Surrey Mayor Brenda Locke is facing a backlash after she issued a statement claiming that Metro Vancouver mayors in a meeting last week had voted unanimously to support retaining the RCMP in Surrey.
“The Mayor’s Committee did not vote on a motion to keep the RCMP in Surrey as Mayor Locke claims,” said Safe Surrey Coalition Councillor Doug Elford. “In fact, the Mayor’s Committee passed a motion for the MVRD Board to send a letter to the Province urging a quick decision on the City of Surrey’s request to keep the RCMP in Surrey. This motion was not to keep the RCMP in Surrey, but instead to ask the province to make a quick decision on which police force will be policing Surrey.”
Mayor Brenda Locke, however, issued a statement on April 5 claiming that at the Metro Vancouver’s meeting of the Mayor’s Committee, a motion was made by Delta Mayor George Harvie to support Surrey’s decision to retain the RCMP as the police of jurisdiction. “This motion was not only supported, but it was passed unanimously. It is clear the uncertainty of policing in Surrey extends beyond our borders and is adversely impacting neighbouring communities. The Mayor’s Committee is sending a clear message to the Solicitor General that Surrey should not only retain the RCMP, but a decision on this matter must be made promptly. Once again, I respectfully ask the Solicitor General to respect the municipality’s right to choose its police force and to not delay his decision any further.”
BC Solicitor General Mike Farnworth, mayors of Delta and Richmond and Surrey city councillors Linda Annis, Doug Elford and Mandeep Nagra challenged Mayor Locke’s claims and called her understanding of the motion either “incorrect” or “misunderstood.”
In an interview to Global News Richmond Mayor Malcolm Brodie, who was present on April 5, said Locke chaired the council meeting and “had a lot going on,” but there’s motion’s intent was clear. “The resolution was to write a letter of support to Victoria asking that they give Surrey an answer to the policing question.”
Even BC’s Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth responded to Locke’s statement saying that it was “incorrect.”
“The letter that is on its way to me is a letter requesting a decision, not about whether it should be Surrey Police Service or the RCMP,” Farnworth told media.
City councillor Annis has even asked the city’s Mayor to withdraw and “apologise” for her claims that Metro Vancouver mayors had voted unanimously last week to support retaining the RCMP in Surrey.
“This is either a misstatement or a misunderstanding by Mayor Locke and needs to be removed,” she said.
“Even Minister Farnworth acknowledged that the message he received from the metro mayors simply asked him for a timely decision on the issue, and did not direct him to retain the RCMP,” noted Annis. “It’s hard to understand how that request got interpreted by Mayor Locke as unanimous support for keeping the RCMP in Surrey. Her statement on the city website is wrong and misleading and should be removed immediately.”
“Everyone agrees that we need a decision one way or the other because costs are climbing, but I think our mayor owes the metro mayors an apology for getting it wrong in her statement,” Annis said.
Safe Surrey Councillor Mandeep Nagra said, “Mayor Brenda Locke needs to apologize to Surrey residents and MVRD mayors for issuing a false statement and for spreading fake news. It’s important that our elected officials are honest and transparent in their communications with the public.”
“Mayor Locke needs to take accountability and remove her false statement from the City of Surrey website, otherwise she is just making a mockery of the office she holds.”
The accusations against Mayor Locke have caused confusion and mistrust among the public and Metro Vancouver mayors. It’s important that elected officials are transparent and accountable in their communications with the public,” he added.