Doug McCallum says Premier is being arrogant in imposing light rail on Surrey when vast majority want SkyTrain

‘We need SkyTrain and we need it along Fraser Highway and we need it now!’

 

Doug McCallum

FORMER Surrey mayor Doug McCallum, the mayoral candidate for Safe Surrey Coalition, slammed Premier John Horgan for arrogantly dictating to the people of Surrey that “we’re not scrapping the LRT” and that he’d “like the councillors and those seeking council seats … to focus on what’s the next phase of transit development.”

An angry McCallum told The VOICE: “I think the Premier is being very arrogant. I’ve always believed that in politics and in my past role as mayor of Surrey that you listen to the people and you listen to what the people want. That’s why you get elected … is to listen to the people and then solve the problems that the people in your community or in the province want you to solve. It’s not dictating ‘This is the system you are going to put into a city.’”

McCallum added: “I was really upset with that comment. You know the Premier [should start] listening to the people of Surrey. He just can’t sit back in Victoria behind his desk and dictate this is the system we are going to get because the people in Surrey don’t want it. I mean it’s overwhelming: it’s over 80 per cent of the people in Surrey don’t want that Light Rail. So it just makes me really upset that politicians like him just won’t listen to the people and just dictate that type of system. It just doesn’t make any sense!”

McCallum pooh-poohed the claim that the money for the LRT was “locked down.”

He pointed out: “I was on TransLink Board and I was chairman for five years of TransLink Board and money is from governments is never locked into a system. I mean the money is locked in for the amounts. Every time I’ve been involved in Transit the money is locked in to put in Transit not to put in a certain type of Transit or anything”

He added: “I had to deal with that with the Canada Line because we actually had to get more money when we built it because we ran into an engineering problem. But having said all that, I’ve never heard of it in Transit ever having a Premier dictate the system that the city’s residents don’t want. I mean it’s just unbelievable that somebody would say that.”

 

ASKED if the Premier’s behaviour would backfire on him in a provincial election because people would be so upset, McCallum replied: “Certainly for the residents in Surrey I think they will remember his comments anyways and it will be up to them when they go to election”

He added: “But from my point of view, Surrey just doesn’t need a second-rate system. The rest of the Metro Vancouver Area has SkyTrain and I was directly involved in some. And it’s Surrey’s turn now. That has always been the order for 30 years and we don’t want a second-rate system. We are a big urban city. We are the 10th largest in Canada. We don’t want a second-rate system that’s not going to go anywhere, doesn’t move people, is going to cause more congestion than what’s on the roads now. We need SkyTrain and we need it along Fraser Highway and we need it now!”

McCallum said: “We are going to be very strong. I am passionate about this. I am so passionate for the people of Surrey. I want to help them solve their transportation and they are crying out to governments now, saying. “We need SkyTrain,” and for governments to turn around, and especially the Premier, and say: “No, we are going to give you a Light Rail!” that just hurts me. I mean as a person, I just can’t believe anybody not listening to what the people are saying – and a huge majority – this isn’t even close.”

 

MCCALLUM said his party’s campaign was “actually really going good, adding: “We are moving ahead. We have announced all our candidates except one. They are all really good candidates, in fact, in my years of political I don’t think we’ve got such a good mixture from different parts of Surrey, equal mix between men and women – all of them come from areas as far as what they are interested in and what they believe in and it’s just a terrific group of people. They are all new [in politics], except for Brenda Locke, and they are professionals. They are all giving up their jobs in some way to run. So they are making a commitment.”

McCallum noted: “When you have eight people on Council that have stopped their lives when most of them are basically young and … want to work and solve the problems in Surrey. We are excited about the campaign.”

 

MCCALLUM said his party’s campaign was “actually really going good, adding: “We are moving ahead. We have announced all our candidates except one. They are all really good candidates, in fact, in my years of political I don’t think we’ve got such a good mixture from different parts of Surrey, equal mix between men and women – all of them come from areas as far as what they are interested in and what they believe in and it’s just a terrific group of people. They are all new [in politics], except for Brenda Locke, and they are professionals. They are all giving up their jobs in some way to run. So they are making a commitment.”

McCallum noted: “When you have eight people on Council that have stopped their lives when most of them are basically young and … want to work and solve the problems in Surrey. We are excited about the campaign.”

The Safe Surrey Coalition candidates for Council are Jack Hundial, former RCMP Staff-Sergeant, Steven Pettigrew, local activist and leader of the Save Hawthorne Park group, former minister of state Brenda Locke, prominent businessman Mandeep Nagra, Doug Elford, who quit as president of the Surrey Community Alliance to join McCallum’s party, lawyer Bableen Rana, and Dr. Allison Patton, a distinguished community physician.