Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum. (File photo)

Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum. (File photo)

Surrey mayor taking it on the chin during budget public hearing

So far, he’s cut five callers off during Monday’s virtual meeting

Surrey’s finance committee’s public hearing dealing with the 2021 city budget Monday afternoon devolved into a fierce verbal attack against Mayor Doug McCallum as speaker after speaker lined up, virtually speaking, to give him what-for.

So far the mayor has cut five callers off as the meeting is still going on, digitally.

“Your comments must be respectful,” McCallum said at the outset. “I’ll say it again, you must be respectful.”

Surrey’s general manager of financing Kam Grewal says the city’s policing transition from the Surrey RCMP to the Surrey Police Service is expected to be “fundamentally complete” by the end of 2022.

READ ALSO: Surrey mayor, councillor, a canyon apart on proposed tax hike

READ ALSO: Surrey’s $40M forecasted deficit now expected to be $416k surplus by year’s end

READ ALSO: Surrey to get 10 more firefighters under proposed city budget

READ ALSO: Surrey’s top cop blindsided by $45M budget reduction, says memo obtained by ‘Now-Leader’

READ ALSO: Model says $2.9 million spent on Surrey policing transition so far

Ivan Scott, organizer of the Keep the RCMP in Surrey campaign, called the plan an ‘immoral and deceptive budget” and accused McCallum of “haughtiness.” He characterized the budget as an “attack and assault” on low income earners and charged that the current council is the “worst municipal government in Surrey’s history.

“It is personal, Mr. McCallum,” Scott said. “You’re shoving your hand into my pocket.

He denounced the budget as the “deepest display of trickery.”

McCallum thanked Scott for his comments.

Resident Debbie Johnstone called the budget a “kick in the gut,” as well as “insulting, heartless, cruel and mean-spirited.”

She was cut off after telling McCallum “there is a special place in hell for you.”

Resident Richard Landale was also cut off.

“Just a minute!” he protested. “You can’t cut me off!”

READ ALSO: ‘It’s just so easy to hit the button and mute somebody,’ Surrey councillor says of virtual meetings

Lori Haliburton accused the mayor of using his power to “abuse us.

“You are jeopardizing my health and my safety at my expense,” she said.

Other speakers hurled words at McCallum like “horrific” and “shame on you.”

One speaker slammed what she called “stupidly arrogants budget increases.

“McCallum shows no compassion with these tax increases,” she said.

Anita Huberman, CEO of the Surrey Board of Trade, presented a 12-page treatise on the proposed budget.

“We need tax relief for businesses and residents,” Huberman said. She called on city hall to focus on economic recovery, “pause the police transition” and “put a hold on the parcel tax increase.”

Prior to the meeting, Surrey First Councillor Linda Annis issured a press release in which she denounced the proposed 2021 city budget as a “public safety and financial minefield.

“This budget includes a massive property tax increase, more than $130 million in borrowing, and a $45 million cut to the RCMP,” she said. “In addition, we’re actually borrowing $7 million to pay operating expenses, something every business and family in Surrey knows is no way to stay afloat or manage your home or business. We’re literally spending more than we’re taking in and that always costs taxpayers in the long run.”

Annis said the draft budget, the “incredible tax increases” and Surrey’s “struggling finances” can be “connected by a straight line” to the policing transition, “where every available dollar, even during the pandemic, is being syphoned off to pay the growing cost” of the Surrey Police Service.

Annis said the budget “should go back to the drawing board” because it is not ready for a council vote and needs a serious rethink.

Annis warned that the $45 million cut in the RCMP budget “means the RCMP will be out of money by October 1,” while it’s not certain the Surrey Police Service “will be completely up and running by the end of September.



tom.zytaruk@surreynowleader.com

Like us on Facebook and follow Tom on Twitter

budgetCity of Surrey

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Pixabay image
Surrey recovers 29,000 jobs it lost to pandemic

That’s according to Surrey Board of Trade’s fifth Surrey Labour Market Intelligence Report on COVID-19

Desmond Tompkins helped curate and host a youth art show at the South Surrey/White Rock Learning Centre. (Contributed photo)
South Surrey/White Rock Learning Centre art show highlights ‘diverse perspectives’

With COVID-19 protocols in place, youth art show underway

RCMP Isp. Benoit Maure (top right) has written a book, Leading at the Edge, which details Canadian peacekeeping missions, including his own 1999 mission in Guatemala (bottom right). (Contributed photos)
Longtime RCMP officer pens book on Canadian peacekeeping efforts

RCMP Insp. Benoit Maure’s new book, Leading at the Edge, features stories from 10 missions

The SACH Community Hub team, from left to right: Upkar Singh Tatlay, Gary Thandi, Allysha Ram, Jassy Pandher, Harman Pander. (Submitted photo)
There’s help for South Asian men wrestling with drug addiction in Surrey

South Asian deaths related to toxic drugs increased by 255 per cent between 2015 and 2018

Crews with Discovery Channel film as an Aggressive Towing driver moves a Grumman S2F Tracker aircraft around a 90-degree turn from its compound and onto the road on Saturday, Jan. 23, 2021. It was the “most difficult” part of the move for the airplane, one organizer said. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: Vintage military plane gets towed from Chilliwack to Greater Victoria

Grumman CP-121 Tracker’s eventual home the British Columbia Aviation Museum on Vancouver Island

The Independent Investigations Office of BC (IIO) is looking into the death of man discovered Jan. 11 in east Maple Ridge. (Black Press files)
B.C.’s police watchdog investigating man’s death in Maple Ridge

Man was found dead Jan. 11 after recent contact with police

Chilliwack Law Courts. (Black Press file)
Man sentenced to 20 months for sexual offences involving a minor in Mission

Will Laws Clark was 22 and victim was 13 at time offences began

Rolling seven-day average of cases by B.C. health authority to Jan. 21. Fraser Health in purple, Vancouver Coastal red, Interior Health orange, Northern Health green and Vancouver Island blue. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
2nd COVID vaccine doses on hold as B.C. delivery delayed again

New COVID-19 cases slowing in Fraser Health region

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry talk about the next steps in B.C.’s COVID-19 Immunization Plan during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, January 22, 2021. Two more cases of the COVID-19 strain first identified in South Africa have been diagnosed in British Columbia, bringing the total to three as of Jan. 16.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. now has three cases of South African COVID-19 variant, six of U.K. strain

Both variants are thought to spread faster than earlier strains

Rodney and Ekaterina Baker in an undated photo from social media. The couple has been ticketed and charged under the Yukon’s <em>Civil Emergency Measures Act</em> for breaking isolation requirements in order to sneak into a vaccine clinic and receive Moderna vaccine doses in Beaver Creek. (Facebook/Submitted)
Great Canadian Gaming CEO resigns after being accused of sneaking into Yukon for vaccine

Rod Baker and Ekaterina Baker were charged with two CEMA violations each

Police discovered a makeshift nightclub in a Vancouver apartment on Jan. 23, 2021, and say it wasn’t the first time this month officers have been called to the unit over social gathering concerns. (Phil McLachlan - Capital News)
Doorman of makeshift ‘booze-can’ in Vancouver apartment fined; police look to court order

This marks the fourth complaint about social gatherings inside the apartment in January

A Kelowna couple welcomed their Nooner baby in December. (Flytographer)
Kelowna couple welcomes baby girl from Hotel Zed Nooner campaign

Nicole and Alex will now have 18 years of free stays at the hotel

Most Read