British Columbia

Second councillor quits Surrey mayor's alliance within a month

For the second time in less than a month, a city councillor in Surrey, B.C., has left the mayor's coalition.

Councillors Brenda Locke and Steven Pettigrew say they both plan to sit as independents

Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum has lost a third councillor from his Safe Surrey Coalition. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

For the second time in less than a month, a city councillor in Surrey, B.C., has left the mayor's coalition.

Coun. Brenda Locke announced Thursday that she is quitting Mayor Doug McCallum's Safe Surrey Coalition, saying the alliance has fallen into dysfunction under McCallum's leadership — particularly as the city moves toward a municipal police force.

"The whole process around the police transition, it has been a flawed process. A flawed process will be a flawed outcome, for me, and I can't support it anymore," Locke said during a phone call Thursday morning. "[McCallum] hasn't been transparent and he hasn't been inclusive."

Locke also said McCallum "disparaged" her and her personal "integrity," but did not elaborate further.

"That was a problem for me," she said.

Coun. Brenda Locke, left, and Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum pictured in their staff headshots. (CBC)

McCallum says the coalition will continue with the promises and commitments they made to Surrey voters.

"Brenda chose to run with the Safe Surrey Coalition fully aware of our platform and agenda. She was elected because the issues we campaigned on were what Surrey voters overwhelmingly wanted to see action on," said McCallum in a statement.

"Brenda will now have to answer to the tens of thousands of voters she has abandoned."

McCallum says the majority of council agree with his approach to fulfilling campaign promises, even though Locke has spoken out about his leadership style. 

"I think I can say that I'm always willing to listen, and if they feel it's too hard, sure, I'd be happy to change it."

The City of Surrey is working to establish an independent police force to replace the RCMP by April 1, 2021. The city released its long-anticipated transition plan on June 3, detailing what the new policing model for the municipality would look like.

Creating an independent police force and terminating the policing contract with the RCMP was one of McCallum's main campaign promises in last October's election. 

Four days before the transition plan was announced, Coun. Steven Pettigrew quit McCallum's team.

Surrey City Coun. Steven Pettigrew left the Safe Surrey Coalition in May. (Jesse Johnston/CBC)

Pettigrew had also been outspoken over the marred policing transition process and lack of transparency, but a statement said the final straw was the coalition's position on protecting the city's tree canopy. 

Both Locke and Pettigrew plan to sit as independent councillors. Surrey's council will now have two independent councillors, a Surrey First councillor, and five remaining Safe Surrey councillors alongside McCallum.

With files from The Early Edition

With files from Yvette Brend and Jesse Johnston

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