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HomeNewsSurrey contenders keep campaign financiers under wraps

Surrey contenders keep campaign financiers under wraps

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Bob Mackin

Most of the contenders for Vancouver city hall in the Oct. 20 election have voluntarily published names of their monetary supporters.

But it is a different story in Surrey, where the RCMP is investigating allegations of vote-buying.

The Tom Gill-led Surrey First is refusing to release its list of donations before election day.

McCallum (left), Gill and Hayne are battling for the Surrey mayoralty.

Our donor list is not complete, because the election has not yet happened,” the party’s financial agent Gord Schoberg told theBreaker. “We will be pleased to provide our donor list within the required 90 days from election day.”

Surrey First held a golf tournament fundraiser earlier this year, featuring outgoing mayor Linda Hepner. A $25,000 donation bought four seats at Hepner’s table.

Doug McCallum was the Surrey mayor from 1996 to 2005 and is aiming for a comeback with the Safe Surrey Coalition. McCallum not respond to theBreaker’s email or calls to his mobile phone.

We’re not releasing our lists, but we’re happy to discuss issues facing the electorate any time,” said Laura Ballance, spokeswoman for ex-Surrey First Coun. Bruce Hayne. Hayne is running for mayor under the new Integrity Now umbrella.

Surrey First raised almost $1.07 million in 2014, the last unregulated municipal general election in B.C. Major donors included Surrey Firefighters Association ($32,564.01), SVH Management Ltd. ($27,250), Bosa Properties ($21,500), Bhupinder Singh Ajuta and Malkiat Sandhu’s 0939000 B.C. Ltd. ($20,000), and B&B Contracting ($16,500).

Ex-premier poses for selfie with a McCallum supporter.

McCallum lost in 2014 to Surrey First’s Linda Hepner. He reported raising $258,486.94. His campaign relied heavily on donations from Bob Cheema-owned companies Bill’s Development ($58,500) and Popular Group Investment ($21,000). Cheema was the developer behind the proposed South Surrey Gateway casino that was rejected on a 5-4 city council vote in 2013. Then-mayor Dianne Watts, a McCallum foe, cast the tiebreaking vote. 

Surrey RCMP is investigating after the anti-crime Wake Up Surrey group complained on Sept. 28, alleging fraudulent use of absentee ballots and vote-buying. The detachment opened a tip line for the case, 604-599-7848.

On Oct. 12, the Mounties said detectives have found no evidence of a link to any candidate or party with mail-in ballot fraud. It also said there is no indication that anybody has induced or intimidated voters to provide personal information or to vote for a specific candidate.

Two persons of interest have been interviewed, but further investigation is required on whether to recommend charges under the Criminal Code or Local Government Act, the Surrey RCMP said. 

Meanwhile, photos circulated on social media appear to show ex-BC Liberal Premier Christy Clark at a McCallum fundraiser. One photograph shows her with real estate agent Kam Pawar and four other men.

“How do we look happy canadians at [Jack] Hundial, [Brenda] Locke and Our future Mayor McCallum team for…” says part of a message under a photograph of Clark with a Surrey insurance agent.

Clark is now an advisor at the Bennett Jones law firm and member of the Shaw Communications board of directors. Locke is a former BC Liberal MLA who was in caucus with Clark from 2001 to 2005. Hundial retired from the RCMP after 25 years in 2017 and is now an investigator with BC Hydro. 

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