What Surrey residents really need in their new mayor, council and school board is a set of good listeners in whom they can trust.
The cynics among us might dismiss that as a pipe dream in this day and age of moral relativism, but it’s evidently becoming a big ask in this election campaign. The buzz words are transparency, accountability, and a call to restore public confidence in civic government.
Bruce Hayne, mayoral candidate of Surrey Integrity Now — a name that clearly suggests a dearth might exist in that regard at city hall — says that if elected he’ll institute an “ombudsperson” office at city hall that would be “completely independent of mayor and council” and tasked with investigating and acting on complaints from the public.
Doug McCallum, mayoral candidate for the Safe Surrey Coalition, wants to set up an ethics commissioner “to ensure transparency and fair treatment of all citizens.” Again, if he and his group are elected.
One mayoral candidate, Imtiaz Popat, of Progressive Sustainable Surrey, says one of the “main reasons” he entered the race is “the lack of transparency and accountability.”
So there clearly is work to be done to bridge a gap between city hall and the people it works for, be it real or perceived.
Has city hall and its elected officials forgotten that their role is essentially one not of privilege but rather servanthood? That’s a question voters will answer on Oct. 20.