Former Mayor of Surrey Doug McCallum, who already served three terms as Mayor of Surrey, announced on Monday that he will seek another term. Man who spent last decade far far away from Surrey’s political and public scene now claims that he cares that much for community and residents that he’s ready to lead once more. In statement to The Now Newspapers just before he went to make official announcement McCallum said that “it’s time for leadership and to get things done”. He also said that his campaign will be based on four key areas: crime, city finances, transportation and bringing a ward system to Surrey. If elected McCallum wants to scrap SCDC and SRES and partly I can support these two. The biggest issue after all will be his extensive baggage which is coming from his years at Council and his inactivity over the last ten years.
I started following closely political scene in Surrey, BC some four years ago, which is in most of the countries full political term, and until March 31st of this year I didn’t know how Doug McCallum looks. When I saw this gentleman in the new City Hall at the inaugural meeting of the City Council in new Chambers I asked person next to me “Who is that gentleman?” and learned that that is former Mayor of Surrey McCallum.
So if this former politician wants to lead this community and City forward my question to him is: “Where you have been over the last few years if you want to lead?” I followed last municipal election campaign very closely and believe me I haven’t mentioned him even once because then he was non-existent former Mayor of this City who just disappeared following his defeat in 2005.
Also we haven’t heard from McCallum over the last few years since crime situation in this city worsened and since we have to deal with issues in Newton and Whalley such as murder of Julie Paskall. As recently as Julie Paskall murder was McCallum haven’t spoke nor found his space in the media to address these important issues which he’s putting out today as the most important element of his campaign.
McCallum who was as per some long-term residents of this City one of the worst Mayor’s when it comes to crime wants to hire more staff to help Surrey RCMP and to put more volunteers on bikes, foot and motorcycles. This sounds like a copy from Dianne Watts speaking notes, especially from recent speeches following Julie Paskall murder.
Using his successor Watts as promotion point McCallum announced that he will cut all trips of City officials, Watts recently have been in trouble due to some expensive traveling, he want’s to stay home.
“There won’t be any trips unless they’re fully approved by council in open council. But I can say to you it’s my feeling, if I was mayor, that there won’t be any trips period. It’s time for action, it’s time to stay home and make decisions”, said McCallum.
If you ask me after a whole decade of being home and not being actively involved in City events McCallum can stay home and take action on whatever he wants, he doesn’t need to become a Mayor to do that. This City needs Mayor which will lead as today’s leaders are doing that and that’s not staying home, but smart planning and traveling to those location from which we can benefit.
Where I can agree with McCallum is that we need to take action on SCDC and on SRES. First step would be to review it’s actions and to get outside review which will tell us if there’s chance to use it to improve parts of the city or it’s unusable for future development of city. SRES which in the past featured former US Presidents, UK Prime Minister and Australia PM could be scraped if it stays in current format but also could be saved if it really becomes what it’s name says “Regional Economic” with more regional contacts to improve chances to bring more work and economic development to right areas of the city.
Speaking today on transportation in Surrey McCallum pointed rightly out that we have major problems and that financing must to be obtained through cooperation of all levels of government. But next what he said made me wonder if he understands how world of politics today works? McCallum wants to go to political parties to lobby them now ahead of elections for promises on transportation funding. Today Stephen Harper, Thomas Mulcair, Justin Trudeau, Christy Clark, even Elizabeth May will promise him and whoever else ask them that they will bring Heaven on Earth if they were elected, but problems will start as soon they are elected because biggest question would be how to obtain promised money. Also problem it will be how important Surrey is to federal or provincial leaders and how we can deal with other local municipalities asking for same or similar projects from same politicians.