Doug McCallum will establish a Surrey municipal police force

Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum (2nd from left) with (L-R) Councillors Allison Patton, Laurie Guerra, Mandeep Nagra and Doug Elford with the Surrey Police cruiser that was unveiled on May 7.

It is absolutely disgraceful and appalling that those supporting the RCMP have resorted to gangster tactics

COME hell or high water, Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum will have his Surrey Police Department!

In spite of all the vicious scare tactics that Surrey Councillor Linda Annis and defectors from McCallum’s Safe Surrey Coalition, Councillors Brenda Locke and Jack Hundial, a former RCMP officer, have used to whip up opposition day in and day out to establishing a Surrey municipal police force to replace the RCMP, McCallum and the loyal, principled Councillors Laurie Guerra, Allison Patton, Doug Elford and Mandeep Nagra have steadily gone ahead with the process of having a Surrey Police Department.

It is absolutely disgraceful and appalling that those supporting the RCMP have resorted to gangster tactics. Indeed, it is ironical.

Some of them have publicly sworn and yelled at Guerra and Patton (as Guerra told a reporter), quite obviously to intimidate them. Guerra also told the reporter that she had been receiving threatening emails after she, McCallum, Patton, Elford and Nagra had voted to pass the budget on Monday night. (The budget was passed by a 5-4 vote).

The RCMP lobby made sure they got their people to be present in large numbers and make as much noise as possible, but none of that could make McCallum and his four Councillors change their mind.

Locke, Hundial and  Steven Pettigrew very conveniently joined McCallum’s Safe Surrey Coalition to get elected, and once they were in, they decided to very conveniently defect, forgetting that one of three issues that they had won on was to replace the RCMP with a municipal police force. Now they are spinelessly using every excuse to justify their deception.

Last March, McCallum hit back at the opportunists in this statement: “Our platform was abundantly clear, and the public was overwhelmingly in support of what we said we would do on its behalf, if elected.”

He added: “On the night this new Council was sworn in, Council voted unanimously in favour of cancelling the contract with the RCMP and moving ahead with a municipal police department. For critics to now say that there is a lack of a mandate or public consultation for Surrey to have its own municipal police department shows little to no regard for our most basic democratic principle of respecting the will of the people.”

McCallum also pointed out: “Councillor Hundial, a retired 25-year RCMP officer, ran on that commitment and pledge to carry it out if elected. The voters entrusted us to deliver on our promises and that is a trust that Councillor Hundial is now breaking. I have no intention of breaking my campaign promises or the public’s trust.”

Annis and Locke in particular have stooped as low as possible in trying to use the mainstream media to spread their propaganda, even taking advantage of a young widow whose husband was shot in a case of mistaken identity by gangsters (and this is when RCMP are the police in Surrey!)

INTERESTINGLY, former attorney general Wally Oppal, who is chair of the joint transition committee for the formation of a Surrey municipal police force, told The VOICE on Tuesday: “A number of City Councillors have come to see me because they are unhappy about the process. But I have stayed out of it. That’s not my job.”

Wally Oppal

Asked how the process of forming a Surrey police department was progressing, Oppal told this newspaper: “We are moving along and we are getting good cooperation from the Surrey team.”

But he also noted: “I think it’s going to take a lot longer than they think. It’s a very complex issue because what we are doing is building a police department from the ground up which means we have to look at such things as a police board and we can’t do that until the provincial government passes that [law] and the Board then hires a police chief after advertising. Then a recruitment process takes place. And we are looking at pensions and all of that. So it’s a very complicated process and we are moving along.”

He told The VOICE that he didn’t see any problems in having a municipal force in Surrey.

Last October I had asked Oppal: “There is no way that they would ever cancel this project, no?” Oppal had replied firmly: “No, they are not going to cancel it. I mean the governments can do whatever they want, but I don’t see them canceling anything here.”

Oppal had noted: “Within 10 years Surrey will be the largest city in the province. So the question is: should they have a police force that is governed in Ottawa? That’s the question. The mayor and Council have determined no, that ‘we want to have our own police force.’ And that’s reasonable and that’s what they thought and so our job is to facilitate this, to make sure it happens.”

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