B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson and B.C. Premier John Horgan. (Black Press Media files)

BC Votes 2020

Horgan says Surrey mayor opened ‘hornets’ nest’ with Surrey policing transition

Surrey election battle heating up over Doug McCallum’s controversial cop transition

Surrey’s controversial policing transition is being tossed around like a political hot potato between the Liberals and NDP in these early days of the provincial election campaign.

BC NDP Leader John Horgan said Wednesday that Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum opened a “hornet’s nest” when he moved to replace the Surrey RCMP with a city-made police force, “and Mayor McCallum is responsible for it.”

Meanwhile, Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson told CKNW that, “It’s going to have to be re-evaluated because there are huge disagreements in Surrey about this” and, “There needs to be a new lens on this because right now nobody trusts decision-making in Surrey on this issue.”

The Now-Leader has sought McCallum’s response to this.

“Mayor McCallum will not be commenting on the provincial election,” City of Surrey communications project manager Amber Stowe replied in an email Wednesday.

READ ALSO: Fight to keep Surrey RCMP ‘not over,’ campaign vows

Opponents of the policing transition have vowed to actively campaign against Surrey’s NDP MLA incumbents heading up to the Oct. 24 provincial election, accusing them of sitting on their hands while the opponents fight for more transparency from the province and city hall.

Asked if he’s concerned about his Surrey MLA incumbents’ prospect for re-election if a concerted campaign is mounted by opponents of the policing transition to oust them from office, Horgan had this so say.

“Well, I’m not,” he told the Now-Leader. “I’m concerned about the issue, I’m not concerned about the competence of my team. I know that all this isn’t about pats on the back all the time, sometimes you have to take a bit of a poke in the face, they know that.

“We’ve got a pretty seasoned group here, but I’m not skating away from the issue. These are divisive issues that were brought to us by the election of a new council and a new mayor in Surrey and we’re working with the community as best as we can to make sure they know all of the information, to make sure they understand what the costs of a transition will be, what the impacts will be on the delivery of services.

“That’s our responsibility, that’s the responsibility of my colleagues, trying to find a way forward that meets the interests of all of the people in Surrey and I know I’m committed to that and so is my team,” Horgan said.

Horgan also told reporters during an NDP campaign presser in Surrey on Wednesday that the policing transition is an “issue that’s the responsibility of the local mayor and council.

“Ultimately the decision rests with council. I suggest – and I have suggested repeatedly, my colleagues here know this full well, they hear it in their constituency offices and around the community all the time – this is a divisive issue. Mayor McCallum opened up the hornet’s nest, and Mayor McCallum is responsible for it.”

READ ALSO: Solicitor General has ‘no illusions’ about acrimony over Surrey’s police transition

READ ALSO: Surrey policing transition committee report forwarded to Wally Oppal

At Surrey council’s inaugural meeting on Nov. 5th, 2018 it served notice to the provincial and federal governments it is ending its contract with the RCMP – which has policed these parts since May 1, 1951 – to set up its own force. Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General Mike Farnworth on Aug. 22, 2019 gave the city the go-ahead to pursue the plan.

Paul Daynes, a strategist for the Keep the RCMP in Surrey, which to date has roughly 6,000 lawn signs posted on local residents’ lawns, told the Now-Leader in March that “We are going to hold the politicians to account. We feel that we, and the people of Surrey, have been totally betrayed.”

Daynes’ message to Horgan in March was “If you want to lose the next provincial election, just carry on as you’re doing betraying and basically letting down the people in Surrey as you do, and we’ll vote you out.”

That’s not to say the Liberals or any other party will receive the group’s endorsement, though.

Ivan Scott, organizer of the Keep the RCMP in Surrey campaign, told the Now-Leader on Wednesday that his group is scanning the lay of the land in Surrey politics this week before settling on it’s plan of attack.

“We’ve got to pressure on all of them, to be quite honest,” Scott said. “I can assure you that by the end of this weekend we’ll have something very definitive, how we are going to go.”

He said the group plans to release a list of candidates it endorses, and those it does not.

“We are a-political,” he stressed. “We have NDP supporters helping us, we have Liberal supporters helping us. We don’t ask them what they belong to, we don’t care.

