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HomeBusinessExclusive: Inside Mayor McCallum’s texts, from the weekend that could ruin his political career

Exclusive: Inside Mayor McCallum’s texts, from the weekend that could ruin his political career


Bob Mackin

Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum is accused of lying to the RCMP about an incident in a shopping mall parking lot on Sept. 4. 

B.C. Prosecution Service announced the public mischief charge on Dec. 10, sparking calls for his resignation from Coun. Brenda Locke, who is running to defeat McCallum in next October’s civic election. The charge was authorized by special prosecutor Richard Fowler after an investigation by the B.C. RCMP’s major crimes division. McCallum’s case comes before a judge for the first time on Jan. 25. 

Mayor Doug McCallum’s text messages (City of Surrey/FOI)

McCallum was at the South Point mall in Surrey, where he unsuccessfully tried to have Save-On-Foods management evict Elections BC-authorized petitioners from the Surrey Police Vote campaign. McCallum complained to Surrey RCMP after he alleged one of the pro-RCMP campaigners drove over his foot. was first to cover the story. In his email response on the day, McCallum said nothing of an injury or trip to hospital. But that is what he told other media outlets in the days that followed. Global TV later reported that RCMP detectives got a court order to obtain their raw video of McCallum limping, and that detectives were probing whether McCallum’s complaint constituted criminal mischief.

McCallum retained high-profile downtown Vancouver lawyer Richard Peck, who led the courtroom defence of Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou. It is believed that City of Surrey taxpayers are footing McCallum’s legal bill. 

In response to a freedom of information request from, Surrey city hall disclosed copies of McCallum’s text messages from the weekend, offering a glimpse of how McCallum and his staff spun the controversy. The documents  included email from Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps. The unlikely ally, from the opposite end of the political spectrum, was the only other mayor to immediately send regards to McCallum.

“Doug, just seeing this,” Helps wrote, with a link to a Times Colonist story, at 12:23 a.m. Sept. 6.

“What happened? Hope you are okay!!”

The Surrey Police Vote campaign received 42,942 unverified signatures and did not trigger a referendum. Elections BC rejected the submission and did not count the signatures, since the campaign focused only on the nine Surrey ridings.

The province’s referendum law requires support of 10% of registered voters in each of the 87 ridings. If cabinet doesn’t order a vote anyway, it is expected the cop swap will become the main ballot box issue during the October 2022 election.

McCallum made a comeback in the 2018 civic election on a campaign to replace the RCMP with a municipal force and replace the proposed light rail transit system with SkyTrain to Langley. He had previously been mayor from 1996 to 2005.

He is not the first Surrey mayor to face criminal charges.

In March 1980, ex-Surrey Mayor Ed McKitka was convicted of five counts of breach of trust, two counts of unlawfully demanding a benefit, and one count of threatening a Surrey alderman. He was sentenced to three years in jail, which was one year longer than his 1975 to 1977 term in office.

If convicted, McCallum could face as many as five years in jail.

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McCallum Texts by Bob Mackin on Scribd