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Vancouver, Surrey voters elect new mayors; bring promises of more police, RCMP stays

daftandbarmy

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RCMP back in Surrey e.g., Raincoats on, raincoats off...



VANCOUVER — Voters in British Columbia ushered in a wave of political change throughout the province in municipal elections Saturday that saw new mayors elected in Vancouver and Surrey and other major communities.

Vancouver businessman Ken Sim defeated Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart, posting an overwhelming victory after losing the mayor's race to Stewart in 2018 by less than 1,000 votes.

"This is not the result we wanted," said Stewart, a former federal New Democrat MP. "But we have to respect it."

He said the past four years, with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the opioid overdose crisis and housing issues were difficult for Vancouver, but "I do think we got the city through pretty hard times."

In Surrey, Mayor Doug McCallum was defeated by challenger Brenda Locke, a member of Surrey council and a former B.C. Liberal member of the legislature.

Locke's victory speech included a pledge to keep the RCMP in Surrey despite McCallum's initiative to replace the Mounties with a civic police force.

"We need to keep the Surrey RCMP right here in Surrey," she said.

The municipal elections also saw major shifts across B.C., with new mayors elected in Kelowna, Kamloops, Penticton and Victoria.

Voters casting ballots Saturday in Vancouver said housing was the top campaign issue, with public safety and support for vulnerable people also on their minds.
Across B.C. voters said they wanted to see politicians tackle the big issues confronting almost every community.

"I think that definitely housing is a priority for everyone in Vancouver," said artist Taz Soleil. "For me, housing, especially for marginalized people, is a priority."
Soleil said she backed candidates who promised more housing options and supports for low income people.

Margaret Haugen, who accompanied a friend to vote at downtown Vancouver's Roundhouse Community Center, said affordable housing was the issue she was most concerned about this election.

"The Downtown Eastside has just gotten progressively worse," said Haugen, adding too many people there are living on the streets.

From Vancouver and Surrey to the smaller Interior communities of Princeton and Clearwater, campaigns focused on issues that typically fall beyond the municipal realm, such as affordable housing, health care, violent crime and mental health and addiction.

Stewart promised to triple Vancouver's housing goal over the next decade to 220,000 homes, while Sim pledged to hire 100 new police officers and 100 mental health nurses.

Stewart and Sim were among 15 mayoral candidates in Vancouver.

Vancouver released data showing increased numbers of advance voters this year compared to 2018.

In the 2022 election 65,026 people voted in advance polls in Vancouver, up from 48,986 in 2018.

The advance polling results were different in Victoria, the city said in a statement.

In 2022 4,613 people voted in advance polls in Victoria, slightly less than the 4,791 people who cast advance ballots in 2018.

In Clearwater, incumbent Mayor Merlin Blackwell said health care was the top issue in his North Thompson community, where the local hospital's emergency department experiences regular closures.

He said small-town issues of dog parks and potholes were on the back burner in this campaign with residents wanting local government to improve health care and fight crime.

McCallum faced consecutive challenges, first at the ballot box against seven other candidates, then in court on Oct. 31 as he faces trial on a charge of public mischief.

"We have work to do and we have our work cut out for us," said Locke, adding that includes improving health care, public safety and easing the permitting process for housing development.


 

CBH99

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It seems like the voters have a billboard with the decisions being made over the last few years in BC.

Hopefully the politicians and bureaucrats read the tea leaves, and realize that wishing for a rainbow doesn’t always result in one.


I can’t really blame them for the housing crisis, The various factors at play were around long before any of them took office - and it’s a serious problem nationwide.

Why are houses so expensive in Canada? Not a bloody clue to be honest. But if housing across the country is expensive, I can only imagine what people are going to be live somewhere that isn’t cold six months of the year.

It’ll be interesting to see if decriminalizing drugs stays on the agenda for not…
 

brihard

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Surrey Police is pretty significantly progressed. This isn’t an easy course reversal at this point. I wouldn’t take anything as a given yet just because the new mayor says so.
 

lenaitch

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^^ Ya, from a distant observation point that doesn't see a whole lot of media, I get the same sense. Reversing/negating/redirecting capital expenditures is one thing but there are a whole lot of HR issues that would come into play.

