Where does the buck stop?

There is a quiet,angry sadness growing over Surrey this morning and the silence speaks volumes as a family grieves and a community is left reeling.

The young man murdered early Sunday was the nephew of MLA Harry Bains. And while death on the street is not new to a city that has been home to many infamous examples of how it ends for those connected to gangs and drugs,it’s hit home hard for many today that this can and does happen in anyone’s family because of the connection.

I felt sick when I first heard Sunday evening before media had confirmed it.Local residents already knew. Harry and I had just spoken via twitter early yesterday morning as I reached out asking for his help in setting up a meeting between all three levels of government and the community that was agreed to, but never arranged by the city.

He agreed,saying he will keep trying because the issue was too important to give up. And sadly now for Harry, it’s become a personal issue as well. My thoughts are with him this morning ,and his family as they go through the very difficult and public process of having this played out in the press as well.

RCMP have stated Arun Bains had associations with those involved in the current disputes going on in Surrey and Delta, and are asking for anyone who knows something, for the families of these men, to speak up.The family will undoubtedly be going through much reflection as they grieve. But I fear that this will not end here. I hope the families of the young men involved think hard about this murder,and that it could be their son next.

During the 2008/2009 gang wars, I lived in the heart of Newton and it was an experience much like one many Surrey residents have been dealing with in the last 6 weeks. Having lived in Steveston for some time, it was an education to say the least.

It’s one thing to hear about gun violence in the news like many do- it’s horrifying enough to read or see – but it’s another thing entirely when you’ve seen the blood on the sidewalk that was spilled as a direct result of one persons attempt to kill another.I won’t forget it,nor will any other person who’s seen it either. And it does change you – it’s not like the blood involved in childbirth, or injuries from non violent means. Seeing the blood from gun violence was different because there was intent behind it.

It was a miracle then that no one innocent was caught in the crossfire and it’s equally  a miracle now,considering the number of times occupants in vehicles have been shooting at each other in traffic in family neighbourhoods during the day and early evening. During the 08-09 gang wars, bullets found their way into innocent families homes, lodged in bedroom walls. They were found in the side of school. They hit cars on the street.

But people forget.

Largely not commented on is the fact that RCMP state only 11 of the 20-something shootings between vehicles and into homes are connected to an alleged drug turf war between Somali and South Asian drug traffickers.   What about all the other incidents? Are those just regular run of the mill targeted shootings connected to other kinds of disputes or crimes? Does this make anyone feel better? No.

While I applaud the RCMP’s decision to release the photos of the young men involved that are not cooperating with police, I don’t applaud the complete disagreement RCMP media reps have taken in the media when it comes to gun violence and ‘targeted’ hits.

Today IHIT rep Sgt. Stephanie Ashton issued this statement:

“This is not magic, we can’t solve crime unless the public works with us to do so. Someone out there knows something about what happened, those people need to come forward and tell us what they know.”

She adds the public is not at risk because this was a targeted hit.”

This is where I must refer to two things.

1) a post written in 2013 where  I call out Chief Supt. Bill Fordy for his public relations driven position in the media: https://lailayuile.com/2013/04/25/but-i-thought-we-are-all-safe-chief-supt-bill-fordy/

2) The public hesitates to come forward because they worry about things like this- a comment made when I urged anyone with info – including families- to share info with the police:


Georgia Straight editor Charlie Smith has come to the conclusion that if ” progressives put more effort into discussing solutions, it could change the tenor of the conversation and yield some positive results.”

Progressives have been talking about solutions for years, often to no avail.

There have been several community forums hosted by residents, and even a series of Town Hall meetings hosted by the city where excellent suggestions were brought forth by residents and community leaders. Some have been implemented,many were not.

Ironically some community associations who have brought forth progressive ideas born from knowledge of their own communities needs, were ignored or negated by the city, who have said publicly it is a perception of crime, not reality.

It brings us back to the meeting called for by Darlene Bowyer at the last Newton forum hosted by residents, one that would bring every level of government together at the table to deal with all these issues. The city was to arranged it,some emails went back and forth and the meeting never happened. These politicians have their heads in the sand.

