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'We don't believe this is a done deal': Surrey group passes petition to keep RCMP to Premier

Last Updated Feb 14, 2020 at 9:09 pm PST

FILE - The group KEEP the RCMP aims to collect 50,000 signatures in total.(Courtesy Twitter/Brenda Locke)
Summary

Volunteers with Keep the RCMP in Surrey delivered 40 boxes of petitions to the Vancouver cabinet office

The group says the move to replace the RCMP is not a done deal and wants the province to step in

The goal is to get 50,000 signatures and take the petition to the legislature

SURREY (NEWS 1130) — Premier John Horgan got a hefty delivery from a Surrey group petitioning to keep the RCMP this Valentine’s Day.

Volunteers with Keep the RCMP in Surrey brought 40 boxes–each containing a petition with a thousand signatures–to the Vancouver Cabinet Office at 999 Canada Place.

Premier Horgan was in Victoria but organizer Ivan Scott says the group was “graciously received.”

“This was the culmination of quite a few months of very, very hard work by very, very dedicated volunteers. It was satisfying to be able to do that and basically speak on behalf of the residents of Surrey.”

The province gave the Surrey the go-ahead to replace the RCMP with a city police force in April, 2019. A committee headed by former B.C. Attorney General Wally Oppal has been struck to oversee the transition and Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum has insisted the new force will be up and running by 2021.

“We don’t believe this is a done deal,” Scott says. The group wants the province to step in and either halt the transition altogether or delay it until a referendum is held.

“The groundswell of the resistance of people in Surrey–and this is over the whole of Surrey, from every age and ethnic group–has been so overwhelming that we believe that Mr. Horgan and Mr. Farnworth have to listen.”

According to Scott, some distinct themes have emerged when he’s spoken to people about why they oppose the transition.

First, people are concerned that the new force will cost more and be staffed with fewer officers.

“We need more boots on the ground, and the RCMP can give that.”

Second, some value the RCMP as an iconic Canadian institution.

“It’s being completely, utterly disrespected and they’re not in favour of that whatsoever,” Scott explains.

Finally, replacing the RCMP was one of McCallum’s campaign promises and Scott says some people just don’t trust the mayor.

Thursday’s delivery wasn’t the end of the group’s campaign.

“We’re not going to stop before we get to the 50,000 and then we’ll take it to the legislature,” Scott explains. “We will fight it right to the end.”

45,484 people voted for Doug McCallum in 2018 and Scott says they think having more signatures than the mayor had votes will send a “powerful message.”