“You are what you do…not what you say you will do.” ~ Carl Jung

“We tend to treat politics as a game, as if the people living and dying by the policies set by those in power are less important than the stories generated by colorful characters…” ~ Tyler Clark

I’ll never profess to know everything about politics, but there is one thing I feel I do know with certainty: for many politicians, it’s become a past-time more about political posturing, strategy and public relations than serving the people who elected them to their place in the first place.

Generally speaking, of course, because according to every politician in Surrey, all they want to do is serve the people.

Another thing that I know from speaking to and communicating with many Surrey residents over the last couple weeks, is that people are angry, confused and most of all, fed up. They are fed up with promises. They are fed up with public relations and they want action, not platitudes.

Today the BC NDP announced the Surrey Accord, a five point plan to address the issues  that Surrey “is currently facing”, according to their press release. The plan addresses several issues that Surrey has actually been facing for a very long time, such as the deregulation of recovery homes, lack of social and supportive housing, and less than optimal policing levels. None of these issues just popped up in the last couple of weeks- they’ve simply just been pushed to great public attention via recent events.

The plan is for the NDP to host a public forum shortly – and I am told possibly a number of public forums around Surrey in various neighbourhoods – then press the Liberal government to adopt the accord when the legislature resumes in February. (If the Liberals and Surrey council go along with it.)

When questioned by the press today, Surrey Cllr/MLA Marvin Hunt said the suggestions weren’t new and that they were something Surrey had been lobbying for, for some time. How long the city has been lobbying for all those suggestions, I don’t know – this was news to many Surrey residents I have talked to this evening.

In fact,Hunt, who is also Liberal MLA for Surrey-Panorama, also said he was pleased to see the NDP agreeing with Surrey council, and looking to work together with other levels of government, but emphasized again, that these aren’t new ideas.

“These are things that Surrey council has been lobbying for for a while, so it’s nice to see that they’re on board with what Surrey council has been saying. The problem, of course, is that there’s nothing particularly new there,” Hunt said.

“However, my mind also has enough history to remember when the NDP were in power and we were trying to work on the issue of bylaw courts – now it’s community courts – but back then it was bylaw courts. Ujjal Dosanjh said we’d have it in three months and we got it under the Liberal government because the NDP never did anything.”

He said the promises were not kept.

“So it’s one of those ones where it’s nice to see the opposition agree with us, but of course, the opposition is just that. They have no power to enact things. But it’s all part of a growing consensus as to what’s needed out here in Surrey and that’s good.”

Umm. Ok Marvin. Take credit, point fingers, blame the NDP, deflect Liberal promise for community courts then say its all good? I don’t think that works for Newton in your position as councillor, or MLA. And it certainly is not productive or conducive to working together.

Surrey mayor Dianne Watts welcomed the support but mentioned she hadn’t been contacted by the NDP at all – in fact this announcement took many community associations and organizations by surprise. The Newton Community Association had already booked a public forum for February, which has been discussed in the press at length following the first meeting. Newton MLA’s are invited, along with the mayor,council and other representatives from stakeholders in the area.

Of course, with the exception of Cllr./MLA Marvin Hunt -whose riding the Newton rec centre, arena and bus loop are actually in – the reigning BC Liberals have remained largely silent on the long standing problems of Newton,including Premier Christy Clark.  Sadly, Hunts only remarks to the press prior to this have been that he doesn’t consider inches of column space an indicator of what he’s done, or his effectiveness.

That might be true, but sadly, the state of his portion of Newton shows he hasn’t done a hell of a lot as an MLA or perhaps as a councillor who lived in Newton for a very long time.

Which brings me to the point of this post.

What has been going on in Newton is not a new problem. Newton has always been.. well.. Newton. More poverty, more crime, more squalor, but still Newton. Gang shootings have little to do with poverty in Newton,or the horror of the Newton Bus loop, or the lack of the city to follow through on the Newton plan.

What needs to be healed in Newton – and I say healed because Newton is indeed, hurting – is a totally separate issue and a complex one with many short term and long term action plans needed that require a full and non-partisan commitment to cooperation between every level of government.

Yes, you read that correctly. I said a:  ‘non-partisan cooperation between all levels of government.’

No political grandstanding, no political posturing, and no agenda’s. Yes, that is asking a lot considering it is an election year and everyone is pointing fingers right now, but that is what it is going to take to get this done. It must be a cohesive and coordinated effort.

The city can’t pass the buck to the province because of refugees… seriously? And while unregulated recovery homes are  an issue for all of Surrey, they are not solely to blame for everything that ails Newton. The city has been facing some serious criticism and questions on growth and the ability to keep pace with it – and how that has impacted Newton in particular.

