Three Safe Surrey Coalition councillors say the mayor’s public mischief charge has not swayed their support for Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum.
Councillors Laurie Guerra, Doug Elford and Allison Patton told the Now-Leader on Wednesday (Dec. 15) that despite a charge of public mischief being announced against McCallum on Dec. 10, they will remain under the Safe Surrey Coalition banner in the 2022 civic election.
Coun. Mandeep Nagra has not responded to a phone or email request.
Guerra said the charge hasn’t yet changed her plans for the upcoming election.
“It doesn’t at this time for me, no,” said Guerra, adding, “I’m a firm believer in the rule of law … and I believe that people are innocent until proven guilty. I think that we need to let due process take its course.”
Because Guerra wasn’t at the Sept. 4 Save-On-Foods incident, where McCallum claimed his foot was run over after an altercation with people collecting signatures for the Surrey Police Vote petition, she can’t “speak to it in any way, shape or form.”
“With ongoing court proceedings, I would not chime in at any point.”
Guerra added it’s “very difficult to weigh in on” situations involving private lives of colleagues, and “I wouldn’t even if I could.”
“I have no idea about what actually has happened. I have inklings and thoughts, like everybody else does, but I think we just need to be wise and wait to see what the outcome of it is and be patient,” she said.
“We’ll all have our answers soon enough.”
Patton, meanwhile, says she is still running with the SSC in the 2022 election.
Elford, in a statement, said the “Safe Surrey Coalition caucus is solely focused on fulfilling the commitments we made to Surrey voters in the 2018 election.”
“We have immense confidence in the leadership of Mayor Doug McCallum, who has remained steadfast against aggressive, well-funded opposition who from day one have tried every trick in the book to undermine democracy.”
Elford added that while SSC members will not comment on any matters that are before the courts, the councillors will continue to implement the agenda that garnered eight out of nine council seats for the Safe Surrey Coalition in 2018.
“Further, we will proudly campaign on this record in stark contrast to those who have chosen to abandon the promises they used to deceive the electorate,” he said.
“We believe that the composition of City Council should always be determined by those Surrey residents who cast their ballots. This principle continues to apply as we rapidly approach the 2022 election.”
Meanwhile, a statement from the Safe Surrey Coalition read verbatim to Elford’s response.
When it comes to the 2022 election, McCallum has already expressed his intent to run as mayor again and Surrey Connect Coun. Brenda Locke announced her mayoral bid in July.
But a rumour started circulating this week that Surrey-Panorama NDP MLA Jinny Sims might run for mayor, maybe even for the Safe Surrey Coalition.
Guerra said that as an SSC member, she hasn’t heard about that.
“I can tell you it hasn’t even been brought up.”
Sims told the Now-Leader that CBC did phone her about it and she told them people have asked her about a run for mayor, “but right now my focus is on my own constituency.”
Sims added that she’s also learned in her life to “never say never because that might jinx me or something.”
“When people asked me to run to be the president of the BCTF, I said I would never, ever do that job. I ended up being the president. Then when Jack Layton said to me, ‘Would you run to be an MP?’ and I said hell would freeze over.”
But she added the switch to civic politics is “not on my radar right now.”
“I am flattered when people phone and ask you. It’s a big decision, there’s a lot to think about. Let’s see what the new year brings, maybe over Christmas I’ll have a change of heart. But right now, (I’m) really happy to be where I am.”
– with files from Aaron Hinks, Tom Zytaruk