We’ve become a fact-free city, and we’ll have to wait for a change of mayor and council in October to get the truth: Councillor Linda Annis
Surrey, B.C. (April 26, 2022): Surrey First Councillor Linda Annis says she is “skeptical at best” when she looks at the city’s 2021 consolidated financial statements that were approved during last night’s council meeting.
“Like most things at city hall these days, it’s hard to get the straight goods or believe much of anything that’s coming out from Mayor Doug McCallum and his four councillors,” said Annis. “Everything they do lacks transparency, and that makes me nervous about financial statements and the city’s finances.”
Annis said today’s press release put out by the mayor regarding the financial statements for 2021 do nothing to lift that lack of transparency because the numbers come with no detail, and no real opportunity to scrutinize them, particularly the real cost of police transition.
Annis has previously called for an Auditor General for the City of Surrey, like Canada’s largest cities and senior levels of government have, to hold politicians and governments accountable and ensure greater transparency around spending and the effectiveness of costly programs.
“The mayor has tried to use numbers that show the Surrey Police Service in a better financial light than the Surrey RCMP,” explained Annis. “But the fact is the RCMP, even with their well-deserved pay increase, is still less expensive than the SPS, and the real cost of Doug McCallum’s police transition is nowhere to be found. Looking at how late the transition is, and how costs have escalated over the past couple of years, I’m estimating the real cost of police transition will be well over $200 million. But we won’t know those details until a new mayor and council get the chance to go through the books. After nearly four years, the people of Surrey have learned the hard way to take what this mayor and his councillors say with big grains of salt. We’re just not getting the straight goods and that will not change until after October 15 and the municipal election.
“This is the same mayor who promised a 2.9 per cent property tax increase that never materialized, who kept pools and rinks and rec centres closed just to use the money for police transition, who cancelled the new Cloverdale Ice Complex that was under construction, then brought it back with a higher price tag, who refuses to reveal the actual cost of police transition, who won’t tell Surrey residents how much his legal bills are, and who shut down ethics investigations for the next six months,” Annis said. “There’s a pattern here, and when you take it all together and you look at these financial numbers, you shake your head because this city deserves better, and we’re just not getting it from this mayor and his four councillors. As far as I’m concerned, we have become a fact-free city, at least until October 15.”