JUST as The VOICE had advised Surrey mayor-elect Doug McCallum not to take nonsense from anybody after the spectacular win of his Safe Surrey Coalition, McCallum made it clear to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at his 15-minute meeting on Thursday evening that he was determined to pursue the SkyTrain extension to Langley City.
McCallum told the media that Trudeau wants to respect what the citizens want and noted that his SSC had a very large mandate. Trudeau also said that he respects the decision of the Mayors’ Council. McCallum said he will approach the Mayors’ Council to request a change of a technical component of the region’s 10-year transit plan.
McCallum also made it clear to the media that Surrey would not pay back the money that had already been invested in the LRT project. Taking a tough stand against all who would oppose Surrey is what The VOICE had recommended last week.
McCallum told Trudeau of the steps that he intended to take and the Prime Minister told him that he would be watching those steps.
Indeed, Trudeau has no choice, as The VOICE pointed out last week: “Both the BC NDP and the federal NDP as well as the federal Liberals stand to lose support in Surrey if they try to sabotage McCallum’s SkyTrain plan. Make no mistake about that!”
Trudeau also told the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade (GVBOT): “We have a very simple approach. Ottawa shouldn’t be deciding what the Lower Mainland needs.”
Trudeau noted that there are $2.7 billion that have been set for infrastructure and he trusts the people of British Columbia to figure out what the best way to do that is.
McCallum also told Trudeau about his plan to replace the RCMP in Surrey with a city police force. McCallum told the media that he was to meet Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth about it.
He said that the switch was going to mean “a little bit more money,” but pointed out that all the equipment the RCMP are using along with the community police stations are owned by the City; also, the CUPE staff that are handling all the administration and payroll.
He told the media that the City would have to commit to pay officers 10 per cent more in salary because non-unionized RCMP officers make less than most municipal police forces.
Trudeau also met with Vancouver mayor-elect Kennedy Stewart just before his meeting with McCallum.