The NDP who have had, until this past election several seats in Surrey, can’t  just pass the buck to the Liberals, because, well they are here, and have been for many years, in the thick of it.  Yes, we know how the Libs work, but change doesn’t always require a political office, it requires community leaders who see issues, raise the alarm and don’t stop. It’s been done. There is no excuse for not pouncing on issues simply because one sits in opposition!

The Liberals can remain in hiding all they want, but will not escape the examination of local residents who want answers – answers that have been a long time in coming. As the governing party in BC for more than a decade, they don’t have anyone to pass the buck to on many of these issues… although that doesn’t stop them from trying.

With all this passing of the buck, with all this posturing and positioning, where are the people of Newton left? Does anyone remember what this is all about, why people in Newton are so angry?

With so many people from so many different political backgrounds and leanings all professing to want the same thing for Newton, where are the phone calls between the power brokers?

Why is there a press opportunity instead of a meeting in a conference room in a neutral location if needed? Why all the grandstanding and talk about action… instead of real action and collaboration?

What is so damn hard about taking a few moments to say: ‘ It’s time to do the right thing, instead of the easy thing.’ ?

I want to believe that every politician, at every level, wants the best for the people in the community of Newton, regardless of what party or what direction they are headed. But none of this is possible working separately.

It’s easy to call a press conference, it’s easy for politicians to point fingers at each other and claim absolution and solutions that are responded to with more opposing claims and finger pointing.

It’s not so easy to pick up the phone and call your political adversary and say: ” Time to talk -Let’s get it done.” Yes, laugh. I’m sure you are.

But for the sake of every Newton resident, that is what needs to happen.

Because more often than not… “the secret is to gang up on the problem, instead of each other.” ~ unknown.

And that, my friends, would really be revolutionary politics.

29 thoughts on ““You are what you do…not what you say you will do.” ~ Carl Jung

  1. A.E. Olson

    Part of the problem with the NDP MLAs is that they have been more concerned about getting elected than doing the right thing for the people of Newton, Bridgeview and a few other places. I am disappointed to say the very least with their lack of action. This press release and call for action is a little late but a welcome action.

    Like

    1. Laila

      Agreed.I would hate to see any false hope for Newton residents who many I have spoken with, are wary of this announcement considering everything. The last thing Newton needs, is more promises and plans that never happen. It would be political suicide.

      Like

  2. e.a. f.

    Certainly a passionate plea for things to change in Newton. It is doubtful it will help. There are things which can be done, which won’t even cost a lot of money, but they haven’t been done and they won’t be done. Some may say the NDP is grandstanding however, if they picked up the phone and asked the lieberals to come to a meeting, trust me it wouldn’t happen.

    Not living in Surrey i don’t know if the lights have been changed in the area of concern. My money says they haven’t. The forested area is most likely still forested and the police aren’t any more visible then they were before the murder. . Changing the lights would have taken a few minutes of Ms. Watts speaking with the necessary people at Translink. Has that happened yet? Translink could have phoned Ms. Watts and said they’d get it done. That hasn’t happened.

    The trees which provide cover, they are still there. Don’t even expect them to be cut back or removed until there are at last a few more murders. It isn’t on council’s agenda and the works dept. won’t take it upon themselves. if citizens get out and do it themselves, they will most likely be arrested.

    Transit could put a couple of officers on the loop as long as transit moves. Has it happened. Doubt it. What are they waiting for?

    \Nothing has been done and nothing will be done. We had 49 women murdered on the DTES and for certainly the first 20 or so, authorities were denying there was a serial killer.

    There is not much to compel the politicians to do anything. Their first order of business is to remain in power. To do that they have to keep their base happy. Newton isn’t their base. If things are going to change in Newton, the people in the area will have to force change or there will have to be several more murders before anything is done.

    People who want a change on council might want to think about running against the current council., It will take work and money. For those who want change, make an annoucment and start knocking on doors now. don’t wait until the election, hoping some local political group will do it.

    Like

    1. Laila

      I agree totally. Residents are saying over and over it’s time to act on recommendations made at the last town hall meeting and at the first public forum with RCMP. Great solutions from the people who live there!

      Like

  3. Sandy

    I know nothing about politics but I heard on the radio listening to Doug Elford just a little while ago that the newton community association had already planned a public forum for people in Newton to talk to the politicians.Why don’t the NDP just come to that one instead of having their own?I’m sorry if that is a dumb question but I don’t understand why there are so many forums happening?

