I just got off the phone with a well-moneyed political organizer who wants to see Doug McCallum running for mayor this fall.
McCallum told The Leader last year he had no interest running for council, but I’m told he’s working the campaign trail.
It comes now, that some in this city want to see him run for mayor.
The abiding question is, could he win?
With the right kind of funding and community support, of course he could.
He still brings with him a huge amount of name recognition, and there are members of the community who loved the job he did as mayor from 1996 to 2005.
He is a fiscal conservative, which has a lot of clout in this city, particularly in the vote-rich south.
However, McCallum brings with him a significant amount of baggage from his time as mayor.
The most notable of which was the time he constricted the scope of a sexual harassment investigation of one of his senior managers, first reported in The Surrey Leader in July, 2005.
Months before the story broke, Vancouver lawyer Richard Hamilton was hired to look into the issue after Surrey’s human resources department received a complaint of sexual harassment.
Hamilton found more who had been affected.
“Each of the witnesses whom I met exhibited fear of retribution as a result of providing information,” Hamilton wrote in a letter to McCallum and the HR department at the time.
McCallum told Hamilton to keep his search to the one complaint.
“He advised that since he had only been made aware of one complaint, that was the only one which the city was willing to investigate,” Hamilton wrote in the letter obtained by The Surrey Leader newspaper.
McCallum said his actions were in keeping with the city’s Respectful Workplace Policy.
Despite the controversy, voters have extremely 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.
His presence on the mayoral scene, if he chooses to go there, completely changes the landscape for Surrey First’s choice and contender Barinder Rasode.
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