A new civic slate is being formed to take on the competition for control of Surrey city hall.
Surrey Forward has registered itself with Elections BC but has yet to reveal a candidate. Brett Barden is listed as the fledgling slate’s authorized principal official and Oluwatobi Abisoye is the financial agent.
Both have ties to the provincial NDP – Barden as a constituency assistant hired by former Surrey-Green Timbers MLA Sue Hammell and Abisoye as a volunteer constituency assistant for Jinny Sims, MLA for Surrey-Panorama. Abisoye was also Sims’ financial agent in the 2020 provincial election, and Barden also served as Surrey NDP MLA Garry Begg’s riding president, in Surrey-Guildford.
“They did ask me to run a long time ago, as you know, before Christmas,” Sims said Tuesday, “even before they formed the organization, and things have not changed from my perspective, right now.
“I’m not trying to be coy, I do have a lot of pressure on me right now to run, from many different corners, but I still have not said yes,” Sims said. “But I’m flattered. I see the need, I’ll be honest, after I’m seeing what’s happening now. It’s the young kids who are saying to me we need somebody strong enough to come and clean out city hall. That’s the language they are using.”
Barden told the Now-Leader on Monday that Surrey Forward has been in the works for a few months.
“After spending nearly two decades organizing for progressive politicians in Surrey, I, along with a group of other organizers and politically minded activists, have decided that things at Surrey City Hall need to change,” Barden said. “So, we have put together a team to recruit forward-thinking candidates.”
Barden said the slate, still in the early planning stages, working through interviewing and recruiting potential candidates.
“What we’ve heard from a lot of potential candidates for Mayor and Council is they wanted to see an organization in place and a team on the ground who are prepared to help organize and put structure around the candidates. That’s what we are up to. No one is confirmed at this time and we look forward to exciting announcements in the months leading into the election.”