A Surrey electorate longing for change has ushered Doug McCallum and seven of his coalition councillors into power, ending Surrey First’s decade-long dynasty on the council.
McCallum strode on stage with a wave and a smile at a Cloverdale banquet hall on Saturday night to loud applause and cheers — a comeback candidate, now mayor-elect, set to return once again to city hall with a slew of big promises to fulfil.
“Surrey, you have sent a message to the rest of the province,” he told the crowd. “You have elected a great council that is going to fight for you.”
McCallum, who was the city’s mayor from 1996 until 2005, beat out his closest competitor, Surrey First’s Tom Gill, by more than 17,000 votes. Integrity Now mayoral candidate and two-term councillor Bruce Hayne came in a close third.
McCallum tapped into voter dissatisfaction over crime, gun violence and transportation options in B.C.’s second largest city to pull off his huge victory.
He offered bold proposals, doing away with RCMP policing in favour of a municipal police force he said will better serve the community and cancelling the green-lit LRT in Surrey in favour of SkyTrain, often times setting the agenda during the campaign period.
McCallum said his campaign was all about change. In this new era, people in Surrey will be “treated equally,” he said, vowing to make the city “more user-friendly.”
McCallum was first elected to council in 1993 and was elected mayor in the following election.
He spent three terms at the helm before being unseated by Dianne Watts, an independent who later formed Surrey First.