Monthly Archive:: July 2014


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


As we told you last month, former Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum will announce Monday that he’s once again running for the centre chair.
We told you first on June 27 the South Surrey resident, who was ousted by Mayor Dianne Watts in 2005, is coming back for a run at the centre chair this November.
McCallum is one of three big names looking to run this city for the next four years, joining Surrey First’s Coun. Linda Hepner and independent Coun. Barinder Rasode.
He said in an interview with us on June 27 he believes far too much money was wasted moving the city hall from Newton to Whalley, and thinks a much tighter reign on city finances is in order.
He believes the first issue that need to be tackled is crime.

“We have to address public safety end of it,” McCallum said. “I think it’s just a matter of sitting down and working with the RCMP and saying we want to see a lot more proactive and preventive type of policing and police officers on the streets. If that means more hiring more staff to hire their administrative duties, then we need to do that.”

He said council’s promise of 95 police officers over the next five years is fine, but that number should come in over the next two years.
McCallum wants to double the civic funding for Surrey Crime Prevention Society to bolster the presence of that public safety element.
He wants to see a much more proactive approach to crime reduction.
“Right now the police are a lot more reactive than investigative,” McCallum said. “Crime happens and they spend a lot of the time in the office writing it up. If we can get out in front of the crime, then you won’t have that.”
The second most pressing issue, he says, is transportation.
He said when he was chair of TransLink, the transportation authority “built a huge amount of transportation.”
It included the “largest order in the world of trolley buses,” and highway buses.
“We also built the Golden Ears Bridge and we built the Canada Line,” McCallum said.
McCallum said the current council has fallen short on its lobbying efforts to senior levels of government.
“You’ve got to talk to them every day, or every week,” McCallum said. “There’s windows of opportunity, and right now, federally, with an election next year, there’s a huge window of opportunity and we should be contacting Ottawa every week.”
He said development in this city has grown stagnant.
“In Newton… I guess I’m dismayed,” he said. “When we were involved, we were really looking at building that town centre and putting in a lot of recreation and community centres in behind the pool.”
He said he could boil down his concerns about Surrey into three topics: “Safe, clean and active.”
“I think we need to really, really get going on building in Newton and complete that recreation town hall concept in Newton.”
That work would have to start immediately.
“There’s been too much planning, too much talking, too much trips overseas, and consulting, and a ton of reports,” McCallum said. “I think it’s time to make decisions and get on with it.”
McCallum brings with him name recognition and experience. A fiscal conservative, McCallum has many members of the community who supported the job he did as mayor from 1996 to 2005.
However, he was ousted amid much controversy in 2005.
The most prominent issue was the time he constricted the scope of a sexual harassment investigation into one ofof his senior managers – first reported in The Leader in July 2005.
Despite the controversy, voters have short memories.
If McCallum and his supporters can play up his fiscal record (which included a 10-year freeze on taxes), the rest may be dismissed when it comes time to go to the polls.
I’m told on background that this campaign is going to get ugly fast. Candidates without thick skins may feel the heat in a big way.
Al Payne is running McCallum’s campaign, and he will be pitted against Rasode’s Mark Marrisen and Hepner’s Patrick Kinsella.
Kinsella was co-chair of the Liberal campaign that brought the big win in 2001, while Marrisen has had a long list of successful campaigns for federal Liberal leaders.
Payne has helped run campaigns for Sukh Dhaliwal and Surrey First Education. He bowed out of helping the latter this year so he could run the McCallum campaign.
The election will be held Nov. 15 this year.