Surrey City Councillor Brenda Locke and Mayor Doug McCallum. (File photo)

Surrey City Councillor Brenda Locke and Mayor Doug McCallum. (File photo)

Locke prepared to take Surrey mayor to court if policing referendum motion deemed out of order again

Surrey councillor says it’s ‘a possibility, absolutely’ she will seek legal action if mayor reprises his response when she brings her motion back to council on May 31

Surrey city Councillor Brenda Locke says she’s prepared to take Mayor Doug McCallum to court if he once again finds her motion, which called on the city to ask the province to hold a referendum on whether Surrey should be policed by the RCMP or a city-made force, out of order after she re-introduces it at the May 31 council meeting.

Armed with a legal opinion from ARVAY FINLAY LLP that her motion was not out of order, Locke told the Now-Leader on Thursday it’s “a possibility, absolutely” that she will seek legal action if McCallum reprises his response.

“I think the public want to have their say, the public deserve to have their say,” Locke said. “I really think it’s time, once and for all, to put this thing to bed one way or another and right now the referendum is probably the only way. There’s just way too much opposition. It hasn’t slowed down in two years and, if anything, it’s mounting.”

READ ALSO: Widow of Surrey murder victim seeking referendum vote on policing transition

READ ALSO: Watchdog dealing with complaints against Surrey Police despite force not being active

READ ALSO: Surrey councillor trying to get policing referendum on the table, again

READ ALSO: Surrey council gets into row over policing transition as frustration boils over

The legal opinion Locke received from the law firm on May 19 addressed four questions, namely, does the provincial government have jurisdiction to order a referendum on whether the Surrey RCMP should be replaced by the Surrey Police Service, and if so, is its discretion to do so “constrained by any preconditions or other legal limits in these circumstances?”

She also asked if Surrey council can request the Lieutenant Governor in Council to order a referendum “as soon as possible, before additional expenditures are made, on the issue of whether Surrey should continue to be policed by the RCMP, or by the proposed Surrey Police Service,” and lastly, if her motion presented to council was out of order.

“In our view, the Lieutenant Governor in Council has jurisdiction to order a referendum on the issue of policing in Surrey,” the law firm told her. “The issue of policing is a ‘matter of public interest or concern.’” Locke was also advised that if the Lieutenant Governor in Council considers an expression of public opinion to be desirable on the issue, “its decision to hold a referendum is lawful.”

“The fact that steps have already been taken to establish the Surrey Police Board and Surrey Police Service would not, without more, establish bad faith or improper purpose. Thus, these circumstances would not make a decision to hold a referendum unlawful, or vulnerable to being overturned by the courts.”

ARVAY FINLAY LLP also advised Locke there is “no reason why” city council cannot ask the province to order a referendum. “We are not aware of any provision in the Community Charter, Local Government Act, or the Surrey City By-laws that would prevent such a request.”

As for her question whether her motion was out of order, the law firm responded that “Given that the province has jurisdiction to hold a referendum, and the city may properly request that the province do so, our opinion is that the motion was within council’s jurisdiction to decide, and did not otherwise violate rules of procedure. Thus, in our view, the motion was not out of order.”

McCallum said Thursday he “can’t talk about this. It was in-camera so I’m not going to talk about it.

“The legal opinion is,” he rejoined. “From our lawyers, and that’s privileged information.”

During an open council meeting on April 26 McCallum deemed Locke’s referendum motion out of order. She challenged his ruling but the Safe Surrey Coalition defeated her challenge on a five-to-four vote.

“The legal opinion is, I cannot read it out because it’s privileged and confidential, but I am going to rule her motion for a request for a provincially directed referendum regarding Surrey police services out of order based on that legal opinion that I got back,” McCallum said in open council on April 26.

On Thursday, McCallum told the Now-Leader, “This is out of bounds, even from the press. We have privileged legal opinion from our lawyers on it and that’s it.”



tom.zytaruk@surreynowleader.com

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

City of Surreymunicipal politicsPolice

Just Posted

TEASER PHOTO ONLY
‘Stay-at-home mom’ works to raise $25K to help Options build housing in Surrey

Tammy Bourelle boosts ‘Women of Options’ fundraising campaign, which ends June 30

A new DPD team began targeting gang-related activity on May 15, including checking on individuals who must abide by curfews and conditions. (Delta Police Department photo)
15 arressted by Delta Police anti-gang team last week

Police seized a vehicle, debit/credit machine and 250 pre-packaged bags of various drugs June 9-12

Surrey City Hall. (File photo)
Surrey ranks eighth in Top-10 list of cities of the future in the Americas

This is according to the Financial Times’ fDi Magazine, a bi-monthly publication out of London, England with a circulation of 15,488

Kaushal Parikh raised $2,840 for COVID-19 relief in India during his almost nine-hour run around the new North Delta Secondary School track on Sunday, June 13, 2021. (Submitted photo)
North Delta ultramarathoner raises over $2,800 for COVID relief in India

Kaushal Parikh ran the 90-km virtual Comrades Marathon around the NDSS track in under nine hours

People line up to get their COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre, Thursday, June 10, 2021 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Vaccines, low COVID case counts increase Father’s Day hope, but risk is still there

Expert says people will have to do their own risk calculus before popping in on Papa

John Furlong told the Vancouver Board of Trade on Feb. 20, 2020 that he thinks the city could and should bid for the 2030 Winter Games. (CP photo)
PODCAST: John Furlong lays out a ‘provincial’ plan to host the 2030 Winter Olympics

Podcast: Chat includes potential role for Vancouver Island communities

The pilot of this single-engine propeller plane was unhurt after crash-landing in a Como Road orchard Friday, June 18. Photo: Laurie Tritschler
Plane crash lands into Grand Forks orchard, pilot injured

RCMP have secured the crash site, pending investigation by Transport Canada

A tenant walks in front of her home on Boundary Road on Friday, June 18, 2021 after it was destroyed by fire the night before in Chilliwack. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Family homeless after fire rips through Chilliwack house

Turtle rescued, no one seriously hurt following Boundary Road fire in Chilliwack

BC Ferries’ newest Island Class vessel is experiencing an issue with one of its thrusters off the Algerian coast. Photo courtesy patbaywebcam.com.
BC Ferries newest vessel having mechanical issues in Mediterranean

Island 4 will be repaired in Spain before crossing Atlantic

Wild rabbits are all over Chilliwack, but people often think they’re someone’s lost pet and try to ‘save’ them. But the owner of Chilliwack’s Reptile Room says good intentions can have bad consequences for wild animals. (Photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Owner of Chilliwack’s Reptile Room asks people to leave wild animals in the wild

Amber Quiring says people who think they’re helping are actually doing more harm than good

Thousands of protesters make their way through the downtown core during a Black Lives Matter protest in Ottawa, Friday June 5, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
MPs’ study of systemic racism in policing concludes RCMP needs new model

Chair of the House public safety committee says it’s time for a reckoning on ‘quasi-military’ structure

A case filled with packages of boneless chicken breasts is shown in a grocery store Sunday, May 10, 2020, in southeast Denver. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-David Zalubowski
One million chickens euthanized during labour dispute at Quebec slaughterhouse

Premier says waste amounts to 13 per cent of the province’s chicken production thrown in the garbage

Most Read