And here we are again. It’s time for every politician in this city, at every level, to put aside the politics and come to the table with the community. Every single MLA from both sides of the legislature. It’s time to discuss funding. It’s time to discuss accountability in policing. It’s time to deal with all of it.

And that’s where you come in.

I can’t stress enough how important it is for everyone, whether you live in an area impacted by this gun violence or not, to step up here.

This violence knows no boundaries and bullets don’t care. If you have kids in school here, this is your problem.If you have neighbours who call dial-a dope dealers, this is your problem. If you care about a liveable community, this is your problem. 

Please attend Tuesday nights meeting being held by the city in conjunction with the RCMP, Surrey schools and other agencies at Tamanawis Secondary school at 12600-66 Avenue, in Newton. You need to be part of the solution.

Because it is no longer good enough to shake your head and make concerned grimaces at the news. 



17 thoughts on “Where does the buck stop?

  1. Reblogged this on Metro Van Musing and commented:
    It is incumbent upon all of us to do something to improve this sad and unfortunate situation in our city.
    Make a call, send a letter. Take 5 minutes out of your day and just do it. Let’s get all levels of government and the community together and talk. No blame. Just talking and more importantly, listening.


  2. I was stunned to learn that the young man murdered was the nephew of Mr. Bains. My heart goes out to his family at this sad time. All of the young men involved in gangs are someone’s brother/son/nephew, I certainly don’t mean disrespect, but the first thought in my head this morning was, if only his family had spoken out, maybe this young man would still be alive. No Mother wants to see their son die in a hail of bullets. This whole nightmare situation has just taken a very sad turn, and I truly hope that this young man’s passing will spur the community as a whole to demand change. As the the previous commenter notes, no blame, more listening. Thank you for writing this piece Layla.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I feel for you guys. I really do. It is like a war zone there and you all are looking for answers in a room. I just don’t think the answers are to be found there, in or even on the local battlefield. Or anywhere near it at all. Everyone there is too close or too shell-shocked. Too immersed. And what are you going to do and say in a community centre when there are a dozen snipers and shooters out there blinded by hate and anger? And drugs. “Just say, NO?”
    This is a bigger problem than Surrey’s. This is a greed and power and ‘nothing left to lose’ disease. Street-level. This is the disenfranchised, the ‘losers’, trying to be winners in a giant, rotten game that is like a flesh-eating disease.
    All battle zones are like that. Gettysburg. Plains of Abraham. The battle of Waterloo was fought in Belgium but involved a half dozen countries and they were all fighting for way larger issues. It was NOT ABOUT Waterloo!
    And this is NOT about Surrey. Surrey is just the local battlefield. The war is everywhere.
    Take the Indo-Canadians out of the picture (and that ain’t gonna happen anytime soon) and you still have Somalians and Asians going at it. One of them ‘wins’ and the Hell’s Angels re-insert themselves and so do the next-idiot-wannabes and, of course, the police just expand their numbers. The problem is a societal one and it has spread virulently. Greed is out of control. Morals are no longer a factor. Anything goes in so many areas of our life. “WE NEED MORE SWAT TEAMS!!”
    Ebola is a sniffle compared to this.
    Some people volunteered to go to Sierra Leone to fight that plague. God bless ’em. Most people got the hell out.
    Condolences to all of you; the gang/soldiers, their families, the neighbours and the innocent bystanders. Especially the martyrs trying to make it OK. The system mislead you. You have been duped. And this system is really, really sick and now hemorrhaging young men. Today. Tomorrow? More collateral damage, of course. Like all battles. And it seems to be extremely infectious and spreading.
    Consider packing your bags.


  4. Where does the buck stop? Good question, but no real answer. It doesn’t stop at the Mayor or council’s desks. They have known about this activity for some time and have done nothing or if they did, it wasn’t effective. The RCMP’s Fordy, is about as useless as the proverbial. The man needs to be transferred out and a new chief brought in. Actually it would be better if Surrey had its own police force, which reported to its own police board. None of that is going to happen because its cheaper to use the RCMP. What it boils down to, in my opinion, the politicians and RCMP brass consider life cheap, at least the lives of those involved in these incidents.

    Nothing is going to change until about 1/2 dozen, “real citizens” get killed in the cross fire. Then perhaps Fordy and Hepner will take notice.

