Don’t judge a man until you’ve walked a mile in his shoes.


“While there are some concerns about safety after dark in the city as a whole, most people feel quite safe in their own neighbourhoods. “

– Surrey Mayor Dianne Watts responding to a 2007 Crime Survey in which 71% of respondents said they don’t feel safe at night.  Diane Watts believes it’s a case of perception over reality, with Surrey residents responding to the city’s cliched image of a crime-plagued municipality and not actual fact.

Upon sitting down to my computer this morning, I opened the link to the online edition of the Province and immediately spotted this headline:

  ” Mayors meet to map out action plan on gang violence”

Great, I think, more meetings. More talk. More smoke blowing in the wind. That is exactly what we need right now, Dianne Watts hosting more meetings, affecting her ‘very concerned mayor’ look for the cameras. Of course she is concerned!

 The violence that has (and is) happening in Surrey doesn’t exactly jive with the image she is trying to present to the public and the media. 

 The quote above clearly shows how far removed she is from the residents she represents, and I don’t want a letter from her supporters who like to talk about her landslide victory. When only half of the population turns out to vote, that is hardly a landslide victory.

From reading the comments below the article link above, it is shockingly clear that I am not the only one  in Surrey tired of the political bravado being tossed about lately. Other Surrey residents are starting to pay attention to the political scene here, a move which I applaud wholeheartedly, because only when we demand accountability as a whole will the status quo change.

Although the gangs are here among us 24/7, all the time, the violence seems to come in spurts – the last period of intensity dating back to late 2007 and early 2008. I travelled back to that time via the wonder of the internet through which news items and stories remain forever as if forged in stone. Politicians must hate the fact that their past promises and quotes remain floating around the net, just waiting to come back and haunt them. The quote above from Dianne Watts is a prime example of that. It highlights just how far removed from the average citizens reality she is.

But, I  was able to find some gems from Gordon Campbell and Wally Oppal as well. Read on, my friends, and soon you will see why it costs so much money to get nothing done in BC…

Let’s start with a Macleans interview done with Gordon Campbell after a period of gang violence in the lower mainland – last year .  

 When you read it, without looking at  the date, you would think this interview was done yesterday. I would advise him to hire a new communications person, because he seems to be using the same lines now, that he was back then. 

 One portion of this interview really stood out for me:

“And, as I say, they will do whatever they can to have their way and ignore the law and create damage.

I think that we have be just as relentless and just as focused and try to protect our communities, our values and the quality of life ”

– Gordon Campbell, May 2008

Campbell is referring to the dedication these gangs have to violence and criminality in BC, which is an international centre for the drug trade. But think again, this interview was done in May 2008.

Obviously,Campbell and Oppal completely dropped the ball on this one. One would question if they ever had the ball in hand?  Just what happened since that last period of intense violence dating back to 2007, when 6 people where shot in a penthouse in North Surrey? Can you guess ?

Ahh, that’s right! You have it!  


Absolutely nothing.

Let us move  on now, to another gem I found.

This  particular article from CBC was done in November 2007 : 

Back then, Dianne Watts was calling for changes. She did all the requisite PR photo opps. She appeared righteously angered and outraged at the horrific violence.

So did Wally Oppal.

 And Premier Gordon Campbell.

 One would think  such powerful and respected politicians could channel all this outrage and anger and get something tangible done, would you not?

But alas, nothing constructive arose from  any of those meetings or press opps. It was just more political bravado for the cameras.

In fact, it would appear that all the same politicians are  still talking about  all the same problems – nearly two years later. 

How embarrassing!!

How could all of these fine politicians let this one go when the violence died down? Did they think the criminals left BC? Did they think that maybe it wouldn’t happen again, and that we , the people, would just forget about it?

Let’s take a  closer look at the man we call Attorney-General, Wally Oppal.

 This fellow  just  put forth a budget  that demonstrates lofty goals for improving public confidence in the justice system in BC.

He plans to do this by decreasing the time to wait for trials,  and by increasing the number of cases processed – all while cutting his own budget to court services.

How he plans to do that, I don’t know. Read this budget yourself – a teenager can see the mockery it makes of his office.

Two years ago, Attorney General Wally Oppal had this to say about gang violence:

Gang members “clearly” seem to think there aren’t any consequences for committing crimes, and that impression needs to change.

I think some of the sentences at the early stages of some of the careers of these people who turn out to be gang leaders may have to be stiffened because we see cases where a person, the fourth, fifth, sixth time around, still gets a suspended sentence, I think maybe in those circumstances we have to get tougher with those people so that they get a message. ”  –  Wally Oppal, November 7th, 2007

So what happened with that thought, Wally?

Where did all your political bravado get us? 

