Seven-day mischief trial begins October 31, two weeks after municipal election
Surrey, B.C. (April 18, 2022): Surrey First Councillor Linda Annis says Doug McCallum’s “Halloween trial is a nightmare for Surrey voters and taxpayers,” coming two weeks after the municipal election on October 15.
“Surrey voters and taxpayers are really scratching their heads about this whole thing,” said Annis. “People cannot understand why this has taken so long, particularly since it boils down to one pretty simple question: did Doug McCallum get run over by a car or not? Meanwhile, Surrey taxpayers are on the hook for all of his legal bills which will be in the tens of thousands of dollars, and the actual trial isn’t until after the October 15 municipal election is over. So, here we have our city’s mayor up on charges, we’re paying his legal bills, and there’s no court case until after we’re supposed to vote. Will voters be willing to re-elect someone who has been charged and won’t be found guilty or innocent until after they vote? It’s going to make for a pretty interesting election campaign, and in some ways it speaks volumes about Doug McCallum’s entire chaotic and divisive term in office, his disrespect for Surrey residents, and his complete disregard for transparency and accountability.”
Annis has criticized having taxpayers pay for McCallum’s hefty legal bills, with no accountability and the mounting costs kept secret from Surrey residents.
“Taxpayers are not ATM machines, but that’s how he is treating them right now. We definitely need to change the rules at city hall. If the city is paying legal fees on behalf of a mayor or councillor, those fees should be made public,” noted Annis. “As for the new provincial rules governing local politicians, they don’t apply to this case because it happened prior to the change in the rules, but it’s certainly telling that if it was happening today, Doug McCallum would likely have to step aside until his court case was decided.”
Annis said voters will also be pretty cynical if McCallum tries to strike a deal on a lesser charge prior to election day. “He’s taken up a lot of police, court and lawyer time and voters are not going to forget how disruptive and costly this entire issue has been,” explained Annis. “If he does a deal and the case never goes to trial, Doug McCallum will still be judged in the court of public opinion, and that will have a big impact on election day.”