Surrey mayor and councillor need to clear the air about relationship, critics say
VANCOUVER -- Surrey’s mayor should explain the nature of his relationship with a member of city council, other city councillors say, after video emerged of an incident that suggested the pair may be in business together.
Mayor Doug McCallum and Coun. Allison Patton need to disclose what’s going on so that the citizens of Surrey can be comfortable that her recent appointment to a paid board position by McCallum isn’t compromised by conflict of interest, said rival councillor Brenda Locke.
“That’s something that should be questioned, and if there are any issues they should be resolved,” said Locke, who ran with the mayor’s Safe Surrey slate before splitting with them last year.
“I think it has to be disclosed. If they have a relationship, whatever it is, if it’s a business, that has to be disclosed,” she said.
Video obtained by the Vancouver Sun shows Mounties at the Mountainview Wellness Centre in South Surrey on April 30.
Surrey RCMP confirmed they had been called to investigate a breach of the peace. Officers determined it was a civil matter and closed the file.
In the video, Patton appears to be explaining a business dispute among her partners at the Mountainview Wellness Centre.
“We have no intention of moving the assets, zero,” she said.
“We just signed a lease here,” says McCallum.
Just who the mayor means when he says “we” is unclear. The mayor’s staff offered no comment, and when CTV News tried to see Patton at the business, she came to the door briefly and stepped back without saying anything.
Locksmith Brian Kerr told CTV News he was called by the landlord to change the locks at the business on April 30.
He said the mayor and Patton oversaw him changing a lock earlier that day.
“I went back, the mayor was there and she introduced herself to me,” Kerr said. “I put the lock back in. I gave the keys to the mayor and he said, ‘Allison’s busy so I’ll give the keys to her.’”
The lack of disclosure is a major issue, as is a recent board appointment, said Coun. Jack Hundial, who used to sit with Safe Surrey until quitting in 2019.
Last fall, the mayor appointed Patton to the Metro Vancouver Board, a position that pays up to $794 a meeting.
“I’ve received a lot of calls from the public already saying this looks like an ethics breach,” he said.
“We have a temporary ethics commissioner,” he added. “We are in the process of hiring a full-time ethics commissioner. We have to look at this and see if it meets the threshold of the public expectation for our elected officials.”
Councillors with the mayor’s Safe Surrey slate, Mandeep Nagra, Laurie Guerra, and Doug Elford told CTV News that McCallum has their full confidence.
“The private lives of my colleagues are none of my business,” said Guerra in an e-mail.