Renewed push on to keep George W. Bush out of Surrey

Opponents fired up after former U.S. president pulled out of Toronto event.

Former U.S. president George W. Bush is scheduled to speak in Surrey next month.

Former U.S. president George W. Bush is scheduled to speak in Surrey next month.

Opponents of George Bush’s visit to Surrey next month are encouraged after the former U.S. president cancelled a Toronto engagement amid public controversy.

Bush had been scheduled to appear at a breakfast hosted by Tyndale University College and Seminary next Tuesday, but backed out as students from the school protested the former president’s track record.

A note on the university’s website said Bush had cancelled due to a “scheduling change.”

Blogger Sandra Finley is applauding the Toronto students for speaking up, and she’s lobbying Surrey council to cancel Bush’s appearance in this city on Oct. 20 at the annual Surrey Regional Economic Summit.

He is scheduled to speak at the event at the Sheraton Vancouver Guildford Hotel, along with former president Bill Clinton and other guests.

Finley, who lives in Saskatoon, has been lobbying Surrey council to remove Bush from the list of speakers.

“I started phoning Surrey city councillors… the conversation with Councillor Bob Bose was great,” Finley wrote on her website http://sandrafinley.ca.

She added there’s a civic election this year and voters should let their opinions be known at the polls.

Mayor Dianne Watts said Friday there’s no plans to withdraw Bush from the Surrey Regional Economic Summit.

“This is not a political event. It’s up to him whether he chooses to come or not,” Watts said.

She said council also received emails regarding former Prime Minister Tony Blair’s arrival at the economic summit two years ago.

“If we only spoke to people that we liked, and that we agreed with, we would never learn anything,” Watts said. She noted Bush and Clinton will appear on stage together for a relatively short period.

“They are a piece of the summit, they are not the entire summit,” she said.

kdiakiw@surreyleader.com