    Like

    1. Laila

      As far as I know, the MLA’s did not contact the committee of the Newton Association about their forum, so I don’t know the answers to your question Sandy, sorry about that. Certainly I think everyone in Newton agrees the more attention to the problems and solutions, the better it is for Newton residents. The Newton MLA Harry Bains was invited to our forum, as is the other MLA for Surrey- Panorama, which covers the southern half of Newton, in addition to the mayor who already committed to attending our forum and the RCMP.

      Like

  4. Tim

    Excellent read and very common sense.This is not time for politicking.Marvin Hunt likes to hear his own voice and looks like an idiot having said this.I’ve worked with him enough to know that he makes a great Liberal.

    If I were a politician reading this in Surrey,I’d be cringing,and reaching for the phone damn quick.

    Like

  5. Gary T

    Great post Laila. I’m afraid though that getting the different political entities to all work together would be a lot like saying that there will be peace in the Middle east. Just ain’t gonna happen.

    Like

  6. Mke

    You make great sense Laila, but like Gary t above, I doubt it will happen.

    Our politicians are all playng the children’s game of “musical chairs”….. only the last one standing without a chair will have nowhere to hide. In the meantime, we will all suffer through yet anouther game of “deny, delay and defer”.

    You and so many others in the community have extended the olive branch to local politicians to no avail.

    Please keep up your gentle prodding……. they hear you more than you realize.With an election looming, I expect the tragic death of Julie Paskall will not go away and nor should it. We all owe her memory more.

    Like

  7. cherylb

    ALL of them are too busy trying to score points to actually cooperate with each other and just get the job done. One thing I used to like about municipal politics was that it was a place where people of all parties could work together for the good of their community. Sadly, that is not the case anymore.

    Like

  8. Gary

    Excellent post. If each reader e-mails this post to their elected representative, Municipal and Provincially, to make sure that it is out there, then what is effectively happening is the ball is now in their court. If there is no response, then act accordingly at election time. Plus keep on pushing. Again, great Post.

    Like

  9. Marge

    Hunt is an opportunist politician – he gets elected by the “religious right” and will say and do whatever it takes to keep himself there. He has never had a “real” job and knows nothing about the “real” world. We used to attend his church and I can remember a few years back my husband asking him point blank if the water taxes were going to increase when the property and water tax split. Right in church (where he’s supposed to tell the truth one would think) he said they definitely would not. A month or so later, guess what??? I don’t trust most politicians and him in particular, because his type pretends to be conservative but they are only in it for themselves.

    Like

  10. To me it is a matter of responsibility. For too long people have permitted various authourities to take care of things for them. Things like their neighbourhoods, neighbourhoods that depend on the right decisions being made in places far away from them. Social decisions. Business decisions. Environmental decisions. Long after it became evident the various authourities were not taking care of things we continued to permit them to carry on.

    And so it goes.

    Averting our eyes from the problems and the authourities tasked with solution finding has not gone well. I repeat, because, of course, the anger generated by just such an observation is where the solution lies, averting our eyes from our civic responsibility has not gone well at all.

    Anger is an energy the powers that be in Newton, Surrey, and the rest of our country fear the most. They think they are doing a great job. They really do. Don’t buy it and above all else do not allow your anger to subside until you have milked it for every last drop of energy it holds. That is a lot of energy in Newton.

    If every last one of the elected officials of Surrey is not sent packing in November you will have failed to harness that energy. If there is no cost to civic and business leaders for messing up we get what we deserve: screwed.

    Demand the impossible – demand a better Surrey.

    Like

  11. Abby

    So let me get this straight – if the NDP speak out, come up with a plan, or remain silent they fail. Seriously what are they supposed to do then. I take more exception to the Liberal bashing them for having some ideas. No wonder things are they way they are in this province.

    Like

    1. Laila

      No…you’ve got it wrong. If the NDP don’t make a fuss over all of this until something happens… that is a fail.

      We know the Liberals have done nothing except cut funding and slash services. The issues in Newton and in Surrey are not new, in some areas they have gotten much worse and yes, NDP MLA’s have been here the entire time.

      Why wait until now to introduce an accord that was needed many years ago? Its not like they don’t live here and see what is going on….

      Like

      1. Abby

        What I know is if you want something good to come out of this then you need to join your voices whether it be to the NDP MLAs or little grandma down the road. Poopooing the NDP because ‘they didn’t before.. and other such stuff’ is not the way to get something constructive. I’m sure you know this. Aside from that the NDP have not been in power since the 90s so what the … maybe you’re confused. You’re just hand feeding the dangerous animals – well done.

        Like

        1. Laila

          Lol.. great comment. Clearly you didn’t read the post, or you didn’t understand it. Either way, you are entitled to your opinion. That is exactly what I said – the politicians need to stop passing the buck, pointing fingers and get it done.

