An NDP MLA is asking that Surrey councillor and MLA Marvin Hunt step down from civic politics, claiming that the veteran councillor is failing to do his job.
Hunt, elected in the last provincial election as a Liberal for Surrey-Panorama, told The Leader last year he would stay on as city councillor for the love of the job.
He is not being paid for that position, but feels he can act as MLA and councillor at the same time.
Bruce Ralston, the MLA for Surrey-Whalley, is asking Hunt to give up his council seat.
Ralston said the December murder of Julie Paskall happened both within Hunt’s provincial riding and within his city, yet no leadership is being shown by the veteran councillor.
“I haven’t seen a single comment by him, either as an MLA or as a city councillor, in any news outlet,” Ralston said. “He’s not doing his job.”
Hunt said he’s been very busy working with the mayor, council, city lawyers, parks representatives and police in making sure Newton is a safe place to live.
“I don’t think the measure of my job is whether I’m talking in the media on horrible tragedies that happened in our city,” Hunt said.
He said he’s also looking into how to expedite moving the Newton bus loop from its current location to a green space on King George Boulevard.
“Tragedies like this that happen on city property is something that we don’t go public on and speak about details,” Hunt said, adding that Ralston, as a former Surrey councillor and a lawyer, knows that full well.
Ralston and Hunt were council together between 1990 and 1993, serving on opposing parties.
Ralston said Hunt, being a representative at both levels of government, is in a unique position to affect change.
“But the reality is, until we actually know what happened, who perpetrated it, why it was perpetrated, we’re just dealing in speculation,” Hunt said.
That speculation will only promote fear, he said.
“Which is not what we need in the community,” he added.
Hunt said he’s concerned about the politicizing of such events.
“One of the worst things that happens in these tragedies is politicians make it a political issue instead of the community tragedy it is,” Hunt said. “I don’t think the tragic death of a citizen of Surrey is something that we should be making political points on.”
For her part, Mayor Dianne Watts is fully supportive of Hunt, saying she doesn’t measure his effectiveness in column inches of newspaper copy or minutes of airtime.
“Some of us deal with these very serious issues outside of going to the media,” Watts said Thursday. “I know for a fact that Marvin (Hunt) has spoken to numerous people regarding that issue (and) has been very vocal in a variety of meetings.”
Hunt has said he will continue both jobs as long as possible, and will step aside for the coming civic election in November.