Countdown to Surrey Votes 2014: The Independents.

Shirley Chisholm, a former American politician really wrapped it all up when she said:

‘There is little place in the political scheme of things for an independent, creative personality, for a fighter. Anyone who takes that role must pay a price.’

Indeed, they do pay a price. While many consider the three slates dominating both the media and conversation in Surrey to be coalitions of independents,in reality it’s hardly independent when every candidate adheres to the platform of the slate.

As in every election there are a number of true independents who are running on their own, and as most independents do, on low budget campaigns. For this reason they are immediately disqualified as  serious contenders because clearly anyone wanting to win an election must spend upwards of a million dollars… right? Wrong. In fact it’s rather revealing to see how media impacts democracy in action, when candidates like these are left out of important debates because they ‘aren’t credible’.

There are a few independent candidates this year that in my opinion, stand out and have been receiving rave reviews from residents who’ve seen then in debates,but haven’t gained the media’s attention. It’s sad because between them, they bring a lot of experience, passion and on the ground community dedication and service.

Grant Rice, mayoral candidate: 
grantriceGrant Rice is the man to go to for all things Surrey. In fact, residents who’ve seen him in the candidates meetings are so impressed that they often ask why he hasn’t run before! In fact, he has….but his light wasn’t able to shine the way it should have in previous elections. A north Surrey resident, Grant is an accomplished man, with a diverse and pertinent resume befitting public service.  He understands sustainable development and urban planning,something the city of Surrey could really benefit from. And, he knows where all the skeletons are in Surrey city hall – few know the state of finances in the city like Grant does, so this man is definitely worth a second look:)

Martin Rooney, council candidate:

MartinMartin is a man who has gained the support of a very diverse group of residents, businesses and politicians in Surrey already, largely as a result of his extensive advocacy and support work in the community here and elsewhere. A Whalley resident, his interest in representing the people of Surrey is evident in the focus and passion with which he engages residents and issues alike. Martin has a proven track record of creating alliances and working with others to achieve great results -one of which was overturning the travel ban imposed on people with HIV travelling into the US when he was refused entry – and his work on HIV awareness and testing is award-winning. Martin is one of the few candidates to address the issues of homelessness and poverty in the city, and is committed to a safe,successful community for all.

 I can’t even pretend to be unbiased when it comes to Martin. We just met in the early stages of this years election campaign and while the warmth of his Irish charm drew me in, it was the passion for change and service that won my respect. He really cares, and he understands what life is like for those living on low incomes. Check him out at

John Edwards, mayoral candidate 

John EdwardsJohn is yet another candidate whose charisma and warmth immediately engages people and perhaps comes as a result of his background in Rotary and healthcare. Another candidate with a proven track record of on the ground service in our community, he has served in a number of roles in Rotary, including past president. A Newton resident, he strongly feels the city has failed on a number of fronts,including public safety. One of his ideas that caught my eye is the creation of a Citizens Police Advisory Committee, but you can check out his entire platform at!platform/c1flq

Stephen Gammer council candidate 

gammerStephen Gammer kind of came out of left field and appeared with Brenda Locke, running together as Team Surrey. This came as a surprise to many who had seen Brenda doing the events rounds with Barinder Rasode over the summer as speculation thought Brenda might run as a member of Rasode’s slate. Nevertheless, Team Surrey has taken the leading role in bringing attention to the cities most forgotten citizens, our homeless, mentally ill and addicted street residents.

Stephen again has a strong record of community involvement with our communities less fortunate and a strong business background as well.  He also lives in ‘city centre’ aka the heart of Whalley. He get’s it,he’s a get it done kind of  guy and he’s not afraid to address these kind of difficult issues head on, and with compassion. Check him out at

Consider an independent voice on council, and check back later on for one final post to wrap up my thoughts on this years election!

10 thoughts on “Countdown to Surrey Votes 2014: The Independents.

