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Group tackling Surrey gang violence wants action following meeting with PM

Last Updated Sep 5, 2018 at 12:13 am PDT

A June rally organized by Wake Up Surrey attracts hundreds. (Jonathan Szekeres, NEWS 1130 staff photo)
Summary

After meeting with Justin Trudeau a group trying to tackle gang violence in Surrey is now waiting for action

Wake Up Surrey wants Trudeau to deliver promised funding to deal with gang violence

SURREY (NEWS 1130) – A fairly new grassroots group in Surrey that’s been trying to put an end to gang violence in that city says it’s holding the Prime Minister’s feet to the fire.

Wake Up Surrey met with Justin Trudeau on Tuesday, leaving optimist following what they say is a step in the right direction.

“We feel it was sincere,” says the group’s Sukhi Sandhu. “The rest is, as they say, proof is in the pudding.”

The group made a list of demands to Trudeau, with funding and legislative changes topping the list.

“$326 million was announced last November by Minister [Ralph] Goodale and within that announcement, $100 million was guaranteed in the first year. We’re now into September,” Sandhu adds.

“When do we get funding on the ground? Many of our non-profit organizations are breaking at the seams right now and they need this funding desperately.”

Sandu says the group also wants the feds to make gang violence a priority and initiate an independent analysis on how drugs are coming into Surrey. Wake Up Surrey also wants to have monthly meetings with Defense Minister and Vancouver South MP, Harjit Sajjan going forward to discuss progress.

Following a deadly summer, Sandhu says action is desperately needed.

“There’s an undercurrent of anger within the residents of Surrey. We’ve had an innocent parent, a community hockey coach who was killed, Mr. Bennett- that’s the severity of this gang problem.”

Paul Bennett, an emergency nurse and hockey coach, was gunned down on his driveway in a case of mistaken identity in late June. Earlier in the month, two teens were killed in a targeted shooting- their bodies found on the side of the road.

“If, in a couple of weeks we don’t see some sort of breakthrough, then we will go to Ottawa,” Sandhu adds.

Trudeau also held a round table discussion on gangs and gun control in Surrey with Sajjan and Minister of Border Security and Organized Crime Reduction Bill Blair.