lives in Cloverdale, Rochelle Prasad lives in West Newton and Ramona Kaptyn lives in South Surrey.

And for United Surrey, Julie Tapley lives in South Surrey, Jasbir Sandhu lives in Sullivan Heights and Jeff Bridge lives in Cloverdale.

Surrey Forward’s Jody Toor lives in Panorama, Arsh Mander lives in Newton, June Liu lives in Guildford, Ramon Bandong lives in Whalley, Theresa Pidcock lives in Cloverdale and Paramjit S. Malhi lives in Cloverdale.

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About the Author: Tom Zytaruk

I write unvarnished opinion columns and unbiased news reports for the Surrey Now-Leader.
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