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Police transition is a costly and divisive political football, only a referendum can solve it: Councillor Linda Annis

 Surrey, B.C. (November 14, 2022): Surrey First Councillor Linda Annis is calling for a referendum that gives Surrey residents the opportunity to decide who will police their city. Annis has also written to Minister Mike Farnworth today, encouraging him to call on the City of Surrey to hold a referendum on the police transition issue.

“This issue has become too divisive, too costly, and too much like a political football,” said Annis. “It’s time to put an end to all of this by giving Surrey voters their say, allowing them to make the final decision about who polices our community. Doug McCallum never gave Surrey residents their say, and unfortunately, Mayor Brenda Locke seems to be headed down the same path, trying to stop the transition without including the people of Surrey. The fact is 72 per cent of the people who voted in the municipal election did not vote for Brenda Locke, so any suggestion that there is some sort of overwhelming mandate is ridiculous. Only a referendum that gives the people of Surrey their say will give the final decision on policing any legitimacy.”

Annis, who campaigned on a referendum, said voters need all the facts and the chance to make that final decision.

“This decision is so big, so costly, and so divisive that it will take a vote of our citizens to bring it to a legitimate conclusion,” added Annis. “The nine of us elected to council on October 15 should not be making this final decision. We need to give Surrey voters their say, something that has been missing for four years under Doug McCallum. Mayor Locke should do the right thing and let the people of our city have their say, otherwise what’s the difference between her way and Doug McCallum’s way of doing things? If we are an open and transparent city council, we should start by giving our voters their say on who polices our city.”

(Text of message sent today to Minister Mike Farnworth follows below.)


Hon Mike Farnworth
Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General
Province of British Columbia
Parliament Buildings,
Victoria, BC

Dear Minister,

Re: Referendum to decide who polices the City of Surrey.

Once again, Surrey’s police transition issue is in the news, and yet again the people of this city are being sidelined without an opportunity to raise their voice or determine who will police our community. This costly back-and-forth will remain a political football unless the voters of Surrey are finally allowed to decide this issue.

With that in mind, I am writing today to urge you to call on the City of Surrey to hold a public referendum that will help end this ongoing and divisive issue.  

The people of Surrey were not given a say under Mayor Doug McCallum, and Mayor-Brenda Locke is heading down that same road as she moves to stop the transition, regardless of cost, even though 72 per cent of those who voted in the municipal election on October 15, did not vote for her. Quite simply, there is no overwhelming mandate from the people of Surrey to make any sort of  arbitrary decision either way about the transition, quite the reverse.

Minister, it is time to give the people of Surrey the final say on this important local issue. Only then can we end this costly and confusing fiasco that has become completely politicized to the detriment of our community. Please give the people of Surrey their voice, something that has been missing over the past four years.

Thank you for your consideration.
Yours truly,
Councillor Linda Annis
City of Surrey