When Dianne Watts succeeded Doug McCallum as mayor of Surrey in 2005, she proved to be a transformative mayor and Surrey jokes diminished.
Back to the future, and McCallum is again mayor of Surrey. Along with promising to scrap approved light rail in a congested area of Surrey, and instead build a SkyTrain extension to Langley, McCallum is set to replace the RCMP with a municipal police force.
Much has been written about the high transition costs, ongoing increased costs and effectiveness or otherwise of this move. On Sept. 19, Watts was quoted by Province columnist Mike Smyth saying: “There was a continual battle with the police. He was not able to get along with the RCMP. With Doug, it was always his way or the highway.” Is there a connection with McCallum’s early performance and his desire to cancel the RCMP contract?
Too bad Doug chose not to enjoy retirement.
Will the Surrey jokes rebound?
E.H. O’Dell, Surrey
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The triumph of Doug McCallum as a new Surrey mayor is a triumph of people.
The electorate discovered silver-lining determination in his vision and navigation that can make it happen again – make Surrey a better place to live.
The simple reason behind the re-election of McCallum is that people remembered his previous performance. In last two terms under his mayorship, he offered distinguished integral service to the city community, therefore voters identified his competency as a veteran municipal politician fit for city mayor.
One of the most attractive points in his election campaign was that it’s a time to pause development and create smart development guidelines. In his agenda, SkyTrain, gang crime and pausing development were top issues highlighted to be undertaken seriously.
Hanif A. Patel, Surrey
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According to Elections BC, Doug McCallum garnered 41 per cent of the 33 per cent of the Surrey electorate that voted – which equates to 14 per cent of the population that actually voted for him for mayor.
The next two candidates between them managed to get 51 per cent of the actual votes – a majority of the actual vote. This tells me that less people voted for McCallum than those that did not vote for him.
Thus I do not believe that McCallum can speak for Surrey when it comes to the very important issues for example of dictatorially removing the RCMP from the City of Surrey and replacing them with a city police force and, with respect to transit, instituting a far more expensive SkyTrain over a light rail system (Surrey unanimously drops RCMP, LRT, Nov. 7).
Who does he think will pay for these extremely expensive and idiotic alternatives? His idea of the changing out of the premier Canadian police force is only one of his wanting to exert personal power together with that of his agenda over police employees that will not occur by having the RCMP in place – this is purely a political move that must not be accepted.
I believe that before McCallum unilaterally dismantles the RCMP force in Surrey and proceeds with SkyTrain, an official city referendum must be held. And unless a confirmation by 51 per cent of the approximate 337,000 registered voters of Surrey of either of these two proposals is made, then they must not be instituted.
The majority must be afforded the opportunity to determine our future and not the great minority.
Ivan Michael Scott, Surrey