Surrey Politics Archive

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…


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.


For grins, I cobbled together policing strengths in Surrey for the past 30 years.
The exercise was quite revealing on a number of  counts.
Firstly, as I expected, the worst police to population ratio in those three decades was one cop per 911 people. It was under former Mayor Doug McCallum’s reign, and the poor policing strengths came on the heels of a federal shut-down of the RCMP training facility in Regina.
During two years before McCallum’s low ratio, we only got four cops per year. I was covering council at the time, I know the city was asking for more.
But Surrey wasn’t requesting enough to bring us to the national average of one officer in 700 people at the time. Our poor police strength made headlines.
In 2003, Coun. Dianne Watts, then Coun. Dianne Watts told The Surrey Leader if she could, she would hire 100 cops right away if she could.
She told me at the time McCallum wasn’t happy with his rogue councillor. Read more…


Anyone wondering what that immense thunderclap was over South Surrey on Thursday night, it was a Barinder Rasode’s unannounced mayoral campaign receiving a huge reception at MyShanti, Vikram Vij’s new restaurant.

For the first time since it opened, Vij shut down his Indian restaurant for a private party.

What was stunning about the event celebrating Rasode, is that every political stripe was represented.

There was Rasode’s team of course, which includes former NDP president Moe Sahota and federal Liberal Mark Marissen.

There was also the likes of Liberal MLA Marvin Hunt and Surrey Board of Trade CEO Anita Huberman.

Huberman noted that she was also at a Surrey First event in celebration of mayoral candidate Linda Hepner.

What is astonishing about this broad spectrum of celebrants is Rasode hasn’t yet publicly declared she is running.

It seems obvious to all, inlcuding Vij who announced her as “Surrey’s next mayor” before her speech.

Read more…


The day before he will announce he’s running for the city’s top job, former Mayor Doug McCallum has broken into the social media and created a website for his campaign.

As of last week, he solicited the services of mayoral campaign manager Al Payne and communications manager Jonathan Ross.

I asked Payne on Thursday whether he was going to run McCallum’s campaign, and he said it had only been discussed on a cursory level at an unrelated event. No decision whatsoever had been made.

The next morning a press release went out announcing a press gathering for McCallum. It was signed by Payne.

Not a big fan of people playing fast and loose with the truth, I called Payne and expressed my concern, and suggested his campaign and relationship, at least with me, was off to a bad start.

He apologized and then talked (with Ross on speaker phone) about how he was the McCallum-for-mayor campaign manager, the issues, and what it was going to be like going against Patrick Kinsella (Linda Hepner’s campaign manager) and Mark Marrisen (Barinder Rasode).

We dutifully published on this site and in the Surrey Leader that McCallum was running for mayor.
Payne denied he made any such comment to us in another publication.

This is generally a bad way to start a campaign.

The truth will out — it always does.

There’s a couple of mayoral campaigns off to a slippery start with being less than truthful to the media.

It’s bad policy and bad practice and has a habit of biting candidates in the rump.

McCallum’s twitter account is @mccallum4mayor, his website is


Linda Hepner sits in a sofa chair in the living room of her comfortable South Surrey home and tells The Leader in an exclusive interview what many have suspected for some time.

She would be announcing in a few weeks that she would be Surrey First’s choice for mayor heading into this November’s election.

She says she has the full support of her team to lead them into the next civic election.

The only other contender for the job within the Surrey First ranks was Coun. Bruce Hayne, who stepped aside and said he was backing Hepner.

She sat down with The Leader on June 2, under the condition that the paper not publish the story until the day before she announced it. Read more…