Former Safe Surrey councillors working with opposition over police transition
The three councillors who have left the Surrey mayor’s dominant Safe Surrey Coalition put out a public statement with one of their former foes – a sign that opposition to the mayor’s plans are coalescing.
A rushed and poorly thought out transition to a Surrey Police Force, combined with secrecy in Mayor Doug McCallum’s office are the main reasons the four councillors are working together, said Coun. Linda Annis.
“We all see such huge gaping holes in the police transition report. We’re not getting enough members, and it’s costing us more,” Annis told CTV News on Thursday.
The group put out a joint statement on the police transition on Thursday morning. Annis said the group is not a party, but has found common ground.
All want a Surrey police force but, but argue the current plan – which would cost about $19 million more each year for about 40 fewer officers – isn’t the way to go.
That the three former Safe Surrey councillors – Jack Hundial, Brenda Locke, and Stephen Pettigrew – are taking this step should be a message to the mayor, Annis said.
“He started out eight months ago with seven of eight councillors supporting him and his own vote. He’s lost three. This is significant, and speaks to his leadership and he should be concerned about that,” she said.
But the mayor dismissed the upstart opposition.
“They’ve been acting as a unit for the last five months, so that didn’t surprise me at all,” he said.
McCallum didn’t respond to a reporter pointing out that one of the councillors, Jack Hundial, had only left the party last week.
“My comment on it would be that they appeared to be more concerned with them being a unit than the concerns of the public which in fact, a high percentage, support a police force,” he said.