SURREY (NEWS 1130) — Surrey city councillor Brenda Locke is running for mayor in the next municipal election, and opposing the transition to a municipal police force is a major plank in her platform.
Locke’s announcement Wednesday comes about 15 months ahead of the Oct. 18 2022 vote.
If elected, Locke says she would put an immediate halt to the Surrey Police Service, which has already hired a chief and appointed a board.
“Hopefully we will win. And right away we will stop that process immediately. It is not planned. The process is flawed, and it is becoming a runaway train in terms of the expenses,” she says.
“Moving forward, we certainly need to have better dialogue in the city of Surrey, we have to have better public engagement, and certainly the RCMP issue is significant and concerning to the residents of Surrey — they want it stopped.”
When it comes to the millions already spent – "this is an ongoing expense, a generational expense and sometimes you just have to cut your loses and I think this is one of those times." @NEWS1130 https://t.co/HvEpjSbhLP
— Tarnjit Kaur Parmar (@Tarnjitkparmar) July 22, 2021
Loke notes that last month, Elections BC approved a petition that could force a binding referendum on the move to replace the RCMP with the municipal force, and she thinks the public is largely on her side.
“The public will will support that because this is an ongoing expense. This is a generational expense that we’re talking about, and sometimes you just have to cut your losses. I think this is one of those times.”
Mayor Doug McCallum’s spokesperson tells NEWS 1130 that he will be seeking a second term.
McCallum had promised the Surrey Police Service would be up and running by Spring of 2021. The chief was hired in November of 2020, but the police transition will not be complete until some time in 2022. The plan to set up a city force was a key part of McCallum’s 2018 election campaign. Replacing the RCMP has faced resistance from some residents, with critics largely echoing Locke’s concerns about the cost and what they say was a lack of consultation.
Locke has been one of council’s most outspoken opponents of the transition, tabling multiple motions calling for a pause to the process. In January of 2020, she and colleague Jack Hundial formed a new civic party, Surrey Connect. In addition to Locke for mayor, and Hundial for council — the slate of candidates for 2022 includes two newcomers Ramona Kaptyn and Sebastian Sajda. They are seeking five more candidates to run for council.
Asked what else she would prioritize if elected, Locke says she also thinks Surrey residents are concerned with a “lack of transparency” at city hall and climbing taxes. Dissatisfaction with the current government, where McCallum’s Safe Surrey Coalition has a majority is another issue she thinks will shape how voters choose who to support in 2022.
“I think people right now in Surrey are very motivated to vote. The public has been so disillusioned by this mayor and some of his councillors that I think we’re going to see an uptake in turnout.”