From an Ontario perspective, I've often wondered why municipal police services, and even municipalities, in the lower mainland and probably the southern Island have not be amalgamated. Regionalization, consolidation, etc. in built-up areas has been going on here since the the early '70s.

Why are houses so expensive in Canada?
Primarily, available land (physical, zoning constraints, etc.) coupled with the in-flow of people wanting to live there.
 

mariomike

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From an Ontario perspective, I've often wondered why municipal police services, and even municipalities, in the lower mainland and probably the southern Island have not be amalgamated. Regionalization, consolidation, etc. in built-up areas has been going on here since the the early '70s.

The mayor Canada's sixth largest city wants a divorce from the Region.

"Rather be a lamp post in Mississauga, than mayor of Brampton. "

Why are houses so expensive in Canada?

 

lenaitch

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That pops up every now and again from Peel and I suppose not surprising in an election year. It's always over money in vs. benefits from the Region. It has bubbled up every now again in Chatham-Kent as well in terms of the imbalance between the larger city and surrounding smaller ones. Both Mississauga and Brampton are much, much bigger that when they were formed in the early '70s and maybe they could be viable on their own. They might want to be careful what they wish for; this provincial government could just as easily turn around and imposed a single-tier government for all three, or just the two and cut Caledon out of it. It has shown it is not averse to getting up to its elbows in municipal affairs.
 

brihard

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^^ Ya, from a distant observation point that doesn't see a whole lot of media, I get the same sense. Reversing/negating/redirecting capital expenditures is one thing but there are a whole lot of HR issues that would come into play.

From an Ontario perspective, I've often wondered why municipal police services, and even municipalities, in the lower mainland and probably the southern Island have not be amalgamated. Regionalization, consolidation, etc. in built-up areas has been going on here since the the early '70s.


Primarily, available land (physical, zoning constraints, etc.) coupled with the in-flow of people wanting to live there.

Surrey has more than 150 officers on the road now, and more working office jobs. They’ve bought cars and guns. They have a collective agreement with one hell of a poison pill severance provision. There’s a lot already invested in this. It’s a city of more than 500k on paper, probably half again that with all the unofficial basement suites. Why should a city that size not have its own municipal police service?
 

SeaKingTacco

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Surrey Police is pretty significantly progressed. This isn’t an easy course reversal at this point. I wouldn’t take anything as a given yet just because the new mayor says so.
The BC Government gets a vote in this under the Police Act.

They are not going to allow anything to happen that leaves Surrey without effective policing.
 

Humphrey Bogart

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Surrey has more than 150 officers on the road now, and more working office jobs. They’ve bought cars and guns. They have a collective agreement with one hell of a poison pill severance provision. There’s a lot already invested in this. It’s a city of more than 500k on paper, probably half again that with all the unofficial basement suites. Why should a city that size not have its own municipal police service?
So we can add this one to the list of #falsepromises 😁
 

brihard

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So we can add this one to the list of #falsepromises 😁
No, not yet. Locke may achieve a reversal. I’m saying that it would be difficult, not impossible. My “why would a city of 500k not have its own service?” is separate from that.

Maybe she does convince the province that her election indicates a mandate to scrap the SPS. McCallum was definitely talking out of his ass regarding true costs and that may give her an angle. She may well have a plan to pull this off. I would expect we’ll very quickly see a freeze on hiring.
 

SeaKingTacco

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No, not yet. Locke may achieve a reversal. I’m saying that it would be difficult, not impossible. My “why would a city of 500k not have its own service?” is separate from that.

Maybe she does convince the province that her election indicates a mandate to scrap the SPS. McCallum was definitely talking out of his ass regarding true costs and that may give her an angle. She may well have a plan to pull this off. I would expect we’ll very quickly see a freeze on hiring.
Again, the BC AG will be acutely monitoring this situation. She could find the Policing situation out of her hands.

