View of Surrey City Hall. (File photo: Tom Zytaruk)

View of Surrey City Hall. (File photo: Tom Zytaruk)

ZYTARUK: Divided Surrey council engrossed in mutual crocodile death roll

There’s no seeing eye-to-eye in total war

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Safe Surrey Coalition’s rejection of rival Councillor Jack Hundial’s recent motion, in which he called on the city to acknowledge at the outset of council and committee meetings that these are convened on First Nations territory, has earned some rebuke for the dominant force on council.

This motion, like so many that came before it, was predictably dispatched via what has become a trademark 5-to-4 voting pattern.

The merits of Hundial’s motion aside, let’s look at this through a different lens.

Had Hundial presented a motion that each of the five Safe Surrey Coalition council members be gifted with a burlap sack bursting with gold coins, the result would no doubt have been the same.

This is, after all, a council where the “In” group and the “Out” group have become engrossed in a mutual crocodile death roll, politically speaking. There’s no seeing eye-to-eye in total war. Indeed, rare is it in Canada when a private member’s bill from an opposition MP or MLAs gets approved, and this sorry state of cynicism has bled down to the civic level.

Dedicated Surrey council scrutinizer Richard Landale, a resident of Fleetwood, has painstakingly examined all motions presented by council members in 2020 with interesting though not unforeseen results, considering the Safe Surrey Coalition, with its five of nine votes on council, calls the shots.

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Graph by Richard Landale

READ ALSO: McCallum says First Nations are treated ‘better in Surrey literally than anywhere’

According to Landale’s research, of motions presented by SSC members on council, all motions presented by Mayor Doug McCallum and councillors Doug Elford and Laurie Guerra were carried, and about two-thirds of Councillor Allison Patton’s were as well.

Not a bad batting average for the “In” group.

Councillor Mandeep Nagra (also SSC) and Independent Councillor Steven Pettigrew did not present notices of motion, according to Landale’s reckoning.

Councillor Linda Annis of Surrey First, and Brenda Locke of Surrey Connect, habitually fire all kinds of motions at council’s wall but few tend to stick. Annis filed the most of any council member (14 in all) in 2020 with little to no success. Some of these didn’t even get to a vote, having been ruled out of order by the mayor.

Locke didn’t fare much better. Nor did Hundial, also of Surrey Connect.

So, was the debate over Hundial’s First Nations acknowledgment motion engaged in earnest, or was it just theatre?

Did his motion have any hope of passing, once out of the gate?

What do you think?



tom.zytaruk@surreynowleader.com

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