A media report Tuesday morning contemplating the continued “existence” of the Safe Surrey Coalition has some councillors referring to it in the past tense while others insist it’s a going concern.
Other than serving up a little morning coffee drama, it portends little, and here’s why.
The Safe Surrey Coalition, led by Mayor Doug McCallum, stands on three campaign pillars: Abandoning light rail transit in favour of expanding SkyTrain, “smart” development, and replacing the RCMP with a made-in-Surrey police force.
Other than that, the council members are free to vote on other matters how they see fit. And this is good.
Canadians gripe about MPs, MLAs and councillors who always vote along the party line, doing so out of blind obedience, or fear of being passed over for plum posts if they don’t fall in line.
It is a good thing when politicians vote their conscience and don’t rent their mind out to the slate, coalition, party or whatever. Good government has informed politicians voting independently. Bad government sees a pool of toadies hopping to the leader’s command.
Surrey has seen fractious councils that still get things done. Perhaps the most quarrelsome in recent memory was when mayor Bob Bose and his three Surrey Civic Electors colleagues shared the council table with five Surrey Electors Team councillors. Sure it was rock-em sock-em at times, but despite – and perhaps because of – that tension, some good things still came up the middle for Surrey.
There needs to be debate in council chambers. When politicians vote in rigid tandem, the danger is that this can lead to complacency and a sense of disenfranchisement among the electorate.
Surrey residents need to know that if one council member won’t listen to their concerns, another might well champion them.
That’s called representing the will of the people, rather than imposing the will of the party on the people.
The former rarely occurs without the presence of independent thought.