          Ralston, Hammell and Bains have been MLA’s in Surrey for years. I have Newton residents among others, telling me that they have been bringing these issues to their NDP MLA’s for years, to no avail. Simply pointing out that if the NDP really wanted to make change, they would have contacted the people who are actually making change in person, rather than making a big press release etc etc. Much like many other politicians. Its all good to contact the RCMP and call for more police now… some people in Surrey have been doing that for years.

          Phone calls and meetings have been had between community members and stakeholders who want to make change. There is a time to get the work done and this is it. This is not the time to try and score political points, or whine you weren’t allow to attend a community meeting.

          Saying or inferring the NDP – or any politician for that matter-is helpless simply because they are not in power is not very reassuring to the voting public. Makes you wonder why we have an opposition sometimes, doesn’t it? 🙂

          Like

          1. Abby

            The way the media reports it seems there is no opposition and perhaps there isn’t – I don’t know. If you think now is the time to unite a voice, then stop criticizing NDP, blue black and green for speaking up. The NDP have not been in power for over a decade of course they cannot actually follow through with any plan – what are you smoking. Reassurance from the opposition really??? This article reads as a clever way to criticize anyone for speaking up or gawd forbid creating a plan. Talk about cutting your nose off to spite your face. As far as people calling etc clearly they are ineffective – sheesh that is pretty obvious.

            Like

            1. Peter

              Abby,the issues aren’t new.Laila has been speaking out for years on this with other community members.The point is no one did anything or listened until someone sadly died.Watts said herself the NDP didn’t call the city first to see where they could help,they just did their own press thing.Lots happens AFTER something bad happens.Why wasn’t there a Surrey accord in place before this?Your comments sound like someone who is defending the NDP since you didn’t defend the city or the libs.

              Like

  12. Rick

    The following quote from Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki, which can also be found in Basic Money Skills

    “Because I had two influential fathers, I learned from both of them. I had to think about each dad’s advice, and in doing so, I gained valuable insight into the power and effect of one’s thoughts on one’s life.

    For example, one dad had a habit of saying, “I can’t afford it.” The other dad forbade those words to be used.

    He insisted I say, “How can I afford it?” One is a statement, and the other is a question.

    One lets you off the hook, the other forces you to think.

    My soon-to-be-rich dad would explain that by automatically saying the words “I can’t afford it,” your brain stops working.

    By asking the question “How can I afford it?” your brain is put to work.

    He did not mean buy everything you wanted. He was fanatical about exercising your mind, the most powerful computer in the world. “My brain gets stronger every day because I exercise it. The stronger it gets, the more money I can make.” He believed that automatically saying “I can’t afford it” was a sign of mental laziness.”

    http://freedomfromgovernment.us/how-i-can-tell-you-are-a-slave-in-less-than-2-sentences/

    Like

  13. Laila

    For those asking,I’m certain AGT has an email or contact page where those who wish to contact him or find out where he is can do so. Please stay on topic 😉 A new post is coming soon along with the third in the Playing with the Dragon series.

    Like

    1. J David Cox

      Sorry, if it seemed I was off-topic. So let me be more precise: This is just a suggestion (and not a great one) Surrey residents have to form their own police force. Really. A bunch of volunteers all around the Newton Rec Centre with walkie-talkies and cell phones. From 5:00pm til half an hour after closing. Of course, that has to be done RIGHT and even then it is no long-term answer. But, by taking action, the politicians will be embarrassed into doing something. The media will eat it up. Like Ghandi and MLK, you will have to put yourself on the line in some way. Maybe everyone just goes down to the parking lot and shines their headlights into the trees for awhile. I dunno….you folks have brains. Just keep it peaceful and lawful and ‘make a difference’.
      By the way…………who is AGT?

      Like

      1. Laila

        No,you were not – some comments that were totally off topic were deleted. Somehow my response ended up being in line with yours… don’t apologize!

        I agree the community needs to be engaged and I think we will hear more on how that might happen at the next community forum.

        Like

  14. J David Cox

    Of course I agree with you (almost always do) but the same accusation holds true for us – the great unwashed. What the Hell do we do? We whine and complain, we write to each other and we go to meetings to hear others say what we already agree with…but what do we do? And that is what the politicians count on – that we do (as in ‘action’) nothing but talk. The NDP should be picketing the legislature to protest it being closed. Hydro customers should be ‘not paying’ Hydro (until they have to) at the same time as they find alternative power sources (solar panels). We should all protest with our dollars, our votes, our voices and our actions. We seem to be doing this with alternative medicine, alternative energy and alternative politics (social media) but we have to do more. Most remote communities, for instance, use barter and cash to keep Big Bro partially at bay. At the very least, vote with your dollars and always pay with cash. It is a start.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s