Premier Eby says B.C. officials will brief Surrey mayor, council over police dispute
May 1, 2023 By The Canadian Press
May 1, 2023, Victoria, B.C. – British Columbia Premier David Eby says he expects his government and Surrey’s mayor and council to work together to resolve the police service issue in the Metro Vancouver city.
Eby said Monday he’s spoken twice with Surrey Mayor Brenda Locke since Friday when the government recommended the city proceed with its transition to the Surrey Police Service rather than return to the RCMP.
“One of the key features of my conversation with the mayor, certainly it was her opinion and it’s mine as well, that we need to get closure on this as quickly as possible,” he said at the legislature.
Locke, who was elected last fall on a promise to bring the Mounties back to Surrey, said the council will review the government’s recommendation, but her initial reaction was to continue with the plan to return to the RCMP.
The city spent millions of dollars and hired numerous staff members for the new police service before the mayor was elected.
Eby said the government is in the process of arranging briefing meetings about the policing issue with Locke and councillors but a date has not been set.
“I know the only path forward in Surrey is a partnership with the city, which means mayor and council,” he said. “The provincial government can’t deliver safety in Surrey by ourselves. We’re going to need the city council and the mayor working with us.”
Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth said the government’s decision was based on ensuring public safety in Surrey and across the province because the RCMP has 1,500 vacancies in B.C.
He said the RCMP faces recruitment challenges and keeping the RCMP in Surrey would make them worse.
Locke could not be immediately reached for comment.
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