Pro-RCMP group angry after Surrey city council votes to amend political signage bylaw

Click to play video: 'Surrey Council passes amendment to signage bylaw'
Surrey Council passes amendment to signage bylaw
WATCH: Surrey city council amends bylaw that controls signage on private property. Aaron McArthur reports – Oct 19, 2021

Surrey city council has passed a controversial bylaw amendment that limits what signs people can have on their lawns.

Council voted 5-4 Monday night to expand a bylaw around election signage to cover citizens’ initiatives.

Political signs may be erected when a federal or provincial election or byelection is called, or on the first day of the nomination period for local government or school district elections or byelections. Signs may also be posted from the date plebiscites or referenda are established.

Signs regarding recall or initiative petitions can be posted when the petition application is approved by the BC Elections officer.

Political signs must be removed no later than 14 days after a vote.

The amendment narrowly passed with all councillors outside of McCallum’s Safe Surrey Coalition voting against it.

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Click to play video: 'Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum facing public mischief investigation'
Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum facing public mischief investigation

Critics believe it’s another attempt by McCallum and Safe Surrey Coalition councillors to silence Keep the RCMP in Surrey, a group opposed to the city’s transition from the RCMP to a municipal police force.

“It just seems to be a constant pattern that we’re not communicating with the people who voted us in,” Coun. Linda Annis said. “I think that’s hugely problematic. The residents have every right to be heard.”

Click to play video: 'Policing referendum volunteers getting attention from Surrey bylaw officers'
Policing referendum volunteers getting attention from Surrey bylaw officers

Ivan Scott of Keep the RCMP in Surrey said the group is hiring a lawyer to fight the amendment.

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He said the thousands of Keep the RCMP in Surrey lawn signs, mainly on private property, are staying up. If bylaw officers write any tickets, they won’t be paid.

Bill Tieleman of Surrey Police Vote, a group hoping to force the provincial government to hold a binding referendum on the proposed police transition in Surrey, says the bylaw is trying to shut them down.

“The mayor and his slim majority are clearly terrified of a referendum on Surrey policing and whether to keep the RCMP or not,” Tieleman said.

Editor’s Note: This story has been updated to clarify when political signage may be erected.

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