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The decision seems to be about egos, not facts: Councillor Linda Annis

Surrey, B.C. (June 16, 2023): Surrey First Councillor Linda Annis said yesterday’s behind-closed-doors council decision to keep the RCMP, and reverse the police transition, is “an insult to the people of Surrey”.

“It muzzled councillors and any open opposition,” Annis said, “It makes the decision a personal face-off between the mayor and the Province of British Columbia.”

“The in-camera meeting meant there was absolutely no transparency around this incredibly important issue,” said Annis. “Councillors were only told late Wednesday about the in-camera meeting, when we were handed a 400-page city staff report and given only hours to read it. No transparency, no community involvement, no agreement between the city and the province on the facts. It was followed by yesterday’s rushed in-camera meeting that muzzled all of us who were there.

“We know the province wanted to make sure the facts in the report were accurate, and that had no opportunity to happen. When it comes to policing and the police transition, we did it all wrong, and our taxpayers are on the hook to pay the bill with nothing to show for it.”  

Annis also notes the in-camera meeting means councillors cannot talk about any of the details, or even say how they voted.“Once again, the people of Surrey have been sidelined. It reinforces how divisive and messed up this issue has become,” added Annis. “It’s discouraging that city hall did not collaborate with the province to ensure we had accurate numbers, and the truth. We should have been working with the province’s policing experts to make sure we all agreed on an accurate set of facts. That did not happen, and not sharing the city report with the province, or giving councillors adequate time to review it ahead of time, is simply irresponsible. It smacks of the mayor daring the solicitor general to step in. Frankly, it’s unprofessional and certainly doesn’t put the people of our city first.”

Annis campaigned on having a policing referendum and questioned the fact that the city, province, RCMP and Surrey Police Service all had their “own numbers” around police transition. She added the whole issue reflects badly on city hall.

“Doug McCallum didn’t trust our citizens to have a referendum or give them the facts, and neither does Brenda Locke,” noted Annis. “Both McCallum and Locke decided they knew best, and the mayor’s secret vote on Thursday, where our residents could not see or hear what was going on, reinforces how badly this entire issue has been handled from day one. 

“Our city and its residents deserve better, starting with sharing the facts, the real ones. Our residents deserve a city council that puts them first, and that certainly didn’t happen today.”