Surrey council meeting erupts in chaos, lasts just 7 minutes

It might be a record when it comes to Surrey City Council meetings after Monday’s meeting was cut short to just 7 minutes after chaos erupted in Council Chambers.

The meeting hit a rough patch right away when a few councillors demanded Mayor Doug McCallum step aside from his duties – as he’s been charged with public mischief.

When the mayor declined, that’s when members of the audience began yelling and screaming at McCallum, forcing him to call a recess just seven minutes into the meeting.

“The mayor was having none of that. And things just got escalated very, very quickly. And within seven minutes, I would say that council hit a new rock bottom. We had to leave the council chambers,” Councillor Linda Annis told CityNews. “It’s very, very regrettable, but our council has now gotten even more divisive and dysfunctional than ever before. Really, in the end of the day, we should be getting city business done, and we’re not.”

Annis says safety for council was the highest priority and the meeting was adjourned to Wednesday evening.

“It became, quite frankly, I think, a very unsafe scene for not just the councillors and the mayor, but also for city staff,” she said.

Councillor Laurie Guerra calls the incident a “disgrace” and frightening adding police had to be called in.

Annis says she’s never seen things take such a nasty turn in council chambers and is another sign of the deep division on council.

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McCallum was charged with public mischief after an altercation in a grocery store parking lot last September between the mayor and opponents of his plan to move Surrey to a municipal force.

The mayor claims an opponent of the city’s police transition ran over his foot, but it was McCallum who ended up being charged.

Surrey’s police transition has been a divisive plan from the start in the city, leading to many flare-ups over the past few years.

The trial for Mayor Doug McCallum is set to begin on October 31 and last seven days. This date is set to be just two weeks after the next civic election (October 15), where he will be running for re-election.

– With files from The Canadian Press

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