Brenda Locke is leaving the Safe Surrey Coalition to sit as an independent. She’s the second councillor to do so in a month.
Submitted / PNG
Surrey city councillor Brenda Locke is leaving mayor Doug McCallum’s Safe Surrey Coalition, making her the second person to step down from the party in a month.Locke says council is dysfunctional under McCallum’s leadership and she’ll now sit as an independent.“Democracy in Surrey has some major challenges right now,” she said early Thursday morning, adding that she believes the mayor is not inclusive and that councillors are often caught off guard by decisions being made.She described the police transition report ,which outlines the city’s plan for a new municipal police force, as “sub par” and said the survey that was done to bolster the report was “completely flawed.”“Absolutely though I will work through all of this as an independent,” she said.The city’s policing transition report noted that hiring officers will be “a significant undertaking,” but McCallum said he was confident there will be enough applicants, many of whom will be from the Surrey RCMP.Locke’s decision also follows a public scuffle at Monday night’s council meeting, in which McCallum threatened to remove independent councillor Steven Pettigrew from the council chamber after an argument over the rules of order.After the meeting, McCallum told Global News that he was going to ask the human resources department to see if they can provide some help to Pettigrew because he didn’t think he was handling the stress of council very well. However, Pettigrew disputed this to Global News, saying the only stress was not being allowed to speak and do their jobs as councillors.Locke said Thursday that she was accused at the meeting by McCallum of fear mongering, and that she could no longer support the actions of the mayor.Asked whether she thought anyone else would leave the party, Locke said she can’t speak for other councillors, but noted that some do “share my concerns.”McCallum has not yet responded to a request for comment.Earlier this month, Pettigrew also left McCallum’s party, saying he was upset over the city’s removal of 5,000 trees.Pettigrew, who ran for office in 2018 after leading a campaign to fight the removal of trees at Hawthorn Park, said he would sit as an independent because he could no longer support a party that is destroying Surrey’s tree canopy.The Safe Surrey Coalition campaigned on a promise to transition to a municipal police force, bring a SkyTrain extension instead of light-rail transit to the city, and achieve “smart development.”Pettigrew has also recently been at odds with McCallum over what he perceives as a lack of public consultation by the city regarding its proposed switch to a municipal police force. McCallum released a statement at the time saying he was not surprised by Pettigrew’s email@example.comWith files from Nick Eagland and Jennifer Saltman