Surrey’s outgoing mayor voices concern over pot revenue, pushes for policing debate

File photo. Darryl Dyck / The Canadian Press

Surrey’s mayor only has a few more weeks in office before she steps aside, but Linda Hepner is once again saying there needs to be a broad discussion about policing in her city.

Hepner said it’s a discussion worth having with “absolutely everything on the table,” and that the issue impacts everyone in the city.

It’s a question of RCMP versus a municipal force.

READ MORE: Costly referendum not necessary to make decision on Surrey police force: Councillor

“I think we’re right in the midst of deciding, what does an urban centre need for its policing?'” she said.

“I want it to be based on facts and analysis because when you have episodes of tragedy in your communities, there is a lot of emotion, and then during an election period it escalates into fear-mongering.”

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Mayoral candidate Doug McCallum said if he’s elected, the RCMP are out and a municipal force is in.

READ MORE: Should Surrey get its own police department? Councillor wants to put it to a referendum

He said that the RCMP often “transfer and don’t really connect with the communities they’re in.”

However, statistics show that 38 per cent of Surrey RCMP members live in the city and stay for an average of eight years.

Meanwhile, Hepner is also voicing concern over the impact that upcoming cannabis legalization will have across the city.

READ MORE: Surrey policing resources under the microscope amid rising violence

She said it’s essential that revenue from sales stay in the community to deal with the resulting social, policing and bylaw issues.

“We need that cash directly, we can’t have it flowing through the province and then some programs. We need to see the money directly here.”

“We need to have the money on the ground in order to deliver the elements I think will be necessary around public safety, and around education,” she said.

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READ MORE: B.C. government projects $75M in pot tax revenue. That’s lowballing it, says pot activist

Hepner said it’s an issue she’ll continue to push the provincial government on.

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