Maz Artang is running for Surrey City Council as part of Barinder Rasode’s One Surrey team because he’s worried about public safety.
Maz believes our increasing crime rate is destroying Surrey’s reputation, and businesses are losing confidence while young people flock to nearby cities. Worst of all, residents don’t feel safe. Crime reduction is his top priority. With his slogan, “Get Involved. Demand Change,” Maz affirms it will take more than police to fix Surrey’s crime problem, and residents themselves must join together to make a stand.
Q & A with Maz Artang
Surrey604: Why are you running for a seat on Surrey City Council?
Maz: To my mind, Surrey is at a pivotal moment in time. This November we get to choose the direction we want to take Surrey. We can vote to move our city backwards with Doug MacCallum, accept the status quo of Linda Hepner and Surrey First, or demand change and move forward as one with Barinder Rasode. I believe that positive change will come to Surrey by motivating its residents to play a more active role in its collective future. That’s why I’m getting involved, to give a greater voice to residents and ensure more transparency and consultation at City Hall.
Surrey604: What will be your first action once elected to office?
Maz: The biggest issue facing Surrey at the moment is crime. The increasing rate of crime is tarnishing our reputation and affecting our quality of life. Residents of Surrey feel increasingly unsafe in their own backyards. As one of my first actions, I’m committed to initiating a comprehensive 360-degree public safety review to address crime from both a short-term and long-term perspective. Moreover, it’s important that new strategies to tackle crime & mental health are based on solid evidence, have measurable results and achieve the highest level of effectiveness. I look forward to working with others on council to move that file.
Surrey604: In your opinion, why does Surrey have a disproportionately high crime rate?
Maz: Over 1,000 people move to Surrey every month. This council has neglected to adequately fund public safety. Recently, the Fraser Institute released a report that found Surrey spend the least amount per capita on policing. To my mind, public safety is the first responsibility of government. There isn’t anything unique about Surrey that accounts for its disproportionately high crime rate, it’s simply that public safety has been a second thought to those currently on council. If we can find the money to build a new $150 million City Hall then surely we can find the resources to ensure that residents are kept safe.
Surrey604: Do you support the creation of a community court system for Surrey?
Maz: Yes, a community court system is one method that can be created to provide options to address problems around public safety, addiction, and domestic violence. It would help chronic offenders break the cycle of crime, and provide more resources for addictions and mental health treatment.
Surrey604: Would you support the creation of a new ward system?
Maz: Adequate consultation must occur with all of Surrey’s communities before implementing a ward system. There is a strong desire to return to the system of electing councilors representing the six communities of Surrey and it is something that needs to be seriously considered.
Surrey604: Which do you favour in terms of new transportation infrastructure? Sky Train, or Light Rail?
Maz: We need to get Surrey moving. The city needs to take the lead south of the Fraser in developing transit infrastructure. SkyTrain and LRT are just two pieces of a larger vision. We need more rapid buses and enhanced community shuttle service, as well as investing in roads, bridges, and intersections so families, businesses, cars, trucks, bikes, pedestrians and transit riders can get moving again. A strong economy depends on affordable transportation. That’s why I oppose the implementation of road-tolls and other costly transit taxes. To ensure that Surrey is receiving its fair share of transportation funding we need to work at building better relationships with our provincial and federal counterparts.
Surrey604: What can council do to ensure that Surrey remains the #1 place to invest?
Maz: Surrey needs vibrant, innovative ideas to remain a great place to raise a family and build a business. I’m running to advocate for our city’s growth through more accountable government, committed fiscal responsibility, and less red-tape. For too long Surrey has been defined by our problems, instead I believe it’s time we change course and be defined by our assets. We have the youngest population in the Lower Mainland and we’re growing at a phenomenal pace. Let’s harness that dynamism and make Surrey the location that companies choose to start up their new enterprise.
Surrey604: Do you favour abolishing the Surrey Regional Economic Summit?
Maz: No, I’m a big supporter of the Economic Summit. It’s grown to become one of the premier business and economic summits in North America. The Summit is a signature business event, one that puts Surrey on the map as a leader in the region on economic affairs. Hosting such a world-class forum shows the growing size and importance of Surrey and showcases our city as no other international event can. The Surrey Regional Economic Summit is a unique opportunity and one that I believe we should cherish.