We have to wonder if Saturday’s crowd was slightly disappointed to hear David Suzuki delicately skate around the issue they were so passionately there to rally around: saving Hawthorne Park.
“I don’t know anything about this city and I can’t talk about Hawthorne Park or the other issues,” Suzuki told the hundreds who were there to oppose city plans to build a road through the park.
But what Suzuki did do was talk in general terms about the situation that perhaps got them there in the first place.
“In a democracy, we tell the politicians what we want,” he said. “The problem today is twofold. One is corporations put a lot of money into political campaigns and guess what? Whoever pays the piper calls the tunes.”
Sounds like somebody told him that in 2014, Surrey First spent $1.18 million securing every seat on council. In fact, contributors to the Surrey First campaign that year read like a who’s-who of the development industry, as $902,000 of the campaign war chest was created by corporations.
“For me, get corporate money out of the political process because they call the shots,” Suzuki said.
It seems somebody also let Suzuki know about Surrey’s lack of election engagement.
Of 287,940 eligible voters in 2014, only 101,558 cast a ballot – a 35.3 per cent turnout.
“People don’t care, and they’re allowing city council then to do what they want… I think if you don’t like what’s going on, you got to get more active as citizens.”
Good advice indeed.