Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum poses with an example of a Surrey Police cruiser after his State of the City Address at Civic Hotel on May 7. (File photo: Amy Reid)

LETTER:A referendum is needed for the Surrey police transition

Reader says timing isn't during the global pandemic

The Editor,

I have a few problems with the proposed police transition. First of all, many people think we had a referendum on the issue in the form of the 2018 Surrey municipal election.

I watch the news daily, and there was not one public mention of McCallum’s intention to get rid of the RCMP prior to that election. It came as a surprise to many – including many who voted for him, of which I was one – that he intended to switch to a municipal police force.

Because of the magnitude of this undertaking and the impact it will have on thousands of Surrey residents who work for the RCMP, it would seem to call for some public debate before it proceeds, since the voters are the ones who will have to pay for it. No public discussion or disclosure happened at that time, or has happened since.

We are also in the midst of a global pandemic which brings the loss of jobs, homes and even careers for so many. Add to that the displacement of thousands of RCMP workers in Surrey in the midst of this pandemic.

I think that all those involved in forging ahead with this police transition at this time need a reality check. As public servants, they should remember that their job is to look out for best interests of the citizens of Surrey, not to displace a large segment of the population in the middle of a global pandemic, and to abuse their position by pursuing personal goals at this time at the expense of the taxpayer.

A referendum on the matter would seem to be the only way to peacefully resolve the issue so that both sides of the transition would feel that their democratic rights had been respected.

Donna Bil, Surrey

Surrey Now Leader