Statement from the Mayor: Solicitor General's Decision on Policing in Surrey
Solicitor General Farnworth’s decision to continue with the transition to the Surrey Police Service is disappointing, misguided and based on inaccurate assumptions. What has occurred today is the undermining of a local government duly elected by its residents. The actions of the Solicitor General should serve as a warning to the autonomy of all municipalities in B.C.
It has also been disingenuous of the Provincial Government to present Council options on how policing in Surrey will proceed. It is very clear the City of Surrey never had a choice in this matter. We had a choice so long as we chose Minister Farnworth’s option.
What is equally frustrating is the amount of time it has taken for the Solicitor General to arrive at this point. His 8-month delay has now cost Surrey taxpayers more than $60M.
Today, the Minister tried to justify his decision to continue the transition to the Surrey Police Service under his authority in the Police Act. However, the Minister’s selective interpretation of the Police Act is of great concern. In addition to his authority to ensure adequate and effective policing under Section 2, the municipality is given the authority under Section 3(2) to choose the model by which they will police their municipality.
The Province has never produced a plan on how it intends to maintain public safety through the transition, nor have they ever directly met with us to outline their concerns with our plan.
In the coming days, I will be meeting with my Council colleagues and City Staff to explore our options. I will also be asking for a face-to-face meeting with the Minister to understand how he intends to compensate the significant tax burden that will be placed on Surrey residents and businesses as a result of his decision to continue with the Surrey Police Service.
Until I have the opportunity to have those meetings, I will not be commenting further.