Surrey mayor tries to override motion to restrict ethics commissioner

The motion to suspend the work of the ethics commissioner was created privately during an in camera meeting passed last week.

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In a shock move, McCallum said that at Monday night’s regular council meeting, he would introduce a motion to drop consideration of the bylaw “to suspend the processing and investigation of new complaints by the Surrey ethics commissioner in the period leading up to the 2022 local general election.”

The motion — from the McCallum faction on city council — to suspend the work of the ethics commissioner was made during an in camera meeting passed last week and council was expected to give first reading to a bylaw to that effect on Monday night.

McCallum and his supporters control council by one vote and his motion was passed.

The proposal to suspend the work of the ethics commission came under heavy criticism in recent days from opposition city councillors, the group fighting plans to replace RCMP with a city police force, and members of the public.

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“The work of the ethics commissioner is valuable and the misinformation circulating about the (proposed) bylaw is unfortunate,” McCallum said in his statement. “If the motion is approved by council, I will ask the ethics commissioner to bring a report to a future open council meeting for consideration on how to improve the bylaw.

“The goal is to strengthen the bylaw to ensure the office of the ethics commissioner is not used for partisan purposes during the election period.”

McCallum is the subject of a complaint to the commissioner filed by Surrey Police Vote, a group calling for a referendum on council’s decision to get ride of the Surrey RCMP and replace it with a municipal police force.

McCallum was charged with public mischief by the RCMP last year for filing a complaint alleging his foot was run over by a car at a grocery store parking lot in September during a confrontation with a volunteer gathering signatures for the petition.

— with files from Nathan Griffiths

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