AND QUICKLY: As many questions as there are candidates in the Surrey municipal race

Jhe shape of Surrey’s mayoral race is now fairly clear. There are five leading candidates vying for the October election, with several lesser-known others expected to run as well.

Each of these five candidates is at the head of a political list. If each list presents a complete list of eight candidates for the position of adviser, this will mean 40 candidates from the main lists alone. It’s realistic to expect there to be more than 50 names on the ballot for councilor – there were 48 in 2018.

An important aspect of the race was neatly summed up by CBC’s Justin McElroy in a tweet. He quoted the oft-heard phrase: “Surrey is the city of the future and the city of youth!” And followed it up with ‘Average age of Surrey’s five mayoral candidates: 70.6’.

The race now includes incumbent Doug McCallum of the Safe Surrey Coalition, as well as the four advisers who have stuck with him through thick and thin – Allison Patton, Laurie Guerra, Doug Elford and Mandeep Nagra. The one who didn’t, Brenda Locke, is running for mayor with the Surrey Connect list, which also includes outgoing councilor Jack Hundial.

Jinny Sims, NDP MP for Surrey-Panorama, is running for mayor with the Surrey Forward list. Surrey-Newton Liberal MP Sukh Dhaliwal is running for mayor with the United Surrey list.

The newest entrant in the mayoral race is former Liberal MP for South Surrey-White Rock, Surrey-White Rock MLA and White Rock Mayor and Councilor Gordie Hogg.

He heads the once-dominant Surrey First list which was put together by Dianne Watts in her early days as mayor. He fell on hard times in 2018, dropping from nine board members to just one – newcomer Linda Annis. She is part of the team again this year.

Missing from all the slates is incumbent Stephen Pettigrew, who was elected as part of McCallum’s slate but was the first councilor to leave it. He has had health concerns and has not announced whether he will run again.

There are so many questions about this race, and the best thing to do at this point is just ask them.

First, why do so many federal and provincial politicians, past and present, want to sit on Surrey’s council? Will any of them draw pensions from their former political positions while serving on the board?

Why is White Rock resident Gordie Hogg running for mayor of Surrey? He remarks to Black Press Media’s Tom Zytaruk that “I didn’t leave Surrey, Surrey left me”, as he has lived in White Rock all his life and was a boy when he became independent from Surrey, in 1957.

Will he address White Rock’s return to Surrey as part of his campaign? If so, how will White Rock residents and politicians react to this idea?

How will the policing issue affect the campaign? This is certainly the most divisive question. Three of the five candidates are not ready to reopen the debate on the police, but Hogg and Locke are, to varying degrees.

Should mayoral and councilor candidates live in Surrey? Hogg doesn’t, but he’s not alone. There are two council candidates so far who do not live in Surrey, the Now-Leader reported. United Surrey’s Becky Zhou is a former Surrey resident but now lives in White Rock. Philip Aguirre, well known in the Newton business community, runs with Surrey Forward and lives in Vancouver.

After the 2018 election, it emerged that Patton and Nagra did not live in Surrey. Both do now.

And finally, how are voters supposed to know who to vote for in the face of such massive polls. Isn’t it time to seriously consider a ward system, so that voters in each region of Surrey have a manageable number of candidates for councillors?

Frank Bucholtz writes twice a month for Peace Arch News.

Chroniclemunicipal politicsSurrey

Melissa C. Keyes