Only the Province Can Do the Right Thing: Councillor Linda Annis

Peter German’s commentary on cost of a proposed Surrey
Police Department raises even more red flags

Surrey, B.C. After reading the editorial by Peter German, a former RCMP Lower Mainland commander and the author of the recent report on money laundering in B.C., Councillor Linda Annis wants the provincial government to “step up and do the right thing” and shut down Doug McCallum’s plans for a Surrey Police Department until the city’s taxpayers have their say in a referendum.

“Peter German is one of Canada’s most respected former police officers, something the provincial government counted on when they asked him to look into money laundering in British Columbia,” noted Annis. “Mr. German’s editorial in today’s Vancouver Sun reinforces what I said a year ago about taxpayers facing ‘sticker shock’ when it comes to losing the RCMP in favour of a local police department.

His comments and point-by-point assessment of switching from the RCMP to a Surrey Police Department are at the heart of the growing opposition we’re seeing in Surrey to Doug McCallum’s pet project.

The costs are mounting and in the end we will get fewer officers, but pay more. Even more troubling is the fact that nothing about the SPD will make us safer. At the same time there is absolutely no transparency and no one at city hall will stand behind the numbers.”

Annis said Surrey residents should have the final say, not Doug McCallum or his four remaining Safe Surrey councillors. “Only the provincial government can fix this,” said Annis. “The mayor isn’t listening to Surrey residents, even though more than 43,500 people signed a petition to keep the RCMP and thousands of lawn signs are now popping up across the city urging city council to keep the RCMP.

I haven’t seen a grassroots movement like this anywhere in the Lower Mainland before, but the mayor just won’t listen. As a result, only the province can step up and do the right thing here. The provincial government needs to give Surrey residents the final say about policing in our city and that means a referendum.”

In his editorial, German said the quality of policing won’t change with a city force, and that good policing “boils down to having sufficient street resources and specialized units to deliver the level of policing” communities need. German added that Surrey residents should make their own choice about policing, “but with their eyes open” particularly when it comes to costs.

“Trading the yellow stripe of Canada’s national police for the blue stripe of a municipal force must not be a knee-jerk decision taken with blinders on,” explained German. “Taxpayers will endure the consequences for a generation.” Annis said costs are mounting by the day noting at least $129 million in transition costs, 15-20 per cent higher salaries for municipal officers, and a loss of the federal government’s 10 per cent subsidy for the RCMP in Surrey.

“By now, Victoria has heard loud and clear from the citizens of Surrey,” said Annis. “The provincial government needs to be the adult in the room and give our citizens a voice in deciding their police force, which is the single biggest cost in the city’s budget.”






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