Another Surrey Safe Coalition councillor has quit the the party, the third to do so this summer.
Jack Hundial is fed up with Surrey mayor Doug McCallum’s lack of community input and says the final straw was the party dissolving the public safety committee.
Hundial says he will continue as an independent councillor.
He follows former Safe Surrey Coalition councillors Steven Pettigrew and Brenda Locke, who both sit as independents after they left the party last month citing similar problems with McCallum’s leadership.
Similar to complaints by Pettigrew and Locke, Hundial says the mayor’s office has returned to old style party politics where elected councillors are expected to nod their heads in agreement.
In a new release early Thursday morning, Hundial says there is no guarantee that the community will be safer with the mayor’s Police Transition Plan.
He says he cannot support a plan which would see Surrey have fewer police officers at a higher cost.
“This will make Surrey less safe. This is the opposite of what people want.”
“My main priority is working towards ensuring a safer Surrey for everyone,” he writes. “We can make it happen, but it should be a community project, with community input. The mayor has not been open to public input.”
Hundial says he wants to make it clear that he does not support the mayor’s policing plan.
“It is rushed, not well thought out and as we hear increasingly each day, causing the community to be divided.”
The move is not a surprise. Last month, Hundial told Postmedia he hadn’t been “overly impressed” by the mayor’s response to members of his own team.
Asked about McCallum’s leadership style, the former police officer said “I thought once I’d retired from the RCMP, I’d left paramilitary organizations (behind).”
Hundial characterized Safe Surrey as an organization made up of independents, pointing out that he started his campaign as an independent candidate before joining McCallum’s team.
When Locke stepped down the from the Safe Surrey Coalition, she noted that other councillors shared her concerns.
McCallum said at the time that both Locke and Pettigrew have been “outspoken” against a municipal police force, arguing that as soon as they got elected they changed their positions. He described his leadership style as “very good” and denied claims that councillors do not get a chance to speak at council.
More to come….
With files from Jennifer Saltman and Glenda Luymes