WHEN I was tipped off on Tuesday evening that Surrey Mayor Dianne Watts was going to announce on Wednesday that she was going to run as a Conservative candidate from Surrey-White Rock, I didn’t believe it because it didn’t make sense that she would do so BEFORE the civic election.
Then on Wednesday afternoon I got a phone call that two South Asians had spotted Watts and federal Liberal fixer Prem Vinning at a small cafe just near Surrey-Newton MLA Harry Bains’ constituency office, which made me wonder what she was up to.
Then on Wednesday evening she announced her decision to run for the Conservatives.
That has given a severe jolt to Surrey First and it will be very interesting to see how things shape up now.
Why couldn’t she have waited until November’s civic election?
What was the hurry?
As I see it, Watts evidently felt that Surrey First was not going to do well in the civic election and her image would get tarnished. That would botch up her federal ambitions.
So she very shrewdly and opportunistically decided to quit now.
Of course, Watts is going to run from a very safe seat for Conservatives, but her opponents are sure to bring up her failure on the crime front – something that has always been a huge issue for the Conservatives.
LAST February in a piece titled “Why is Surrey Mayor Dianne Watts so scared of Councillor Barinder Rasode?” I exposed Watts’ failure on the crime front and her petty-minded actions.
I wrote: “What’s up with Surrey Mayor Dianne Watts? She seems to be in a state of panic since the Julie Paskall murder in December exposed the dismal state of law and order in Surrey.
“Watts acted in a highly irrational manner (does she need to see a psychiatrist?) when on Monday night she suddenly announced at the Council meeting that she was taking over from Councillor Barinder Rasode as chair of the police committee without having the simple courtesy and decency of talking first to Rasode.
“As Surrey Now reporter noted, the change came when questions were raised about why the police committee meeting minutes for the past two years are not available on the City of Surrey’s website.
“Is this Russia or China – or Surrey in Canada?
“The funny part of the story is that after the Surrey Now reported the takeover and Twitter lit up with people questioning Watts’ move, the mayor seemed to panic and suddenly said that Rasode was being taken off temporarily!
“Committee appointments are usually made in November and the mayor usually sits down with the person concerned and then she tells the team, before announcing it publicly.
“Watts also wants anybody who wants an RCMP officer at a community event to go through a process even as Surrey residents want the RCMP to be open and engaged with them. In fact, they should be at as many community events as possible.
“Ironically, the petty way that Watts behaved with Rasode is EXACTLY the way that then-mayor Doug McCallum behaved with Watts herself: He took her off the police committee because she had asked for 100 more officers for the City.
“It was history repeating itself!”
Well, what does that tell you about Watts?
Is she fit to be an MP?
Well, according to the national polls since Justin Trudeau became the Liberal Party leader, the Conservatives are likely to be in the opposition when the next federal election is held.
So I guess being an opposition MP should be ok for Watts!
I would also like to bring up another incident that showed Watts’ lack of calibre back in 2009 when she was BLIND to her house being misused for running a business WITHOUT a licence.
When I exposed that in this newspaper (I ran stories on it for four weeks as details kept coming in!)
She wasn’t exactly very forthcoming about the facts and seemed terribly confused.
In my first story on the scandal – titled “Surrey Mayor Dianne Watt’s Husband Running Business On Her Property Without Licence” in October 2009 – I wrote:
IF the mayor of a major city like Surrey can’t respect the city’s by-laws, what can you expect from the other residents?
What has happened to all the loud talk about ethics that Surrey Mayor Dianne Watts once used to howl about?
When I confronted Surrey Mayor Dianne Watts on Thursday about the business – Pro Line Fittings – that has been operating from many months now from her property at 3020 176th Street, she replied: “A business licence has been applied for as a home-based business. I am on five and a half acres.”
But wasn’t she supposed to get a licence BEFORE starting a business?
Watts replied evasively: “Well, they’ve already applied for the business licence and … in the short-term because they’re just waiting for the building to be completed where they’re moving.”
When I asked her how long the business had been operating on her property, she claimed: “Oh, a couple of months.”
However, many residents told me that the business had been running for many months and they had seen the pipes laying around the property as well as workers.
When I asked Watts: “But are you generally allowed to run a business before actually getting the business licence?” she responded: “Well, you know what, it’s not my business, so if you want to talk to my husband, you can go right ahead and do that.”
But I pointed out to her that it was on HER PROPERTY.
After a slight hesitation, she replied, “Yes.”
“So wouldn’t you have a responsibility too?” I asked.
Watts replied in a tense tone: “Okay, as I said, business licence has been applied for and they’re waiting for a building to be completed. And it’s been there for a couple of months. So we’re storing some stuff there.”
When I contacted the city’s by-law section, I was informed that Pro Line Fittings at 3020 176th Street had applied for a business licence. But they would not reveal the date when the business had applied for it because “it’s not a valid licence just yet.”
IN another story in November 2009 – Surrey Mayor Dianne Watts, Come Clean! Is It “A Couple Of Months” Or Five Months Or One Year? – I wrote:
“The case of Surrey Mayor Dianne Watts’ husband’s business that is being run without a licence from her residence is getting more and more curious.
“When I confronted an apparently peeved Dianne Watts last month about the business, she claimed that it had been operating on her property for only “a couple of months.”
“Then last week, I got information from the City of Surrey’s bylaw office that her husband’s company, Pro-Line Fittings Inc., had actually applied for a licence on June 4 – that is, five months ago.
“This week, sources – who read The VOICE issues of October 31 and November 7 and decided to contact me – pointed out that the business’s website http://www.pro-linefittings.com/ states that it was “established in 2008” and has listed all of their contact information as being on the mayor’s property since the site opened.”
WHAT was even more shocking was that the Vancouver Sun and The Province did not write a single word on this scandal!
These same newspapers would have gone ballistic if the mayor had been a NON-WHITE person and you can imagine the hundreds of RACIST COMMENTS that would have followed in the letters sections and in the online comments!
Why did they give Watts SPECIAL TREATMENT?
That baffled mainstream media such as GEORGIA STRAIGHT.
In January 2010, the Georgia Straight confronted Watts about the scandal.
The newspaper reported: “Chris Anquist, a spokesperson for Watts, told the Straight that she would be available for an interview before deadline, but he called back later to say that the mayor no longer wanted to comment on the story. He said this was because the business does not belong to her husband but to her brother-in-law, Ron Watts. The Web site lists Ron Watts as president, Linda Watts in marketing, and Travis Watts as shipping-and-receiving manager.”
The paper also noted: “In October, Indo-Canadian Voice editor Rattan Mall questioned Watts as to why a licence wasn’t applied for until June 2009. The paper quoted Watts as saying the business belonged to her husband. When asked whether or not businesses are allowed to operate without a licence, Watts told the Voice, “Well, you know what, it’s not my business, so if you want to talk to my husband, you can go right ahead and do that.”
Hmmm, is this woman fit be even an Opposition MP?