 To the following bit of insanity:

The people need to know the streets are safe.” –  Wally Oppal, February 4th, 2009

Then, a mere 6 days later, Wally Oppal  flip-flopped and was forced to appeal to the public for help in curbing the violence on the same streets he had just insisted were safe, saying:

  “ We’re very concerned, very, very concerned with what’s going on. ”

Gordon Campbell  then chimed in with this bit of shocked anger( obviously forgetting that he told Maclean’s just last year( see link above) that he was focused and vigilant in his attention to gang violence in BC)  :

I think this is just not something any of us ever imagined would take place in Canada. We’ve got to do whatever we can to stop it.” -Gordon Campbell, February 1oth, 2009

Which leads us back to the start of this blog post, the latest meeting hosted by media darling,  Surrey Mayor Dianne Watts.

Two years later she has done nothing more to curb gang violence in her city than she did back then, other than talk.

She talks on CKNW, she talks to the Province, The Sun, the Now and the Leader… and once again, I suspect nothing will come from all of this other than she can say she what she has been saying all along – that she asked for help, but didn’t get it, and municipalities can not be asked to carry the burden of the cost or the work.

This is how I see it:

Clearly, the only time anything constructive gets done is right before an election,when vying for the approval of  the voting masses becomes  the bloodsport of choice among politicians. The fear of losing those (still cushy despite the recession) expense accounts or the reins of power  are powerful motivators to appease the people. The upcoming election is the only tool  the average citizen has at our disposal right now.

Clearly, Wally Oppal is not the man cut out for the job of Attorney- General.

 Two years ago he saw a problem, two weeks ago he said it was fine and now it’s a mess and he needs help. His appointment is a position that should be elected instead, in order to ensure some form of accountability. Until that happens ? Look back to Gordon Campbell as the source and the solution.

Clearly, Dianne Watts rose-tinted glasses – although not visible in press opps –  remain firmly in place on her nose, evident in her continual denial of the deeper issues that plague the city of Surrey and its  very tarnished reputation – one that is based on fact, and not a flawed public perception as she would rather have some believe.

And clearly, Gordon Campbell – as the leader of our province and Wally Oppals minder – must have his motives and sensibilities questioned if he continues to allow our Attorney General to waffle back and forth on issues that demand immediate and harsh action. When you catch the premier making  all the same noises as he was over a year ago – and yet there is nearly nothing tangible to show for it, something is horribly wrong in Victoria. Something needs to change.

They say you can’t judge a man until you’ve walked a mile in his shoes.

I agree. It’s time for our leaders to get out of their offices and homes, and walk a mile  in our shoes. Then, and only then, will they experience the fear and anger and uncertainty that we do – on an entirely different level.

( check out this post for more details on the court budget cuts : )


**** This quote  from Dianne Watts, concerning this mornings meeting of mayors, just in from The Sun: 

“As mayors and councils, we’re there on the front lines every day. We are the go-to people for the residents and they want us to act on their behalf and it can be really frustrating.”- Dianne Watts

The front lines?  The front lines of what –  the counter at City hall?  When was the last time Dianne had to wait at the Newton bus loop, or Surrey Central, among the addicts and the dealers and the whores, clutching her purse tightly under her arm? When was the last time she tried to stroll in Unwin park, only to leave in fear of the roving gangs of young men looking for trouble? When was the last time she had to chase an addict out of her garbage bin, or dodge a prostitute begging for cigarettes while waiting to cross the street?

On the front lines?  Give me a break. Again, an open invitation to walk the neighbourhood with me , off the record and to see what “being on the front lines ” is really like….and then you will have a greater understanding of “frustrating”.

8 thoughts on “Don’t judge a man until you’ve walked a mile in his shoes.

  1. Oh oh . Better watch out for elections BC, cuz this sounds like you are expressing an opinion about the Liberals!!

    I’m so tired of that Watts woman on the news, pretty much everyday now. I moved out of Surrey last year after all the houses in my neighbourhood were torn down and a bunch of gang-bangers moved in. Couldn’t take it anymore. One huge freaking house on one side, another one on the other, and my little rancher in the middle – both with gan-banger sons in fancy pimped out SUVS. No jobs. How the heck can you afford a giant house when you have no real job?

    Surrey was a hole then, and it is a hole now. Grow ops in the upper class areas and the higher level gangsters, and the street level crime and whores in the lower class areas. It will never change.


  2. I actually voted for her, and I am dismayed at what she has done. I drove over to Newton to see what you were talking about, laila, from my place in Cloverdale, and wow. You werent joking.

    That bus loop in Newton is an eyesore. I did see quite a few druggie type people, and there are quite afew cheque cashing places around the area. I also drove by the Salvation Army store, and had three different prostitutes run after me in my truck!

    Whalley is the same. I drive through on my way to Central city mall, and I honestly can’t believe anyone bought into those towers!! It’s a joke!! The new Yaletown? More like the old Whalley – just with a different coating.


  3. After making my home in Surrey for 20 years, we are going to try and sell our home in Newton/Panorama Ridge. We live three blocks from that shooting on 62nd about two weeks ago.
    This used to be a nice area, and we raised our kids here, but not any longer. Ms.Watts says her statistics show crime is down, but I really don’t see it. I know that the numbers rarely tell the truth.
    We often chase off dealers in cars, and ocasionally hookers who now come into the area with their johns to park and do their business. Some of the new neighbours who have bought into the area are definately into growing. You can smell the sweet sickly smell of pot everywhere and we cannot even enjoy barbeques outside with it in the summer. We report it, but I never see anything being done about it.

