Author Description

Kevin Diakiw

I've covered Surrey politics for 19 years, crime in this city for about seven. It's always fun reporting in Surrey, and it's about to get amazing.

Last Friday morning (Jan. 19), Surrey council met with Liberal members of the  federal governments to discuss matters of housing, public safety, rapid transit, parks plans, and the opioid crisis.

Familiar faces at the table included Liberal MPs Sukh Dhaliwal, John Aldag, Randeep S. Sarai, Gordon Hogg and Ken Hardie and most of Surrey council.

Mayor Linda Hepner told me on Facebook this was an “info sharing” meeting to explore potential partnerships.

These types of meetings are easy to write off as political bun tosses, orchestrated for publicity. It’s easy to understand how folks could come to that conclusion. I’ve covered scores of these meetings, many that seemed to be nothing more than an attempt to generate media attention. Read more…

The City of Surrey is embarking on a massive overhaul, as departments within the municipality are being completely reorganized, Postdeadline has learned.

Postdeadline has received a copy of a confidential memo sent to all City of Surrey departments regarding the changes within the organization.

The March 15 notice from Surrey City Manager Vincent Lalonde indicates Surrey will create a Department of Corporate Services, which will oversee legal services, human resources and information technology.

“The role will focus on aligning and optimizing the work of various teams that support the overall core deliverables of the city,” Lalonde writes in the memo.

In addition, Surrey will be creating a position for Director, Strategic Initiatives and Corporate Reporting.

This department will be responsible for ensuring “select strategic initiatives” that span multiple departments are delivered smoothly and effectively. Read more…

Throughout 2005, there were whisperings at Surrey city hall that women were being harassed by a senior manager.

A few brave women came forward and spoke with me about their experiences, and how an investigation into the allegations seemed to have disappeared.

It took me the better part of that year to discover then-mayor Doug McCallum, had restricted the scope of an external investigation to one complaint, even though more had become apparent.

That investigation, was conducted by Vancouver lawyer Richard Hamilton who expressed concerns about having its scope narrowed.

“Each of the witnesses whom I met exhibited fear of retribution as a result of providing information,” Hamilton wrote in an April 7, 2015 letter to McCallum and Surrey’s human resources department. “It would be inappropriate for me to expand upon the results of my investigation to date. However, I can say that, if the information provided to me by a number of witnesses were accepted, there would be a prima facie case that the Respectful Workplace Policy has been violated.” Read more…

It took one dead child to bring world awareness to 3.9 million refugees in Syria annually the 20 million refugees worldwide each year.
It took one dead lion to draw global attention to the 600 lions and 100 million other animals killed annually for sport.
Next month, Canadians will be given one vote.
It has the power to bring about certain change.
This isn’t an indictment against any ONE politician or political party.
That would be wholly unfair.
But there is something broken with this world, and it needs fixing quickly.
I’m tired of hearing people saying their vote doesn’t count.
That’s a cop out.
The fix to these problems doesn’t start with government policy changes.
It starts with a vote.
If ONE child and ONE lion can change the world so dramatically, so can you.
Educate yourself, and cast your ballot on Oct. 19.

Cop cars-ES


In general, numbers don’t lie.

From the figures we’re looking at in the second quarter Surrey RCMP statistics paint a pretty dangerous picture of this city.

Violent crime is up 34 per cent in the first half of this year compared to the same period in 2014.

Even more frightening is attempted murder is up a whopping 600 per cent by the same comparison. Those numbers are driven by Newotn (up 900 per cent) and Whalley (up 300 per cent). The rest have remained static.

Remember, it’s in Whalley and Newton (primarily the latter) where an orgy of violence has unfolded since March, while two groups have been gunning for each other over lucrative dial-a-dope turf.  In all, there were more than 36 shootings since March 9 alone, half of which were the work of these gangsters.

Police don’t like to call them that, but let’s call it what it is. These young men (mostly in their 20s) are operating in a semi-organized fashion, firing live rounds at each other in a very public way.

I’m going with gangster.

Read more…


I’m an undecided voter, and I’m not too crazy about that.

Normally, I have a pretty good indication by now who will be getting the X beside their name in November.

This year, I have no idea.

I have the sense there are a whole host of people in this city in the same situation.
No one has said or done anything that’s got me leaping in their direction in an electoral sense.

Platforms are generally the same, with some minor difference.

A star hasn’t risen out of the batch.

