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Group petitioning Surrey to keep RCMP claims it's been barred from city Canada Day event

Last Updated Jun 28, 2019 at 6:44 pm PST

Summary

The Keep the RCMP in Surrey group claims it's been barred from setting up a booth at a city Canada Day event

The pro-RCMP group in Surrey had been planning to gather signatures at the Canada Day celebration

SURREY (NEWS 1130) РAdd another bit of controversy to the fight over the switch to an independent police force in Surrey. A pro-RCMP group claims it has been barred from collecting signatures at a city Canada day event.

Keep the RCMP in Surrey was apparently planning to set up a booth at the Bill Reid Amphitheatre¬†on Monday, but is suggesting it’s been told by Mayor Doug McCallum it is not welcome.

“I requested that we… Keep the RCMP in Surrey campaign, requested that we get given a place at the Bill Reid Amphitheatre to put up a little booth that we could collect our petitions and we did it through the online and we did it personally to somebody in Surrey city hall and they basically came back and told us that we weren’t welcome,” the group’s Ivan Scott said.

He claims the city said the group’s reason for being there “wasn’t the sort of thing that they would encourage,” and that the event wasn’t the place to hold a protest.

“It’s not a protest, it’s just our constitutional right to put something up there, and it was ridiculous that they should just refuse us like that,” Scott added.

Keep the RCMP in Surrey is collecting signatures, all in support of the Mounties. It has said Surrey’s public engagement process on the topic has been skewed in favour of an independent force.

While the group’s request for a spot at the event has been denied, Scott says the group is looking at all its options, and hopes it won’t come down to members just showing up.

“We’ve sent a letter to the mayor — he’s got 12 hours or so to rescind his decision to kick us out and offer us a … booth like anybody else in a civilized country would do,” he told NEWS 1130.

Scott claims the group is being discriminated against.

Yogi, a Surrey resident, who is actually in favour of a municipal police force, believes the move to ban the group from the Canada Day celebration seems a bit unfair.

“To me it seems to be, like, shameful. Why? I don’t understand that,” he said.

“People have a right to information and sometimes you don’t get that right,” another local, Dwayne, added.

The City of Surrey says that booths and activities are to “focus on family activities and community celebrations” and do not “include any booths with political messaging or canvassing of event attendees on-site.”

There will be a designated political speech area located on the sidewalk near 64 Avenue and 177B Street.