In the days leading up to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police’s centennial anniversary, Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum has declared an RCMP “Appreciation Day” in the city.
“I, Doug McCallum, hereby declare Feb. 1, 2020, as a Royal Canadian Mounted Police Appreciation Day in the City of Surrey,” McCallum said in a prepared statement that he read from throughout the entire proclamation.
During Monday’s council meeting, McCallum noted the national force’s history, stating that in 1919, the federal government voted to merge the Northwest Mounted Police and the Dominion Police. The RCMP officially formed on Feb. 1, 1920.
“The Royal Canadian Mounted Police has continued to grow as a police force with jurisdiction in eight provinces and three territories. Through its national police services, (it) offers resources and support to other Canadian enforcement agencies,” he said, appearing to mumble through the entire proclamation.
But partway through his proclamation, McCallum was interrupted by someone in the gallery who yelled, “We can’t hear you, mayor.”
McCallum went on to say that RCMP employees “have given much to our communities in terms of services and sacrifice.”
“There is a need to recognize, to show appreciation for, and to celebrate the history of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police force in British Columbia on this centennial anniversary of its inception in Canada.”
Surrey isn’t the only government to declare RCMP Appreciation Day. In December, the province proclaimed Feb. 1, 2020 as RCMP Appreciation Day in B.C.
Locally, Surrey RCMP Corporal Elenore Sturko said the detachment may do some social media posts to commemorate the anniversary and “recognize it internally,” but there aren’t any activities planned.
“We’ll be having our annual open house and we may be reflecting our anniversary at our open house with some information and stuff like that, and maybe something fun,” said Sturko, adding that the open house will happen in May, but a date hasn’t been formalized.
McCallum’s proclamation drew some critical comments because of his desire for a municipal police force.
— Anita Huberman (@anitahuberman) January 28, 2020
And now for today’s Doug-Did-What? McCallum announces 1 Feb as #SurreyBC #RCMP appreciation day. It’s early though! Who knows what other McCallum Gem today will bring. #bcpoli https://t.co/nwAxu3Zq36 pic.twitter.com/B4q1jDZqpo
— Brian McKenna, CD Retired #CAF Warrant Officer (@BrianMcKennaCD) January 28, 2020
During this council’s inaugural council meeting on Nov. 5, 2018, McCallum and his Safe Surrey Coalition majority, along with lone Surrey First Councillor Linda Annis, voted to unanimously pull out of the RCMP contract.
The provincial government has since approved the City of Surrey’s police transition plan in August of 2019.
The report has since been forwarded to Wally Oppal, who is in charge of the joint city-provincial committee tasked with overseeing the transition. He said it would take him a month to determine if it “passes muster.”
It would then be sent to the director of policing, Brenda Butterworth-Carr, Oppall said. If it “meets the appropriate standards,” it would then be sent off to Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General Mike Farnworth.
– with files from Tom Zytaruk