DOUG McCallum, the mayoral candidate for Safe Surrey Coalition, on Thursday pointed out that at the October 10 Surrey Board of Trade mayor’s debate Surrey First mayoral candidate Tom Gill took a pass on the question of crime.
“Simply put, he refused to answer,” mocked McCallum.
He added: “And it doesn’t end here – there has not been a Public Safety Committee Meeting in Surrey since June. Since then two scheduled Surrey Public Safety meetings have been cancelled. It has been said that the meetings were canceled because the Chief of Police was going to complain about not having enough police officers on staff. Which is true.”
McCallum went on to point out: “Then after a fatal shooting today, Tom Gill issued a press release stating “there is not simple solution here, which means we need to take a full-on approach …”
McCallum said: “We sure do!”
Sumeet Randhawa, 30, of Surrey, who was known to police, was fatally shot in a targeted hit on Thursday in broad daylight in the 6700-block of 130th Street.
Gill in his response to the murder issued a press release in which he said the shooting “reinforces the need for a “full-on anti-gang campaign” that tackles not just gangs, but gang recruitment as well.”
Gill added: “Surrey is a safe city, but targeted shootings like this shatter that sense of public safety. I’ve been clear in my campaign that I want to join other cities to ban hand guns, add more police officers and keep our kids out of the hands of gang recruiters. There’s no simple solution here, which means we have to take a full-on approach that includes prevention, enforcement and intervention. Like everyone in our city I’ve had it with these shootings and the people who think they own our streets.”
McCallum suggested to Gill: “Start by canceling Surrey First’s proposed quarter-billion-dollar Arts and Cultural Centre and invest the money and energy into creating a Surrey Police Force. With the goal of making it much tougher for gangs to do business in Surrey.”
McCallum said: “Surrey also needs to invest in programs that effectively protect our youth from gangs and the gang culture. The Safe Surrey Coalition fully intends to live up to its name.”
Doug Elford, a Safe Surrey Coalition council candidate noted: “I am running for Council because I am tired the violence on our streets. I will keep public safety top of mind for the whole term. This is not the first gang shooting close to my home. Everyone in my neighbourhood has had enough of this senseless violence. It has to be stopped.”
The Safe Surrey Coalition says it will take a much more serious approach to crime than Surrey has seen for over a decade. “The Surrey First track record with Tom Gill and Bruce Hayne as councillors has been dismal,” they point out.