SURREY mayoral hopeful Doug McCallum, former Surrey mayor, on Tuesday introduced the Safe Surrey Coalition and their Public Safety Platform, accusing Surrey Mayor Dianne Watts of inaction in the face of what he said was “an ongoing crime wave.”
McCallum’s Safe Surrey Coalition includes four City Council candidates:
* Small business owner Rina Gill
* Community advocate Laurie Guerra
* Journalist Beau Simpson
* Lawyer Justin Thind
(Their complete bios can be found at www.safesurrey.ca)
The Coalition’s Public Safety Platform contains six specific proposals:
1. Introduce the Mayor’s Integrated Public Safety Council
- Establish minimum thresholds for service levels in accordance with the RCMP Contract Accountability Provisions
- Double the amount of officers on patrol and accelerate hiring of 95 new RCMP officers to 2015
- Double the amount of bylaw officers in the community
- Invest $4 million per year over four years into a Crime Prevention through Social Development (CPSD) Community Strategy
- Launch a Public Awareness Campaign and encourage Involvement with the RCMP Public Crime Prevention Programs and the Surrey Crime Prevention Society
(Visit www.safesurrey.ca/publicsafetyplatform for the complete proposals)
The creation of the Safe Surrey Coalition and their Public Safety Platform comes directly as a result of what has been heard from Surrey residents since launching his campaign, said McCallum.
“People are fearful in neighbourhoods across Surrey, and are looking for leadership, detailed proposals, and most importantly, a plan for action on the issue of public safety,” he added. “The Safe Surrey Coalition represents a group of candidates with diverse community involvement, political affiliations and professional backgrounds that are united by one overpowering concern: Public Safety.”
McCallum said the Safe Surrey Coalition has come together around public safety, but believes in a balanced approach to governance. Adhering to a set of Guiding Principles (www.safesurrey.ca/guidingprinciples), the Safe Surrey Coalition will continue to release a range of policies for consideration in areas such as fiscal responsibility and management, transportation and electoral reform.
* Rina Gill is a successful small business owner who is actively engaged in Surrey through her extensive community work with various organizations, events and causes.
As a marketing consultant that works with private sector and non-profit clients from across Canada, Rina uses her diverse skill sets to volunteer her time with the Surrey Urban Farmers Market, the YWCA Single Mothers Housing Committee, the Vancouver Multicultural Society, the Newton Advocacy Group Society and the Progressive Intercultural Community Services’ (PICS) Women’s Advisory Committee, which initiated the opening of Harmony House (second stage transition housing for women of domestic abuse). She is also a founding member of the Indo Canada Chamber of Commerce – BC Chapter and a former Board Member of the Surrey Museum and Archives Society.
Rina entered Surrey municipal politics in the 2008 election, where she placed 9th, missing a spot on City Council by one place. Rina continued her involvement with local civic issues following this experience, and is excited to once again put her passion and commitment for community up for the consideration of Surrey’s voters.
* Laurie Guerra is a 25-year resident of Surrey that views the local community as an extension her immediate family. Living in the Fleetwood area with her husband and five children, Laurie built simultaneous careers in real estate and yoga instruction after achieving international success in the entertainment industry.
Laurie’s life forever changed when her son was diagnosed with Autism at the age of six. For the past 13 years, Laurie has been one of the province’s most vocal and involved autism advocates as a Director of the Autism Society of British Columbia, a facilitator for the Surrey Parent Support Group for the society, and the Chair of the Community Council for Surrey for the Ministry of Children and Family Development – Community Living.
Laurie recently became the captain of her neighbourhood Block Watch and enrolled in Athabasca University to pursue a political science degree at the age of 51. These are endeavours that show an enduring commitment to constant personal challenges and lifelong learning. Her decision to step forward as a City Council candidate for the Safe Surrey Coalition is a way to apply these life philosophies to improving the city she has called home for a quarter century.
* Beau Simpson is a proud resident of Cloverdale’s Hillcrest area, husband to wife Kari, and father to two young children. The love of his family and community is the motivation behind his decision to run as a City Council candidate for the Safe Surrey Coalition, but his decorated 15-year career as a journalist is what guides his perspective.
Beau is the Editor of the Surrey Now newspaper, and for the past seven years he has been at the heart of local coverage for the city’s most difficult issues. Under his leadership, the paper has won a number of provincial and national awards, in addition to earning awards recognizing his own efforts. His community service project dubbed “Junior Journalists” earned Beau national recognition for not only grooming the next generation of media leaders, but also teaching a sense of citizenship and responsibility amongst young people.
Beau believes in a balanced perspective to public policy that attempts to understand and incorporate the many sides to every story. More specifically, his coverage of Surrey politics has witnessed the deterioration of this approach at City Hall, causing many communities like Cloverdale to feel isolated and ignored.
Beau is determined to bring equality and consideration back to Surrey’s civic representation.
* Justin Thind, born in Swift Current, Saskatchewan, has immersed himself and his young family into the City of Surrey since being called to the bar of British Columbia as a lawyer in 2006. He is a managing partner in a full service law group that is proud to be a part of the dynamic Surrey business community.
Justin uses his previous residency in many Surrey neighbourhoods including Newton, Cloverdale, Sullivan Station and Fleetwood, as well as his past career working in government, as the inspiration behind his decision to run for City Council as part of the Safe Surrey Coalition.
Simply put, whether in the Surrey Provincial Court, or at the neighbourhood level, Justin has witnessed the impacts of local crime first hand. He sees how Surrey’s growth is strongly encouraged by the current Mayor and Council, and yet the proper resources to deal with the issues attached to such rapid change have not kept pace. This also includes other voids like a lack of transit infrastructure, inaccessible community facilities for under privileged youth, and a problematic electoral system that prevents representatives from effectively speaking to the unique issues of different neighbourhoods.
As a husband, father, lawyer, business owner and concerned resident, Justin is motivated to put his name forward as a candidate on a number of levels.