Councillor Doug Elford talks to reporters after voting for the controversial draft budget at Surrey City Hall Monday night. (Photo: Amy Reid)

Opinion

OUR VIEW: Elford’s support of budget surprising, considering his history in Surrey

The Doug Elford we knew as an advocate would have opposed budget that doesn’t hire more officers

Safe Surrey Councilllor Doug Elford looked uncomfortable.

“I really struggled with this,” he told reporters in city chambers after he helped approve the city’s controversial draft budget Monday night.

In a split 5-4 vote, Elford’s vote could have changed it all.

And if he was as uncomfortable facing media as he looked to be after the vote, there might be a good reason for it. Because this budget, aside from delaying capital projects important to many in the community, is also leaving no room for hiring of new RCMP officers in 2019.

Here’s the issue.

As a longtime activist prior to be elected, Elford relentlessly spoke out for something to be done about crime in his community of Newton, and Surrey as a whole.

In 2014, on behalf of Newton Community Association, Elford called for more police boots on the ground on the heels of 53-year-old hockey mom Julie Paskall being killed in an attack outside the local hockey arena.

“We’re not going to sit back. We’re not going to take it anymore,” he told us at the time.

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Doug Elford during his days as a community advocate. (Photo: Now-Leader file)

READ ALSO: Doug Elford: Community advocate turned Surrey councillor

Then, in May 2015, Elford demanded to know when 100 new officers were arriving in Surrey after a shooting happened just outside his home.

“This is my yard. I want something done fricken now,” Elford said at the time. “This is enough.”

That’s why his comments Monday night took us by surprise.

Here’s a passionate community activist who spoke out on public safety for years, voting on a budget that will only leave Surrey further behind in its officer-to-population ratio next year.

As he told us on Monday night, Elford thinks we should “hold off” on hiring officers until we know what the new municipal police force is going to cost us.

This doesn’t sound like the Elford we know and have been quoting in our newspaper pages and on our website for years.

As an advocate, the Doug Elford we knew would have opposed this budget. Yet Doug Elford, the politician, supported it.

His justification for doing so has us shaking our head, considering his past.

Now-Leader



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