VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Despite being barred from having a booth in support of the Surrey RCMP at the city’s Canada Day celebration, a group’s plan to collect signatures will proceed.
Merle Scott and her husband are coordinating a campaign called Keep the RCMP in Surrey. They are collecting signatures on a petition to the city and the provincial governments urging them to reconsider plans to replace the Mounties with a municipal police force.
They went through the process of applying for a city-sanctioned booth but say they were denied and told that their initiative wasn’t in keeping with the celebratory tone of the event.
Undeterred, Scott says volunteers will be there with t-shirts and clipboards.
“The celebration is that we want to keep the RCMP here. We want to celebrate them. I don’t want to lose a police force which is probably one of the top five police forces in the world,” she says.
Merle Scott says that Mayor Doug McCallum has not engaged with them directly.
“We haven’t heard anything from the mayor saying that we can’t go or we can go. He sent everything to the media,” she says. “So we are definitely going to be there tomorrow.”
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.”
The Scotts say that the city’s consultation process has been skewed in favour of replacing the RCMP but the group is not staging a protest
“We are quiet and we do not push and people come to us. They just see it and they stop us and say they want to sign the petition,” Merle Scott says.
-With files from Mike Lloyd and Hana Mae Nassar