The Newton resident never imagined in her wildest dreams that a petition to keep the RCMP in Surrey would have topped 6,000 signatures.
In an exclusive interview with Pulse FM, Wendy Mulligan spoke publicly for the first time since she created the petition last November.
Soft-spoken and measured in her responses, Mulligan felt something wasn’t right with a full push to dismiss the Mounties without checking with the public fully.
She felt compelled to measure the mood of her fellow residents.
“As a resident of Surrey, and a taxpayer, I’ve seen all the good work the RCMP do in the community,” Mulligan said Monday. “I just think they need to be properly staffed to do a better job.”
Mulligan is delighted to see the magnitude of response to the petition.
“At first I was excited to hit 100 (signatures), because I thought, `who’s going to notice my little petition?’ ” Mulligan said. “I’m absolutely delighted to see it’s over 6,000 people.”
While she recognizes there will be many who are in favour of switching to a municipal force, she says an accurate measure of that has not been taken.
“I just think it’s disingenuous on the part of the mayor and council to assume that they got marching orders on the part of taxpayers and the voters to go forward with this, when it hasn’t been addressed,” Mulligan says.
She points out that the mayor’s team won in a vote split with a “very low voter turnout,” in an election where there were many other issues on the table, including transit.
“So, it’s only fair to put this to the voters,” she says. “If a referendum says `let’s go with a private police force,’ then fine,” Mulligan said. “At least I tried.”
“I’m concerned about having a mayor that’s in control of the police, quite frankly,” Mulligan says. “It concerns me.”
She says that neither she, nor any family members, work for, or have any ties with the RCMP.
She says she has submitted the petition a few times to B.C. Minister of Public Safety Mike Farnworth, but hasn’t heard back.
“I’m hopeful, because it’s been noticed by the media, that they (provincial officials) will be aware of it,” Mulligan says.
Now that the city has presented a Police Transition Plan to the province, Mulligan will be following up with another email to the province.
“Hopefully, they will at least acknowledge it,” she says.
Regarding next steps, she hasn’t really mapped that out. She was just “delightfully surprised” to see how much traction the petition has received.
Mulligan’s petition can be found at https://www.change.org/p/mike-farnworth-keep-the-rcmp-in-surrey