The campaign manager for Keep the RCMP in Surrey (KTRIS) is scoffing at accusations that his group is breaking third-party election laws by actively supporting Coun. Brenda Locke for mayor.
Stephen Carter, the Calgary-based campaign manager for Surrey Forward mayoral candidate Jinny Sims, alleged Sept. 22 that the grassroots group against the Surrey Police Service is illegally colluding with Locke’s Surrey Connect party. If elected, Locke has promised to cancel the new police force, while Sims has promised to determine the cost of keeping the RCMP versus proceeding with the transition.
Paul Daynes of KTRIS said his group is separate from Surrey Connect, registered, compliant and open to scrutiny from Elections BC.
“We’ve been a campaign for four years, we publicly endorsed, in front of TV cameras and all around media, Brenda Locke,” said Paul Daynes of KTRIS. “We organize flag-waving and events, and so on, and many of our volunteers are members of, or are supporters of, Surrey Connect and vice versa. We’re so intermingled, it would be difficult to say where one person’s allegiance starts and another ends.”
Carter said Surrey Forward is preparing a complaint to Elections BC, with evidence that includes social media photos of KTRIS and Surrey Connect campaigning together.
“In a campaign where the current Mayor is facing significant criminal charges, a second candidate has been convicted of criminal activity in the past, it is amazing that a third candidate is willing to take these unlawful liberties with a third-party advertiser,” Carter said, referring to incumbent Mayor Doug McCallum’s Oct. 31 public mischief trial and Sukh Dhaliwal’s 2014 guilty pleas to Income Tax Act charges.
Registered third parties must be independent of a campaign for a candidate or party or face a fine up to $10,000, according to Elections BC rules.
“This means a third-party sponsor must not conduct third party advertising on behalf of, or together with, a candidate or elector organization,” said the guide for registered third parties. “A third-party sponsor and a candidate or elector organization cannot coordinate their advertising campaigns.”
Locke was not immediately available for comment. Locke’s campaign manager, Kristy Wawryk, denied the allegations. She said Surrey Connect is grateful for grassroots support and has complied with all laws.
“While we understand that other campaigns seek to damage these grassroots community groups for their own political gain, Surrey Connect will continue to advocate for issues that make sense for our community,” Wawryk said.
Daynes called Carter’s allegations “pure, rank hypocrisy” because Sims is running with the endorsement of the New Westminster and District Labour Council (NWDLC). The labour group is not on the Elections BC list of registered third-party advertising sponsors.
“What’s good for the goose is good for the gander and this is another case of the kettle calling the pot black,” Daynes said.
Daynes also denied Carter’s allegation that KTRIS has shared its petitions with Surrey Connect. “I don’t know what he’s got to back it up,” he said.
Carter said NWDLC is independent of the Sims campaign, with “no in-kind support, no coordination, and we have no data or access to data from any third-party, including the unions.”
KTRIS was involved in two petition drives, the most-recent in 2021 that was aimed at triggering a referendum on the Surrey Police Service. McCallum’s majority Safe Surrey Coalition established the force, with the blessing of the NDP government, after it came to power in 2018.
Elections BC rejected the 42,942 signatures because they came from Surrey ridings only and did not meet the required 10% of signatures from registered voters in each of the province’s electoral districts.
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