(Photo: Now-Leader file)

Crime prevention

Justin Trudeau holds round-table on guns and gangs at Surrey YMCA

PM speaks with seniors, youth and representatives from grassroots movement called Wake Up Surrey

Wake Up Surrey leader Sukhi Sandhu said his group is expecting desired results after meeting with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at the YMCA in Panorama this week.

Wake Up Surrey is a grassroots movement aimed at stopping gang violence on this city’s streets.

“We stated very openly to our honourable prime minister that we will be doing a report card for his MPs but we also want to engage and work together with our MPs,” said Sukhi Sandu, a leader of the group. “This is not a political issue; this is an issue where we have to come together to save our children. We’ve also told him that we will be coming to Ottawa for our final report and he stated that he would look forward to meeting with us.”

Trudeau held a “round-table discussion” on gangs and gun control Tuesday afternoon at a YMCA in Surrey, with youths aged 13 to 18 who have been affected by gun violence.

“Unless I make deliberate efforts to actually hear directly from those living and going through the challenges and able to share with me their perspectives, I don’t get the full picture,” Trudeau said during the photo op. “Obviously there are significant challenges facing youth in Surrey, issues with guns and gangs.”

He did not take questions from reporters.

“I look forward to chasing out these people,” he said, pointing at the media present, “and hearing from all of you.”

Prior to the photo op, which ran roughly an hour late, police had reporters and videographers leave their equipment and bags in the middle of another room so a police dog could sniff them out.

Surrey Liberal MP Ken Hardie told the Now-Leader that Trudeau would be speaking with seniors, youth and representatives from .

“He wanted specifically to talk to young people about this,” and that’s why the round table was at the YMCA, Hardie explained.

The meeting, at Tong Louie Family YMCA at 14988 57th Ave., was also attended by Minister of National Defence Harjit Sajjan and Bill Blair, federal minister of border security and organized crime reduction and Assistant Commissioner Dwayne McDonald, officer in charge of the Surrey RCMP.

Sandhu said Wake Up Surrey also asked Trudeau for an independent review and comparative analysis of Canada’s borders and ports.

“How is it that there’s no drug activity in Seattle whereas here we’ve become a focal point for how are the drugs coming into our country?”

READ ALSO: Wake Up Surrey tackling gang violence with three summer programs

READ ALSO: Handgun ban issue fires up Surrey candidates

READ ALSO: Feds will spend $327.6 million a year to fight guns and gangs

READ ALSO: Months to wait before gangsters bounced out of Surrey bars

READ ALSO: Trudeau ‘officially launches’ SNG light rail transit line in Surrey



tom.zytaruk@surreynowleader.com

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