In fact, the BC AG could take this opportunity to Regionalize the entire Lower Mainland and largely sideline the Mayors.
 

brihard

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Again, the BC AG will be acutely monitoring this situation. She could find the Policing situation out of her hands.

In fact, the BC AG could take this opportunity to Regionalize the entire Lower Mainland and largely sideline the Mayors.
And stomp on mayors and councils that do have functioning police services or effective RCMP detachments? That wouldn’t make much sense. I think regionalization of policing services would be a discussion that would need municipal buy-in rather than imposing it. They would have to make a compelling case that it would be a significant improvement over RCMP, and that it wouldn’t be more appropriate for there to be municipal services for the large municipalities.

Arguably, BC should consider a provincial police service for everything that’s not municipal. Basically, replace RCMP in non-federal roles. But the quiet prt that politicians don’t like to say out loud is that going with RCMP brings a direct, immediate, and considerable federal government subsidy that would be expensive to abandon.
 

daftandbarmy

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Surrey has more than 150 officers on the road now, and more working office jobs. They’ve bought cars and guns. They have a collective agreement with one hell of a poison pill severance provision. There’s a lot already invested in this. It’s a city of more than 500k on paper, probably half again that with all the unofficial basement suites. Why should a city that size not have its own municipal police service?

The key defining difference between the two campaigns, AFAIK, was 'RCMP stays' and 'RCMP goes'. I'm pretty sure the new mayor isn't going to be 'allowed' to not bring the RCMP back in.

Pretty much, yeah.

What is your take on Langford? Stew Young has been a fixture out that way for years. Does Langford now go anti-development?

Langford has been run like a 3rd world dictatorship by Stew Young and his hench - people, pretty much. I believe the incoming crew are looking for a little more engagement and 'depth' in the development process of the community, which has apparently outstripped the sustaining infrastructure.

Based on all the terraces they've blasted into the mountainsides out there, so they can build townhouse developments easier, it looks like they're stuck with the 'open pit mine' ambiance though ;).
 

SeaKingTacco

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And stomp on mayors and councils that do have functioning police services or effective RCMP detachments? That wouldn’t make much sense. I think regionalization of policing services would be a discussion that would need municipal buy-in rather than imposing it. They would have to make a compelling case that it would be a significant improvement over RCMP, and that it wouldn’t be more appropriate for there to be municipal services for the large municipalities.

Arguably, BC should consider a provincial police service for everything that’s not municipal. Basically, replace RCMP in non-federal roles. But the quiet prt that politicians don’t like to say out loud is that going with RCMP brings a direct, immediate, and considerable federal government subsidy that would be expensive to abandon.
I am not saying what should/should not be done, but Surrey is one of the key Municipalities for policing in the Lower Mainland. If they make a hash of policing, it effects the entire GVRD (Maybe even the whole country, given the ports, railways, etc.).

If this goes messy, BC might have to step in.
 

daftandbarmy

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I am not saying what should/should not be done, but Surrey is one of the key Municipalities for policing in the Lower Mainland. If they make a hash of policing, it effects the entire GVRD (Maybe even the whole country, given the ports, railways, etc.).

If this goes messy, BC might have to step in.

Christopher Mcdonald Lol GIF
 

SeaKingTacco

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The key defining difference between the two campaigns, AFAIK, was 'RCMP stays' and 'RCMP goes'. I'm pretty sure the new mayor isn't going to be 'allowed' to not bring the RCMP back in.



Langford has been run like a 3rd world dictatorship by Stew Young and his hench - people, pretty much. I believe the incoming crew are looking for a little more engagement and 'depth' in the development process of the community, which has apparently outstripped the sustaining infrastructure.

Based on all the terraces they've blasted into the mountainsides out there, so they can build townhouse developments easier, it looks like they're stuck with the 'open pit mine' ambiance though ;).
Oh I get that and have looked on in horror as entire mountaintops have been blasted flat.

The problem is: that actually did provide an outlet for reasonably affordable housing in the region.

If Langford is out of the game, Victoria, Colwood, View Royal, Esquimalt and Saanich will have to up their housing strategies.

What do you think the odds of that are?
 
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