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…


Former Mayor Doug McCallum is taking another run for mayor, and one of the mallots he is swinging at opponents is their stance on crime.

On Aug. 1, McCallum retweeted a twitter post to Hepner saying “ridiculous for the city to continue to claim success on crime with current stats!! #surreybc Define success.” @LindaHepner.”

A look at the Leader archives shows McCallum’s record wasn’t that great either.

During his administration, we had the worst cops per population ratio in the country, and a far higher ranking nationally in violent crime.

At the time we had one officer per 902 population, when the national average was one per 700. Right now, we have one in 757.

Our cops were way more over-worked than they are now. In 2001, Surrey RCMP had a criminal case load per officer of 127, the highest around.

Last figures I saw from a few years ago, Surrey RCMP’s criminal case load per officer was 55.

In 2001, Surrey had the highest violent crime rate out of the nation’s 15 biggest cities, according to a 67-page document titled Police Resources in Canada 2002, prepared by the Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics, (which culled the figures from the year prior).
Surrey’s then-RCMP Superintendent Randy Bennett was unsurprised by the figures. 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


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.


Former Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum is giving serious consideration on running for the job again this fall.

The Leader has learned the South Surrey resident, who was ousted by Mayor Dianne Watts in 2005, is likely coming back for the centre chair this November.

Sources say he will make the announcement on July 7.

McCallum is one of three big names looking to run this city for the next four years, joining Surrey First’s Linda Hepner and Independent Barinder Rasode.

McCallum said in an interview Friday he’s giving it serious thought.

“I’m giving it consideration, but I haven’t made a decision yet,” McCallum said.

He says he has a lot of support.

“There is a lot of people out there pushing me, I’ll say that,” McCallum said. “I can see out there where there are people out there who think we need to have a tighter fiscal policy.” Read more…


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…


Interesting debate is forming around the notion that Surrey RCMP should have been notified that a man accused of killing a hockey mom here was found to be a risk of reoffending stemming from an assault five years ago.
Yosef Jomo Gopaul, 27, has been charged with the killing of hockey mom Julie Paskall on Dec. 29 last year. He remains not guilty of that offense unless proven otherwise in court.
It’s come to light this week that Gopaul was determined to be on the high end of medium risk of reoffending after attacking a woman in Brampton, Ontario.
Seems that might have been valuable information for police to have.
But Gopaul served his entire term for the assault in Ontario, and as such, was free to move about the country as he wished, without fear the Parole Board of Canada would send out relocation warnings to local police.
Surrey RCMP tell me this to be the case, and the Parole Board of Canada confirms it.
Some are now suggesting local police authorities should be warned when an offender at risk of reoffending relocates to their jurisdiction, whether they’ve served their full term or not.
Let’s forget for a moment the fact such a system wouldn’t likely stand up to Constitutional challenge.
What exactly would be the benefit?
Read more…


Courtesy of Boaz Joseph/The Surrey Leader

You can get a Surrey RCMP officer for 95 cents and a study suggests if you spend it, you’ll triple your return on that investment.
The 95-cents per officer is the financial impact annually for the owner of the average Surrey home worth $643,600.
It doesn’t seem like much, but when you’re dealing with an RCMP force the size of Surrey’s, those numbers start to add.
For instance, if the city were to commit to hire the 45 officers called for by Coun. Barinder Rasode, it would cost $42.75 per year.
Rasode is the mayoral candidate in waiting, a fact she’s only made public through the Surrey Leader.
Odds on favourite many people in Newton, where crime is skyrocketing, would be more than happy to spend that much.
It’s going to cost that same taxpayer $667.85 for the 703 members detachment this year (that’s after 30 more come in the fall).
For perspective, that’s 42 per cent of that taxpayer’s total annual property tax bill of $1,590.
Read more…