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Public safety, gang violence front and centre at Surrey all-candidates meeting

Last Updated Oct 3, 2019 at 10:52 am PST

Public safety and gang violence were top issues discussed at an all-candidates meeting in Surrey. (Taran Parmar, NEWS 1130)

The issue of public safety was front and centre at an all-candidates meeting in Surrey

Following a string of daytime shootings in the city, many concerned voters were eager to hear solutions

SURREY (NEWS 1130) — Public safety and what can be done to address gang violence were major concerns addressed at an all-candidates meeting in Surrey, following a string of daytime shootings in the city.

It was the first question asked by an audience member: what will you do to address public safety in Surrey?

Ken Hardie, the incumbent MP for Fleetwood-Port Kells, says the Liberals have made it a priority to fight gangs in the city.

“We had Ralph Goodale come out here, sit down with the Surrey police, and with the city administration of the day, and figure out what was going on and what the federal government could do by way of funding, and by way of policy,” he said.

He added the Liberals funded the Surrey Anti-Gang Family Empowerment (SAFE) program to educate youth on risks with gangs.

NDP candidate for the same riding, Annie Ohana, said that, as a former Surrey high school teacher, she had interacted with families who lost children to the gang conflict, adding money needs to go into youth prevention.

“We need better protection in our reports, we need better protection for our youth, we need to intervene at earlier stages,” she said.

Meantime, Kerry-Lynne Findlay, the Conservative candidate for South Surrey–White Rock, promised additional funding to fight violent crime. She said the senseless loss of life proves funding is needed to hire additional officers.

“We’re about 300 police officers short of what we need to have. We have innocent people being killed.”

Candidates also spoke on housing affordability, transportation, legalization of marijuana.

Conservative candidate Shinder Purewal said tougher enforcement is needed against cannabis, adding that his university students who smoke weed have had their memory impaired.

Several volunteers from Keep RCMP in Surrey attended, asking people to sign their petition to keep Mounties instead of moving to a municipal police force.