A ‘tsunami of resistance” against Surrey’s plan to swap out the Mounties for its own police force is expected to sweep into Premier John Horgan’s Vancouver office on Friday.
The Keep the RCMP in Surrey campaign intends to deliver a 40,008-signature petition to Horgan’s office at high noon on Valentine’s Day, hoping it will encourage the provincial government to pull the plug on the city’s plan to put the RCMP in its rear-view mirror.
Ivan Scott, coordinator of the campaign, said 41 box loads each containing 1,000 signatures will be brought down by jeep to Horgan’s office at 999 Canada Place.
“We’re hoping that this will actually just reinforce our claim that there is more than just a groundswell of resistance, it’s a massive resistance, it’s like a tsunami of resistance,” Scott told the Now-Leader, “against getting rid of the RCMP in Surrey. Every one of those signatures basically was obtained within the confines of the boundaries of Surrey.”
“We’ve never gone out of Surrey,” he said.
He said nearly 8,000 of those signatures came from the South Asian community, dispelling the idea that this issue is divided along cultural lines.
Scott said a final batch of 10,000 signatures – making for 50,000 – will be delivered to Horgan in Victoria, at the Legislature, on March 31.
On Aug. 22, 2019 Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth gave Surrey the go-ahead to pursue the establishment of a made-in-Surrey police force, under the auspices of the provincial government.
At Surrey council’s inaugural meeting on Nov. 5th, 2018 it served notice to the provincial and federal governments it is ending its contract with the RCMP – which has policed these parts since May 1, 1951 – to set up its own force. The city’s 189-page proposed transition plan, revealed in June 2019, states the new force will “go live” on April 1, 2021 at an operating cost of $192.5 million for that year.
Former B.C. Supreme Court judge and attorney general Wally Oppal, who is in charge of overseeing the plan, is expected to deliver an update on its progress during a Surrey Board of Trade “Hot Topic Dialogue” event on Feb. 26, at the Sheraton Vancouver Guildford Hotel at 15269 104th Ave.