I am completely unsure of where my vote will go.

My only way out, as I see it, is this.

I need to investigate the hell out of their platforms, and make sure they’re all buttoned down tight.
Every promise has to be fully funded, and not take away from critical services in this city, or add onerous fees by way of taxes or admission to recreation centres.

The candidates have to be completely aware of all of the issues, not just the obvious problem of crime.
One-issue candidates never do well in this city.

There are a ton of other concerns they need to address.

Planning, bylaw enforcement, transportation, social problems like mental health and addictions, housing, just to name a few.

Candidates have to compose themselves well, and stand up firmly under pressure.

So, mayoral hopefuls, I’m coming with questions you might not want to hear. I may press a little hard if you seem dodgy.

I won’t apologize for that.
This city is at a critical juncture.
The right man or woman needs to be in that centre chair for the next four years.

I have six and a half weeks to figure out who that is.

Maybe, just maybe, our readers will benefit out of my zeal to sort this out.


Linda Hepner is swinging back at her opponents today. Photo: Evan Seal/Surrey Leader

After launching what can only be described as a limp, sleep-inducing promotional video, Saturday morning, Linda Hepner came out hours later swinging hard at her opponents for politicizing personal tragedy in two recent killings.

I awoke to a tweet by Surrey First entreating me to check out this video, which is a three minutes and 15 seconds of her team members voicing unconditional support for her.

Team support is kind of assumed. A lot of people in social media wanted to know what the city thought of her.

After taking some heat on Twitter for dodging the crime issue, Surrey First, and Hepner came out swinging. Blogger Esmir Milavic also tore into her on Battleground Surrey.

“Frankly, our community and our citizens deserve a more serious conversation about crime and public safety than the one I’m seeing these days on social media,” Hepner writes on “Right now, we’re seeing a lot of people jockeying for position, taking shots at one another, trying to score political points off family tragedies, or making wild and unsubstantiated claims that are only aimed at scaring people.” Read more…

Beau Simpson

Time, I think, to address the elephant in the room.
There’s a fair amount of rumbling in the community about Now newspaper editor Beau Simpson pairing up with former Mayor Doug McCallum to run for civic office this fall.
Candidates from other camps are crying foul, suggesting that at least the potential for slanted coverage may have been under way prior to Simpson’s announcement.
Here’s the nut of it.
In journalism, as in politics, credibility is everything.
The real estate of trustworthiness is gained in inches and lost in miles.
Also like politics, in newsrooms it’s not only paramount to be unbiased, but to be seen as being even-handed.
It must be noted that the staff at The Now are consummate professionals. I’ve worked beside them all and every one of them is skilled and in this business for the right reasons.
I also consider them friends.
I feel terrible for them and the position in which they now find themselves.
Simpson told staff at the paper just before he announced to the public he was taking a leave of absence as editor and running for public office.
He could have greatly mitigated some of the optics problems by taking his leave a couple of months earlier. Stories during that time would be in less doubt, and if they were questioned, it would be far earlier in the electoral process.
I’m told when he left, he urged his staff to treat him like any other candidate.
Easily said. Read more…


Doug McCallum announced this morning he’s running with four council candidates in his bid to regain the mayor’s chair.

They include Surrey Now newspaper editor Beau Simpson – who is on leave from the paper to run for council – lawyer Justin Thind, business owner Rina Gill and community advocate Laurie Guerra. (Information about the candidates can be found at

Even some of McCallum’s detractors say the news is big for him.

Read more…


Mayoral candidate Linda Hepner during her interview with The Surrey Leader where she called for a ferris wheel at the south end of the Pattullo Bridge. Photo/Evan Seal

Coun. Linda Hepner wants a ferris wheel at the Surrey side of the Pattullo Bridge.

And despite her claims in the Globe and Mail and Province newspapers, there was nothing “flippant” about the claim she made to the Surrey Leader during her interview earlier this year.

The call for a ferris wheel wasn’t very popular among the public. A recent poll indicated 72 per cent of respondents thought it was a bad or very bad idea.

The most common response to problems like the one Hepner faced was to shoot the messenger. This case was no different, and probably came from the campaign brain trust for her mayoral bid.

These things usually work, save and except when the messenger has a tape of the interview, which Hepner knew all along was being recorded.

Hepner’s team previously suggested I broke an embargo when The Surrey Leader broke the story that she was running.

The audio of that interview puts that suggestion to a complete lie. Read more…