Safe Surrey Councilllor Doug Elford looked uncomfortable.
“I really struggled with this,” he told reporters in city chambers after he helped approve the city’s controversial draft budget Monday night.
In a split 5-4 vote, Elford’s vote could have changed it all.
And if he was as uncomfortable facing media as he looked to be after the vote, there might be a good reason for it. Because this budget, aside from delaying capital projects important to many in the community, is also leaving no room for hiring of new RCMP officers in 2019.
Councillor Doug Elford voted in favour of the budget. As an activist he advocated for more boots on the ground. And, he’s a sports guy. So why the vote in favour of delaying capital projects? Here’s what he said. #surreybc pic.twitter.com/O73Q1ugaZL— Surrey Now-Leader (@SurreyNowLeader) December 18, 2018
Here’s the issue.
As a longtime activist prior to be elected, Elford relentlessly spoke out for something to be done about crime in his community of Newton, and Surrey as a whole.
In 2014, on behalf of Newton Community Association, Elford called for more police boots on the ground on the heels of 53-year-old hockey mom Julie Paskall being killed in an attack outside the local hockey arena.
“We’re not going to sit back. We’re not going to take it anymore,” he told us at the time.
Doug Elford during his days as a community advocate. (Photo: Now-Leader file)
Then, in May 2015, Elford demanded to know when 100 new officers were arriving in Surrey after a shooting happened just outside his home.
“This is my yard. I want something done fricken now,” Elford said at the time. “This is enough.”
That’s why his comments Monday night took us by surprise.
Here’s a passionate community activist who spoke out on public safety for years, voting on a budget that will only leave Surrey further behind in its officer-to-population ratio next year.
Very disappointed! Doug always called for more police services in Newton and now he voted against it....🤦🏼♀️— Karen RS (@kreidsidhu) December 18, 2018
Doug Elford was all about community until he got elected. Now it’s all about his own personal political agenda.. whatever that may be.— Jasmine Kaur G (@jgarcha) December 18, 2018
I expected a lot more out of Doug Elford. He's been involved in amateur sports forever and is a strong advocate for preventing gang violence. Now we see his true colours, just a lap dog for Doug McCallum. Brutal.— Mike Wellar (@mikeinthevalley) December 18, 2018
As he told us on Monday night, Elford thinks we should “hold off” on hiring officers until we know what the new municipal police force is going to cost us.
This doesn’t sound like the Elford we know and have been quoting in our newspaper pages and on our website for years.
As an advocate, the Doug Elford we knew would have opposed this budget. Yet Doug Elford, the politician, supported it.
His justification for doing so has us shaking our head, considering his past.