    The citizens of Surrey are to blame also. They have known. policing in Surrey was not effected and understaffed. What did they do? Returned the same political group to office. Now they can life with it or die because of it.

    If the RCMP really wanted to do something about all of this, they say they know who the people are involved are, assign them 24/7 officers who follow them. It would put an immense crimp in their business. The other thing the RCMP could do is start “dogging” the dealers who work for these young men. Arrest them arrest them, arrest them. we know where the drugs are being sold, just assign police officers.

    As things stand now in Surrey I’d conclude Fordy and Hepner are just fine with things. At some level it all works for them, because nothing has been done about it.


    1. Nothing will change even if ‘real citizens’ get hurt. As ‘Moose’ says below: “Lots of profits in drugs.” And there it is – the problem in a short sentence – it is a system that puts profits ahead of everything else.
      Btw…is anyone ‘getting this’? Am I wasting my breath (OK, finger skin)? Is it NOT obvious? You can’t stop a runaway train. It has to crash. Your best option is to jump off that train!
      You don’t HAVE to agree. Just THINK about it!


  5. I seldom agree with eaf but he is right this time. The RCMP could /should arrest anyone that leaves their mommy and daddys house with drugs, guns. They know who they are so set up and arrest them everytime they step out their front door. Then ask yourself why the federal cons tougher gun laws were struck down.


  6. A better question: why are the Cons spending millions (billions?) on anti-terror measures for terrorists that have NOT killed one single person in Canada when there is REAL terror in your neighbourhood (averaging about 75 deaths in the lower mainland per year) and they are spending NOTHING? Moose kill more people in Canada than terrorists. Answer: foreign bogey-men justify government’s existence. Local punks do not.


    1. We’ve received a few new officers of what has been ordered, but I suspect not enough.
      I think we all support the men and women on the street dealing with the result of what happens when you have a community grow this fast,without the number of officers keeping pace too. Surrey is a massive geographic area to patrol.far bigger than Vancouver, yet our case loads per officer have always been higher.

      Toss in chronic underfunding of social programs by the province and a growing youth population…. it’s not an easy fix.

      This letter was sent to the paper last year by a 20 year veteran of the force. It speaks volumes and is worthy of reading again. The officers on the street bear the burden of decisions made far above them. http://www.thenownewspaper.com/opinion/editorial-and-letters/letter-as-20-year-veteran-of-surrey-rcmp-i-know-how-short-staffed-detachment-is-1.1062169


      1. I read it. Makes sense in a close-the-door-after-the-horse-has-bolted kind of way. But, like a bandage on a cut, the real answer is NOT to cut yourself in the first place. An ex-gang member on the CBC today said it without realizing what he was saying…”so much money…so easy…no family involvement….coming from poverty…culturally rooted problems brought here…” And that is at the root of it. They come from a mind-set of fear and scarcity.
        People need money to get by. I know that. I grew up dirt-poor. Especially new immigrant families. They are starting from scratch. They came here because they thought money would solve their problems. And we encourage that kind of thinking in our status oriented society even with people born here. We SELL the idea of getting money. But money does NOT do all that it is cracked up to do. ENOUGH money solves a lot of basic problems but too much money causes brand new ones. Your kid is driving a BMW when he is shot dead. What’s all your new-found money gonna do for you then? We have to teach people that enough money is enough. Too much is NOT good. Admittedly, that is a vague blob of a concept to sell but it’s true. All you really have in life is TIME. And that was a gift. Don’t waste your very precious, very limited time getting more money, fish, apples or floor space than you really need.
        I gotta shut up now, LY. No one wants to read this.


  7. I never thought I would find something to agree on with Kash Heed, but I do agree with this. The discussion largely became directed into that the gang issue is specific to the south Asian and Somalian communities, when in fact gang issues know no cultural or ethnic issues. And the trickle down and related crime isn’t either, as anyone who spends a day or two at the Surrey courthouse can tell you. Even the photos released by RCMP included two white men. Give me a break.

    What resulted was a discussion that moved into immigration and racism.

    8 minutes of good audio interview can be found in the left margin at this story link and are eight minutes well spent. in my opinion. http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/kash-heed-says-gang-violence-in-surrey-is-not-a-south-asian-issue-1.3061559


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