Proudly Surrey Rejects Tom Gill’s Referendum Ploy On Surrey Getting It’s Own Police Issue

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SURREY –Proudly Surrey, the new civic political challenger who first publicly highlighted its plan to end Surrey’s relationship with the RCMP, says a majority of Surrey residents have been found to support the move and the city’s incumbent councillors have struggled to neutralize the issue.

On Monday, Councillor Tom Gill, Surrey First’s mayoral candidate proposed a referendum on the issue in 2019.

Bruce Hayne, a councillor who crossed the floor from Surrey First  and is currently building his own slate for a mayoral run, proposed a public hearings and a council vote.

“Neither an off-year municipal plebiscite nor a series of public hearings will consult a fraction of the number of Surrey residents this fall’s election will consult. There is a referendum, councillor Gill: it’s the election. There is a consultation, councillor Hayne: it’s the election. Electing Proudly Surrey candidates is how the people of Surrey can and will take back their police force and make our city safe again,” said Stuart Parker, Proudly Surrey council candidate.

“And let me be clear,” Parker added, “the other putative opposition parties in this town cannot be trusted to cancel the contract. Last week, the Surrey Community Alliance dressed down a candidate who endorsed our plans to end the RCMP contract and forced her to publicly recant her support. They then joined Coleman-allied councillor Hayne in attacking our policy as unaffordable. This week, they are claiming to have authored the policy themselves. This is why this election needs to defeat not just Surrey First but its dissident opportunists and its ineffective unelected Third Way opposition party.”

Parker noted that the last municipal referendum held in Metro Vancouver was the Vancouver wards referendum of 2004, in which only 22% of voters turned out (compared to 49% in the general election that preceded it), at a cost of millions.

“Surrey residents deserve an honest debate of our local policing system during the election and nothing less,” added Proudly Surrey council candidate Adam MacGillivray.

Gill had said during council meet this week that he plans to introduce a motion at next week’s council meeting directing city staff to make plans for a third-party review of Surrey’s policing options, including bringing back a city police force.

Gill said the review would include extensive public consultation and input, followed by a special municipal referendum on a Surrey police department in 2019. Staff will be asked to come back with a plan and a proposed review process by the first meeting of the new city council following the October 20 election.

 

Gill says it is time to ask Surrey residents if they want their own police force, and there is no better time to start the discussion than during the upcoming municipal election. Currently, policing in Surrey is provided by a detachment of 835 RCMP officers, the largest municipal RCMP force in the country.

“It’s time to ask our residents what they think of having a Surrey police department, one with deep roots in the community, and one that reports completely to the people of Surrey, instead of RCMP headquarters in Ottawa,” said Gill who has been a Surrey councillor for 13 years. “Frankly, I think we need to ask ourselves if we’ve outgrown the RCMP?”

But opponents are accusing Gill of trying to diffuse the policing issue by putting the usual political spin of referendums during the elections and not wanting to commit to Surrey getting it’s own police force which has been a call by majority of Surrey residents following the rise in gang violence and the RCMP’s inability to solve this year’s 7 murders so far in Surrey.