SURREY (NEWS 1130) — A city councillor in Surrey is calling on MLAs to support a referendum on whether the city should stay with the RCMP or move to a municipal police force.
Coun. Linda Annis said policing is ultimately a provincial responsibility, so it’s fair to start asking local MLAs to get involved.
“A referendum would give the residents and taxpayers of Surrey a chance to have their say, something that has been missing to this point. I’m not asking the government or our local MLAs to pick sides, but I do want them to support a referendum that gives our community the chance to decide. If they don’t support the right of our residents to decide then we all want to hear why,” she said in a release.
She also notes when the provincial government has a big issue to decide, it often turns to a referendum and since policing is the biggest budget item in Surrey, the city should do the same.
“The transition costs are already at $129 million, with every available dollar at city hall going towards the SPD,” said Annis. “That money should have been spent on hiring more RCMP officers, adding firefighters and building new parks, pools, rinks and community centres. Instead, it’s all going to the mayor’s police department, with absolutely no evidence as to what’s going to be better or different under a local police department.”
Annis asserts it is time for people in Surrey to have their say or for local MLAs and the province to explain why they shouldn’t.
The province gave the final approval for the police transition at the end of February.
To date, more than 40,00 people have signed a petition to keep the RCMP.