“When it comes down to it, we’re not going to endorse the parties as such, we’re going to endorse them as people because they’ve got the balls to come out and actually say something about it, make a stand.”



tom.zytaruk@surreynowleader.com

Like us on Facebook and follow Tom on Twitter

BC politicsBC Votes 2020PoliceSurrey

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A overview concept drawing of the Central District and its City Plaza, Gateway and Kennedy Heights neighbourhoods included in the Mayor’s Housing Task Force for Scott Road report. (City of Delta photo)
Walkable mixed-use neighbourhoods focus of task force’s vision for Scott Road

Report by Mayor’s Housing Task Force for Scott Road was presented to Delta council on Monday

The number of new COVID-19 cases has risen sharply in Vancouver and the Fraser North region over the last week.
Chart: Tyler Olsen
CHARTS: Weekly COVID-19 case double in Fraser North health area, up 50% in Vancouver

The number of new COVID-19 cases has risen sharply in Vancouver and the Fraser North region.

A total of 6,967 vote-by-mail packages were issued in Delta North during the 2020 provincial election, representing just over 18 per cent of the 37,998 registered voters in the riding. As of Thursday, Oct. 29, 3,825 certification envelopes have been received by officials in the riding ahead of the final count on Nov. 6. (Liam Harrap photo)
Over 3,800 mail-in, absentee ballots received in Delta North to date

6,967 vote-by-mail packages issued in the riding, representing over 18 per cent registered voters

tease photo
Food truck desserts from Prague ‘pop up’ at Surrey shopping mall

The Praguery offers a modern take on a traditional pastry

Kristjon Olson in a photo released by Surrey RCMP.
High-risk offender back in custody facing child-porn charges, Surrey Mounties say

News of Kristjon Otto Olson’s arrest is posted to Surrey RCMP’s website

Sooke’s Paul Larouche enjoys gold panning along the Sooke River, looking for small treasures. (Aaron Guillen/News Staff)
VIDEO: Island man finds niche audience by gold-panning on YouTube

Paul Larouche, 29, with over 215,000 subscribers, opens up about his journey

The Excelsior 4 are set to make their second court appearance in Abbotsford on Monday (Nov. 2). (Ben Lypka/Abbotsford News)
‘Excelsior 4’ making second Abbotsford court appearance on Monday

Animal rights activists expected to plead not guilty to charges, protest for Vancouver scheduled

Dennis Cholowski shows off a Jordan 2 Retro Just Don Blue sneaker, the type of shoe only a true sneakerhead would appreciate. (Facebook photo)
VIDEO: Chilliwack Chiefs alum Dennis Cholowski shows off ‘sneakerhead’ collection

The Detroit Red Wing has been spending his NHL paycheques building up an impressive closet of shoes

Health care employees take extensive precautions when working with people infected or suspected of having COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
WorkSafeBC disallows majority of COVID-19 job injury claims

Health care, social services employees filing the most claims

Vancouver Symphony Orchestra Maestro Otto Tausk. (Photo: vancouversymphony.ca)
50/50 lotto players buck up for Metro Vancouver musicians hit hard by COVID

‘Rapidly growing jackpot’ for VSO’s 50/50 draw as they go online with TheConcertHall.ca

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Abbotsford’s Kaitlyn Cassels is visited by her mother Heather Musika while recovering in hospital. (Submitted)
Abbotsford woman to have life-long injuries after falling 27 feet from bridge

19-year-old Kaitlyn Cassels says a misstep near the Agassiz-Rosedale Bridge led to a 27-foot fall

Conservative leader Erin O’Toole rises during Question Period in the House of Commons in Ottawa on Wednesday October 28, 2020. (Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press)
Conversion therapy ban gets approval in principle, exposes Conservative divisions

Erin O’Toole himself voted in favour of the bill, as did most Conservative MPs

CBSA. (Black Press Media File)
4 sentenced in B.C. steroid smuggling, distribution ring that spilled into U.S.

Canadian Border Services Agency announced the results of a lengthy investigation it called ‘Project Trajectory’

Most Read