Ryerson University has ‘awarded’ Surrey with a dishonourable mention as a recipient of its 2021 Code of Silence Award for Outstanding Achievement in Government Secrecy, in the civic government category.
The Code of Silence Awards are designed to draw public attention to government or publicly-funded agencies “that work hard to hide information to which the public has a right to under access to information legislation.”
They are presented annually by the Centre for Free Expression at Ryerson, the Canadian Association of Journalists, News Media Canada, and the Canadian Journalists for Free Expression.
Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum declined to comment.
This year’s ‘winner’ was Stratford city council and the year prior, the City of North Bay, Ont.
The judges this year took particular aim at McCallum and Safe Surrey Coalition councillors Doug Elford, Laurie Guerra, Allison Patton and Mandeep Nagra for banning seven senior citizens from physically attending council meetings and participating remotely,
Council later rescinded the ban without apology or reimbursement for legal fees.
Asked for his reaction to the dishonourable mention, Elford laughed. “I saw it, we’ve been hounded by the regulars on it,” he said Wednesday. “I really don’t have any comment on it. They’re making judgment on an issue that they don’t have any background or anything on it so to me it’s, you know, it’s one of those things.”
The Code of Silence Award recipient in law enforcement is expected to be released next Tuesday.