Port Coquitlam BC NDP candidate Mike Farnworth issued the following statement in response to the BC Liberals’ misguided proposal to interfere in a Surrey municipal policing decision:

“This flip-flop by Andrew Wilkinson and the BC Liberals is one more desperate act. This blatant disrespect is offensive to the City and citizens of Surrey who are quite capable of managing the affairs of their city, in accordance with their legal authority.

“This is a major violation of the relationship with a municipal level of government and an unwarranted interference in the affairs of the city of Surrey.  The law makes it clear that this is a municipal decision. The role of the provincial government is to ensure public safety is maintained and that is what we will continue to do.

“For the worst of reasons, Andrew Wilkinson has reversed the position taken by his own MLAs, who have stated for months that this is a municipal responsibility.  Just a few days ago, Wilkinson admitted that he did not know enough about this issue. Today he proved that statement was true.”

Background

  • BC’s Police Act lays out very clearly that a municipality with more than 5,000 people is responsible for decisions about how to provide law enforcement in their community. (Police Act section 3, sub 2)
  • Wilkinson admitted he is ‘not close enough to the issue to have thoughtful things to say about it’ (Mike Smyth Show, CKNW September 23, 2020).
  • BC Liberal MLAs have repeatedly shown they understand the fact that this decision is up to the municipality:
    • Rich Coleman: “We all know that the city of Surrey unanimously decided, as a council, that they wanted to change their police force about a year and a half ago. We now know that the government has done the right thing here” (Feb 13, 2020 Hansard)
    • Stephanie Cadieux and Tracy Redies: “We don’t want to comment on the merits of a municipal force over the RCMP or vice versa. We do want to say thank you to the men and women in uniform that keep us safe and contribute so much to our community. We respect that this is by statute, a municipal decision to move forward.” (July 6, 2020 Facebook)