Surrey Councillor Jack Hundial presented a notice of motion at Monday night’s council meeting asking that a “feasibility study” including a cost analysis be done by a major accounting firm on the city’s plan to swap out the Surrey RCMP for a city police department.
The idea, he said, is to “provide the council and the public with an accurate cost of transitioning from the RCMP to a municipal police force amongst this COVID-19 crisis.
“This review should include all and any additional costs that are paid through the city’s general revenues but are attributed to police work, such as risk management.”
But Mayor Doug McCallum shot it down.
“I’m not going to allow it,” he said, and for the following reasons.
“This council on the very first day after getting elected unanimously – you included – voted to go to our Surrey police. We have had two very large reports, probably the largest reports done on police change-over certainly in Canadian history and probably in North American history,” McCallum noted. “In those reports is full – and they were released, most of them – and the only parts that were retracted actually were by the RCMP, but those reports have full, formed disclosure of all the aspects of our new police force, including part of your thing where you want another study done, it has the full financial analyzing of what the projected costs were.”
McCallum said council has “done” its budget, “which has been approved by the majority, with those costs in it, and also based out over five years.”
The mayor said another reason he was calling Hundial’s motion out of order is that Surrey has “already been given” its new police force, at the end of February.
“We’re just waiting for the province to appoint their representatives to the police board,” McCallum said.
Hundial responded that the developments McCallum outlined were “pre-COVID, and there’s been no Order-In-Council yet in Victoria to establish Surrey police yet.”
McCallum’s reply to this was, “I’m sorry to advise you, I have a letter that it has been established.”
Hundial then challenged him to share it with all of council.
“If the province would like me to, I would be happy to,” McCallum rejoined.
“I would like it,” Hundial said.
“Councillor Hundial, I’m not arguing, I’m ruling that this motion is out of order,” McCallum said, to which Hundial replied, “And I’m asking for a sharing of information please.”
Said McCallum, “The letter I will share, if it can be released by the provincial government.”
On Wednesday, Hundial told the Now-Leader that according to Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth, “as of yet there’s been no Order-in-Council.”
“This letter that McCallum is talking about, certainly it’s not what he said it was, because there is no Order-In-Council as of yet.”
The Now-Leader has reached out to McCallum and B.C.’s Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General for clarification.
Hope Latham, public affairs officer for the ministry, replied in an email that ”No OIC has been deposited in relation to the Surrey police force.”