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Surrey mayor vents about policing court case at council meeting

‘I was shocked and surprised at the new information that was presented to Justice Kevin Loo,’ Brenda Locke says
Surrey Police patch from Twitter Brenda Locke photo by Anna Burns

Surrey Mayor Brenda Locke used her mayor’s report platform during the May 6 council meeting to vent about the City’s judicial review petition aimed at quashing Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth’s July 19, 2023 order that the RCMP must be replaced by the Surrey Police Service.

Justice Kevin Loo, presiding, reserved his decision after a five-day hearing that began April 29 in Vancouver and wrapped up on May 3. Locke attended all five days. When he will render his decision is not yet known.

“It is abundantly clear to me why the Province did not want this case to go to open court,” she said on May 6. “Even after five years of battling this issue I was shocked and surprised at the new information that was presented to Justice Kevin Loo.

“There has been a total lack of transparency and this case has shed light on so much we did not know but we certainly do now. I will be asking staff to prepare a corporate report for council once the full transcripts of the hearing have been released.”

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Locke continued that it “was disclosed in court that both the solicitor general and the chief of the SPS were fully aware of the number of officers needed to staff up the SPS and that it was 900, not 734, which has been repeatedly presented to the public. What makes it even more outrageous is that the number of 900 came from the ministry’s staff as it was revealed in the report done by Deloitte. As we now know, the cost to Surrey taxpayers is not an extra $30 million per year, it is actually, again, according to Deloitte, closer to $75 million a year.”

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Locke said the court case made clear “how ill-conceived and secretive this process has been from the beginning.

“Whether it be on the gross underestimation of the cost, to the unrealistic target dates, to complete the transition, information has not been forthcoming. The court was also told that the Solicitor General Mike Farnworth, premier Eby and premier Horgan and every single NDP MLA in Surrey stated that the decision on policing in Surrey was up to the City, which was suddenly reversed in July of last year.

Later, she added, “One other thing that happened during the course of the judicial review and that was that it was disclosed very openly that the solicitor general had been taping conversations without my knowledge. I’m deeply, deeply concerned about that, as I hope others are.”

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About the Author: Tom Zytaruk

I write unvarnished opinion columns and unbiased news reports for the Surrey Now-Leader.
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