Mayor Abusing In Camera Meetings To Avoid Transparency And Public

Councillor Linda Annis
Where is the independent ethics commissioner we agreed to in June 2019?

Surrey, B.C.: Councillor Linda Annis says Mayor Doug McCallum is abusing the in-camera process that allows the council to make decisions without transparency or public discussion.

“It’s becoming clear to all of us on the council that whenever the mayor wants to pass something controversial without discussion, transparency or public input, he slides it into an in-camera session of the council,” said Annis. “He knows that once we are in-camera our hands are tied and we can’t say anything publicly. Frankly, he’s taking advantage of the system and abusing the in-camera sessions of the council. The fact that I can’t even mention some of the things he’s brought to these behind-closed-doors sessions tells the real story and more often than not, he’s adding things to the meeting agenda at the very last minute without any notice. But, the minute the doors are closed, we can’t say a word publicly. It’s no way to run an open government and it’s certainly no way to treat Surrey residents. City business was never meant to be done in secret.”

Annis said it’s been a year since the council first approved an independent ethics commissioner. A hiring committee was struck several months ago but has yet to come forward with any results.

“In June of last year, we approved a motion to establish an independent ethics commissioner, making Surrey the first municipality in British Columbia to do so, and a code of conduct was approved by city councilors earlier this year,” said Annis. “It was a bold move we all supported on the council, but we haven’t heard a word from the selection committee which was stacked by the mayor with his Safe Surrey councilors. More and more, city hall and council are feeling like a fiefdom where the scales are tipped against our taxpayers who are kept in the dark when it comes to decision making and transparency. Frankly, if we ever get the ethics commissioner they’re going to be very busy.”






Leave a Reply