Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum’s Safe Surrey Coalition majority on city council has really outdone itself this time.
Frankly, we would be astonished if their latest attempt to wield power – the power conferred upon them through a democratic process called an election – to shut somebody or something down, for blatantly political reasons, does not end up before a judge.
On Monday afternoon, during a meeting opened to the public, the council majority issued an edict effectively banning seven people from not only attending public hearings in person, but also from “participating remotely,” meaning phoning in. Granted, some of those banned have expressed their displeasure with the mayor and his crew for the way they are running the city, with some taking the opportunity to demand the mayor’s resignation. Annoying for the SSC, no doubt, but that’s politics, a pursuit best left to those with thicker skins.
For the city to characterize this as an heroic effort to “protect the democratic process,” however, is richer than a triple banana split finished with a tower of whipped cream and a dollop of Orwellian doublethink.
How much will this latest folly cost taxpayers after the courts have once again schooled this coalition on the finer points of democracy?
We’ve been here before, when the city under McCallum’s watch sent forth bylaw officers to impose dubious fines on Uber drivers. Taxpayers had to foot the bill for that particular judicial beatdown.
Coun. Linda Annis probably said it best when she said “silencing people, particularly people opposed to you, is what politicians do when they’ve given up on democracy.”
It’s also downright imperious.