Blue Line

Surrey, B.C., mayor accuses public safety minister of bullying, misogyny

June 19, 2023  By The Canadian Press

June 19, 2023, Surrey, B.C. – The debate over policing in Surrey, B.C., got personal Monday when Mayor Brenda Locke accused Solicitor General Mike Farnworth of bullying and misogyny, after he suggested the city had been playing games with its handling of the matter.

Locke said Farnworth, who is also the public safety minister, has been “a bully all the way through” the city council process that ultimately determined it would revert to the RCMP, well into the transition to an independent municipal force.

“I have worked in politics for a long time. I have worked in the liquor industry for a long time. I have never, ever, used the gender card,” Locke said. “But in this case, I absolutely think there is misogyny going on, no doubt in my mind.”

A representative of Farnworth’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment about Locke’s claims.


Her remarks came after Farnworth issued a statement saying he became concerned last Wednesday after learning that a report on the future of policing in Surrey had not been shared with the province but would be put to a vote by council.

Locke announced Friday that council had voted to go back to the Mounties, saying it would be far less costly than continuing with the independent force.

The minister said he asked Locke to share the report and delay the vote, but it went ahead before he had a chance to determine if the plan would ensure safe policing.

“It is critical that I receive this report. Now is not the time to play games. The safety of people in Surrey is too important.”

In a separate statement issued later Monday, Farnworth said staff in his ministry had received the city’s report and were in the process of reviewing it.

The B.C. government recommended in April that the city continue with its transition to the independent Surrey Police Service and offered $150 million in funding to help.

At the same time, Farnworth set out guidelines for city council to keep the RCMP.

“The safety of people in Surrey is critical, Farnworth’s ‘latest statement said. “We are working urgently so I may make a determination as quickly as possible, if it meets the requirements I laid out to ensure safe and effective policing in Surrey and the province.”

Locke campaigned last fall on an election promise to reverse the transition to a municipal force and revert to the RCMP.

She said Monday it was “fearmongering” to suggest there were public safety issues in the city.

At an unrelated news conference on Monday, Premier David Eby said Surrey’s report includes “vital information” that Farnworth needs to ensure the requirements he set for police services in the city are met.

“The content of the report, as we understand it, is how Surrey intends to meet those conditions that were imposed by the solicitor general,” Eby said.

“Without that information he can’t fulfil that responsibility, which is the commitment to the people of Surrey that the police will be there for them when they need it.”

Locke said the report wasn’t shared earlier because it hadn’t yet been agreed upon by council and as of Monday morning the city hadn’t received signed non-disclosure agreements from those with the province who want to review the document.

Farnworth had set a deadline of 1 p.m. Monday to receive the report. Locke said that left the city with one business day to send it from the time council voted.

“One day, and he expects us to have everything ready and a report to him by noon, and he’s saying we’re playing games?”

Locke said there is no plan in place for the city to continue its transition to a municipal force because that’s not the decision council was making.

“The solicitor general, in the report that he gave us, said there were two options for the City of Surrey. We just didn’t choose the one he preferred.”

Print this page


Stories continue below