Four councillors say democracy took a huge hit Monday as Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum shut down discussion about the budget before it was passed on a split vote.
Shouting erupted from the crowd in Surrey council chambers Monday between two main groups, on both sides of whether to keep the RCMP in this city or not.
McCallum threatened to have security remove hecklers, but it proved too unruly even for security.
The mayor and his four Safe Surrey councillors left council chambers, leaving independent Couns. Jack Hundial, Brenda Lock, Stephen Pettigrew and Surrey First’s Linda Annis facing the crowd.
About 10 minutes later, council resumed to vote on the budget.
But McCallum shut down all discussion on the budget out of “safety concerns.”
That call riled the independent councillors who say it was a failure of the process.
“Democracy just died a little bit more tonight,” Pettigrew told a media scrum after the meeting. “The mayor allowed attacks on us (from the public), and they he didn’t give us an opportunity to respond.”
Hundial said the meeting went off the rails from early on.
“I think what you saw today was just a loss of control by the mayor,” Hundial said.
Hundial wants the Minister of Municipal Affairs, Senila Robinson, to review the meeting.
“If the (minister) is watching this, she certainly should be reviewing this, I think it does warrant a judicial review on tonight’s meeting… and certainly the mayor’s conduct, which was completely against our procedural bylaws.”
McCallum said after the meeting that parts of the hearing was “a very dangerous and serious situation,” so he had no choice by to recess the meeting.
He noted that councillors have had ample chance to voice their opinion on the budget prior to this week.
“So, we’re going to carry on, running the city on that budget,” McCallum said.
The council is now on a break until January.