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South Surrey Residents all candidates meeting November 14th, 2011

~ Current mayor Dianne Watts defending both Surrey Economic summits and her invitation to George Bush.

South Surrey residents packed Rotary Field House this evening for one of the last all candidates meetings before voters hit the polls next weekend, and to this observer, one thing was clear.

Surrey residents know what they want this year and they aren’t afraid to ask the questions that matter to current and potential candidates for the mayoral and council positions soon up for grabs.

Hot topics of the night – based on crowd reaction to answers- were how candidates would handle the Semiahmoo Town Centre plan, George Bush and the continuance of Economic Summits in Surrey and crime.

So where do the candidates stand on some of the issues from this evening? Here’s what stood out for me. The two biggest areas where opposing political slates and independent candidates were nearly polar opposites were whether or not  they agreed that reported( key word there) crime is decreasing in the city, and George Bush.

With respect to crime, all Surrey First candidates agreed crime is decreasing in Surrey, and nearly all SCC candidates disagreed with that statement.

Surrey First candidates who chose to speak to that issue, used statistics as the governing reason why crime is down, as well as the crime reduction strategy.

Surrey Civic Coalition candidates who chose to speak to that issue, mentioned the flaws and misinformation in the statistics, which do not report all crimes, count all crimes the same way, and use qualifiers that make some of the statistics virtually useless. Ross Buchanan mentioned that in some cases, crime is actually up and Grant Rice pointed out that in the case of Violent crime, its a near flat line over several years.

Candidates were asked a) if the presence of George Bush was beneficial or not to the city locally, nationally and internationally  and b) if elected would they continue the summits and who they might invite.

Bob Bose: No, and showed a lack of good judgement by the city.

Ross Buchanan: No, invitation despite opposition ruptured trust between citizens and city hall. Questioned true cost to city of hosting event

Rina Gill: No, gave city a bad reputation and questioned policing costs.

Bruce Hayne:  Yes – ” takes unpopular position” and states yes, he is a businessman, takes staff and sometimes clients, paid for his own ticket and theirs, so important for local economy in Surrey.( Bruce is the new man on Surrey First, is not currently elected, with hopes to win over Bose’s seat which would make our entire Surrey council, all Surrey First.)

Linda Hepner- Absolutely yes a good idea to have Bush and yes it was big benefit to Surrey. States summits are part of Economic Investment Strategy

Barinder Rasode: Yes, states we need to listen to those we don’t agree with so we can learn from their failures.

Grant Rice: No, states no way Bush benefitted Surrey, questions how Muslims in Surrey must have felt about Bush coming. ( Watts shook her head and said” Oh my God” to that)

Watts: Yes, mentioned again how other things were talked about, and that what our American neighbours do affects us, would continue summits and stated that a muslim person at the back of the room was at the summit and she didn’t believe he was offended.

Unfortunately, I had to leave before the last two questions were heard and prior to the candidates one minute pitch to the crowd why they should vote for them, but the undercurrent of the evening definitely spoke to a strong feeling of change and discontent in the city, one that might make this years election a crucial one for some candidates feeling the heat. With only 5 days to go, it’s everyman, or woman, for themselves.


  1. awesome report Laila,
    you didn’t miss that much, you did miss that there was more talks about awards and it was clear to me that Mayor Watts had her team to do the dirty work and talk for her, she was very happy when they spoke of HER and how they are proud to be on HER team, she has them well trained to do what she wants them to do and say…
    Apparently they need the new City Hall to put up all their Awards…


  2. and I suggested invite Derrick Jensen to the next Economic Summit. “If your experience is that your food comes from the grocery store and that your water comes from the tap, you will defend to the death the system that brings those to you because your life depends on it. If, on the other hand, your experience is that your water comes from a stream …and that your food comes from a landbase, you will defend to the death that stream and that landbase, because your life depends on it.”

    – Derrick Jensen


  3. Haha I love this pic Laila! I was there last night in the back,and was sorry to see you go, would have liked to shake your hand, but everytime she opened her mouth I couldn’t wait for her to shut it again.She is so arrogant. I think Ross was praying for her to stop talking!! Bob looks thoughtful in this shot, maybe imagining council meetings without her presiding? Great job. Ross is a breath of fresh air and we all voted for him too.


  4. May I comment everyone looks so bored while Watts is talking ? She says the same thing everytime,and I felt like she just thought we were all a bunch of silly people for being angry over Bush, and that bothers me.I was also at Kwantlen when she got up and took the microphone to speak out, and again, the attitude like she is the only one with sense and everyone else is out of line for asking questions or expressing outrage.
    A real leader takes all into consideration,and never talks down to people, even when they don’t agree. Thank you.


  5. hi, unfortunately i was unable to attend so thanks for all the info. was wondering how many people were there. in my opinion bob bose, is the only one on surrey council that i respect as not being one of watts’ puppets. whenever i watch the monday night meetings on tv it is always bob bose who has the knowledge and cares enough about surrey to do the right thing. unfortunately, he is often alone on his decisions (all the more respect i have for him). thank you bob. best of luck to bob, bernadette, and ross (sorry deanna but i can vote for only 1 mayor).


  6. Hi katharina!!

    It was a full house, standing room only, nearly 150+ people I would say, a fantastic turnout for an all candidates meeting. So glad to hear you are supporting Ross, we thank you for your support. I would also like to share my thought that I encourage voters to think independently of their employers or unions if that is a factor( and I hear it is this year) and check out and investigate your independent candidates who likely dont have that massive money bank to run the campaign, but offer a wealth of experience, knowledge and creativity that makes them credible council and mayoral candidates.


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