Surrey city Councillor Laurie Guerra questioned at the city’s most recent council meeting why political rivals on council are identifying themselves as official opposition to the mayor.
“When you have council members publishing in magazines or newspaper articles that they’re running as an opposition to our mayor I find it very difficult to be dealing with, you know, are we a council or are we oppositional,” Guerra said at the Dec. 7 council meeting. “And if you’re advertising that you’re the official opposition to a mayor, I just question what the motive for that is and if we’re now going to become like a provincial legislature where we’ve got a majority government and then an opposition, it’s very difficult to, you know, the opposition doesn’t get cabinet positions.”
“It’s kind of the elephant in the room,” she said.
The Safe Surrey Coalition councillor made her comments as Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum appointed only members of his Safe Surrey Coalition to the position of chairperson or vice-chairperson in three new standing committees he set up: The Development Advisory Committee, Community Services Committee and Agricultural, Environment and Investment Committee.
Guerra did not mention names, but Councillor Jack Hundial says his Surrey Connect slate is “the only organized party that comes out and says we are the opposition to Doug McCallum.
“It’s politics,” he told the Now-Leader, in reply to Guerra’s remarks. “Without oppositions, you don’t have democracy. If her idea is that there shouldn’t be any opposition, that doesn’t fly in this in this country. You need to have difference of opinions, spirited debate and you can’t just hide behind your seat on council. We’re representing over half a million people.”
Hundial noted Guerra ran for a seat on council in opposition to Surrey First in 2014, and “also was an unsuccessful candidate for a Conservative seat here in Surrey.
“And all those occasions she herself was running, in opposition of an existing party or an individual,” Hundial said. “You know, not everyone in council is going to, you know, start goose stepping with the mayor into having only one vision for the city.”