  1. Good for you. They deserved that. By definition only an independent CAN POSSIBLY have all their integrity because they have NOT SOLD out to a party so as to get that so-called credibility. Probably the best political reform would ban parties as well as donations. Then, and only then, do you get people who are 100% civic minded.


    1. The biggest downfall of independents isn’t planning their campaign soon enough. If they plan on running again, they need to start planning Sunday if they don’t win. But these are all very good men to consider as candidates in my opinion. I hate to see the public write someone off simply because they don’t run in a slate.


  2. I live in Vernon and for the first time in my life (63 years of age), I will not bother to get my derrière off the couch to go vote.
    In my city we have had various referenda voted down by the electorate only to find that this was the wrong answer and the elected officials go ahead and borrow/build anyway.
    A referendum seems to be nothing but a display of seeking the electorate’s input as an exercise in PR so that at a later date we can be told that our input was sought.
    The Chamber of Commerce runs our city where development issues are concerned, not the elected officials or (heaven forbid!) the electorate.
    By the way, the provincial and federal governance styles are role models and the municipalities are simply aping the former. Provincially and federally, the corporations govern, the governments manage. Why do we even call it “government”?
    This is democratic government?!
    We are so easily tricked………


    1. And if you don’t vote, well then they’ve won completely, haven’t they? Because you’ve become so disenchanted you won’t make the effort to vote, it gives them all the more power.

      AT 63, you’ve seen more and experienced more than I have. You know what that vote is worth to people who don’t have the freedom to even touch a ballot.

      Please reconsider.Even if you only vote for one person, which is very acceptable and often encouraged to avoid diluting a vote ( vote plumping they call it) please get your butt up and over to the voting location.


  3. Thanks Laila for covering some candidates who have been completely ignored by the msm and the Harper gagged cbc.

    I believe that GRANT RICE is by far the best man for the job of Mayor of Surrey.

    I will be voting all independents, with only two exceptions, those being Michael Bose and Stephen Gammer who I will also be voting for.

    Looking forward to your further comments later today and thanks for all you do for Surrey.


    1. Bose and Gammer are both excellent candidates 🙂 Thank you for being engaged directly in your community Jean. Despite what people say, it does make a difference. If only people realized the power they really do have, what things could be achieved.


  4. Yes I am aware of that, and I absolutely disagree with that, but I do think as an independent, he is worth a look and a comparison – the issue is there hasnt been a lot of press on these particular independents who really do bring qualifications and record of service to the table.

    I let people make their own choices, but it’s really a tragedy when independents get looked over the way these men have.


  5. Been reading a lot these past few hours. I agree Laila, the media doesn’t give independents much press, as you say. They deserve more. So with all the reading, I think I’ve made the decision that most of my ballots will be cast for independents. You are right in that we do have the power, we just have to use it, and use it wisely.
    One thing I would like to raise – at all levels of government – and follow through, a Bill that stops these damn phone calls, robocalls, 48 hours before any election. Sheesh, it’s ridiculous.


  6. Let me clarify something – as far as media, it’s a two way street. A candidate has to get themselves out there, they have to raise issues and they have to go to the press. The press doesn’t have the time or budget to follow people around on twitter or at events.

    In this particular race, there were two debates where many residents objected to the fact that some mayoral candidates were left out. CBC only invited the big three campaigns and Shaw has stated they did attempt to contact all the candidates but not all the candidates received those calls.

    Vote for who you will, there are good candidates in most teams and as independents . No one says you have to choose an entire slate and in fact, I suggest looking hard at every candidate to see what they stand for and why!

    Very happy to see how much time you’ve invested Curt. 🙂

    And, I agree with the robo-calls.

    The best way to avoid them is via your annual tax return, where there are boxes you check to say YES, please share my information on voters lists, or NO, do not share my info with voters lists.

    Easy as pie. They can still get your numbers elsewhere, but this is the best way to avoid most of them.


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