‘He has been a bully’: Locke responds to Farnworth’s Surrey policing report deadline

The saga over Surrey’s policing future continues. On Monday, the mayor called B.C.’s solicitor general a bully and a misogynist after he gave the city a deadline to hand over the plan for keeping the RCMP. Monika Gul reports.

The City of Surrey says it will meet the deadline imposed by the B.C. government to send a report that chose the RCMP as the city’s police of jurisdiction.

Surrey Mayor Brenda Locke indicated as such during a dramatic press conference on Monday in which she had some choice words for B.C.’s public safety minister.

“I absolutely think there is misogyny going on,” she told reporters on Monday at Surrey city hall.

“I have never, ever, used the gender card, but in this case I absolutely think there is misogyny going on — no doubt in my mind, and actually, it’s not just me. I’ve had many people reach out to me and say he would have never treated Doug McCallum like this, and in fact, I would say that, probably, he was bullied by Doug McCallum.”

Locke says she didn’t see the letter that was sent to the media on Monday morning by Farnworth demanding the report be sent by 1 p.m. that day.

“We could have had a conversation, he could have lifted the phone,” she told reporters from city hall Monday. “He has been a bully all the way through this and this is just another example of that. That’s what happened today … I’m still astonished that he would think that one day is reasonable.”

Earlier in the day, Farnworth announced that the municipality had just a matter of hours to submit the report on the decision that was made Friday, where Surrey City Council voted to stop the transition to the Surrey Police Service (SPS) in favour of the RCMP.

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Friday’s decision came weeks after the province provided an independent recommendation that the SPS transition continue, citing staffing challenges with the RCMP. The province also offered financial assistance to offset the multi-million dollar transition cost.

Locke says at 11:27 a.m. on Monday morning, she received a list of persons “who require a copy” of the report, however, “we have yet to receive NDAs (non-disclosure agreements).” She says the copies will be sent immediately after they come in.

“It is also clear to me that the Solicitor General has an option on the police force that he wants to see. And until he gets his way, he will continue to put up roadblocks and change the goalposts every step of the way, and that’s what he did again today,” Locke continued.

“Furthermore, he has no interest in creating a dialogue with city council and he prefers to make his public statements in the media through you.”

The mayor says she has yet to hear from either Farnworth or Premier David Eby since last week despite repeated requests to speak with them.

“I find it incredibly, incredibly disrespectful that this issue is not important enough for him to communicate directly with me or directly with the elected governing body of the city of Surrey,” Locke said in reference to the Monday letter.

“I actually find that fear-mongering on behalf of both the premier and the solicitor that he would go out with those kinds of statements. Frankly, [it’s] disappointing. It’s disrespectful to council, to the people of Surrey to the people that are the men and women working in law enforcement in this city, that we and they are being used as bargaining chips by the NDP government.”

Once he receives the report, Farnworth says that he needs to review it to ensure it “meets the requirements for safe and effective policing.”

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