Opinion

EDITORIAL: Free rein for Surrey First

Surrey Mayor Dianne Watts gives her victory speech Saturday night. - Boaz Joseph / The Leader
Surrey Mayor Dianne Watts gives her victory speech Saturday night.
— image credit: Boaz Joseph / The Leader

On many counts, it was a disappointing election night Saturday in Surrey.

While Mayor Dianne Watts and her Surrey First team cruised into a crushing victory over her challengers, it’s not all thumbs-up for the city.

For the first time in history, there is no voice of opposition on Surrey council.

Astonishingly, longtime Surrey Civic Coalition councillor Bob Bose, who has been on Surrey council for 28 of the last 33 years, lost his seat, effectively ending his career in politics.

“I’m not going to run again,” Bose said. “It makes no sense.”

SCC council candidate Gary Robinson said he fears for the future, wondering what council will do with a free rein.

“It’s a train heading to some unknown destination without any brakes,” he said.

We don’t know if things will be that dire, but having no dissenting point of view on council is certainly not healthy. The official opposition is now the public – and the media.

Also disappointing was the failure of many bright, passionate, youthful candidates to make inroads into civic politics. SCC candidate Stephanie Ryan comes to mind.

So does Surrey Board of Education hopeful Paul Hillsdon. With an endorsement from Watts and a spot left open on the Surrey First Education slate, the independent Hillsdon looked like sure bet for a seat on the Surrey school board. In the end, he came in ninth place for the elected board of six.

Hopefully, the results won’t dissuade promising candidates from running for civic office in the future, as fresh perspectives in politics are most welcome.

Last but not least there was the appalling voter turnout in Surrey of just 25 per cent. Despite the fact decisions made at the municipal level are the ones that have the greatest impact on ordinary citizens, just one-quarter of the city’s registered voters bothered to cast their ballots.

The other 75 per cent will have the next three years to reflect on their decision to stay mute on voting day.

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