    We both voted for Ms. Watts, I am embaressed to say.
    She has done nothing for this area.

    The only thing we can do is to move away, and warn others not to even bother buying into the area. The Palette on the Park complex is the same. There are so many homes for sale there because of the criminal aspect among them.
    Sad day.


  4. It’s not just Watts: all Surrey’s previous mayors have talked the same crap. The day after the mayor Watts succeeded was on tv telling one and all a certain block of Whalley had been cleaned up I took a walk down the block with my dog Ranger. It was a glorious sunny morning. We chatted with people sitting around injecting shit into their legs. It was the same old Hell Hole. We were offered this, that and the other thing. It was 9:00 AM. Nothing had changed, especially not the politicians’ lies.

    On the postive side, Surrey is a great place to live if you are a writer.


    1. Sure , Beer, it’s great to never run out of things to write about!
      My daughter graduates in May. My oldest son has two years to go til he grads. I don’t intend to stay a minute longer than I need to!!!

      I hear what you are saying about the mayors. Whalley is still the same as it was, with the addition of a few new towers and some glossy banners. As one resident I talked to mentioned: ” You can wrap a piece of shit up in pretty paper and a ribbon, but underneath? It’s still just shit. ” He was very frustrated at the image Watts is trying to sell that it is the New Yaletown.

      Maybe in time, Whalley actually will get better, but that is years away, and unless someone can come up with the magic freaking cure for addiction and poverty, Whalleys issues just keep moving down to Newton. Gee, I can’t wait until those slot machines come to the local Bingo Hall!!! That’s really going to improve the area. Oh yes, and that dubious Welcome Home addiction centre run by John Volken who refuses to share his statistics with the general public.

      God, sometimes all this insanity and bureacracy makes me so angry my head feels like its going to explode. So many agencies and still all these addicts and homeless. Why even bother?

      Lisa, Paul and Pete: Thanks for stopping by and sharing. I totally get your frustrations because they are mine as well!! What can I say? Moving does seem to be the only option. Prety hard to inspire the people in the local communities when a good portion are grow-ops, dealer or users…. hehe. I get the impression that they aren’t about to be participating in community projects!

      As for getting into politics – I can honestly say at times I’ve thought about it, but honestly? I really suck at ass-kissing, and I think I’m probably more suited to my current gig. But thanks – I’m flattered you think I should.


  5. The picture of Watts in the Province article linked at the top of this post was taken outside Bollywood Banquet Hall a few feet away from me and my friend last Wednesday. She was not there “dealing with gang violence”, but rather to hear her friend Gordon Campbell give his budget speech to the Surrey Board of Trade. She waved those two cops over, who had been hassling us for holding up anti-Gateway signs, and struck a pose for the Province cameraman. Is she a mayor or a model?


  6. I am surprised that she did not tout the gun registry as really helping fight the gangs and their gun battles. 2 billion in tax money for what? Yup, it sure is the key to this puzzle.


  7. I grew up in Surrey , the old Surrey 1960/70/80 was great to live in . It is ever since they decided to make a city , that it became like this and of course the skytrain helped bringing in street people from other parts of Vancouver .
    I don,t know how so many of our houses disappeared and turned into mega-homes .Over 5000 trees gone ! Improper drainage in neighbourhoods . expropiations happening . What really gets me mad is when Dianne Watts had Tony Blair over , He is the one through George Bush,s suggestion to privatize Englands utility companies and now utility prices are sky high over there . Plus Tony is Georges fake war buddy . But now recently get this ! Dianne had George Bush over to exchange ideas about economic ideas . So now we have a Surrey Summit where leaders come together and exchange ideas . If anyone knows about NWO , privitization , manufactured wars or even Americanizing things even more than they already have this should be a concern . There is an article in the Georgia Straight about a Surrey letter writer who e-mailed her concern about Mr Bush,s visit to Mayor Dianne Watts . Here is some of it . I have great concerns about the message your office is sending out to our residents and people worldwide that a free a
    and just country such as Canada would welcome such an alleged human rights abuser . I beleive that all human beings have a right to free speech as George W Bush is entitled to his opinion but the lives of all the ones who were suspected to have been tortured , illegally detained or even murderd at the hands of the Bush administration is haunting my conscience . The Mayor responded ; This is an exciting , positive time for Surrey . Leaders in global issues are beginning to make an annual trek to our city and the Surrey Summit is becomming recognized as a forum for an exchange of economic ideas that is unrivalled in the lower mainland .
    You can find this in the issue ; Georgia Straight March 3-10/2011
    Very scary I say . Watts did not address the e-mailer her concerns as a city resident and a Canadian citizen . Read the paper for more .


Comments are closed.