In what could be a linchpin turn in Surrey’s police transition, a city councilor is calling for a pause until First Nations groups are consulted.

Coun. Brenda Locke

Coun. Brenda Locke, also a former provincial minister of state, will ask Surrey to put the brakes on its police transition until local indiginous groups can be consulted.

Locke noted in her motion that the Surrey RCMP also serve the Semiahmoo and Katzie First Nations, and that this city has the largest urban indigenous population in B.C.

Locke pointed out that levels of government senior to Surrey have made First Nations consultation a priority.

Both through the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (“UNDRIP”), Federal, Provincial, Territorial and Municipal Governments are required to adopt participatory approaches to indigenous issues, which requires effective consultation and the building of partnerships that promotes full and effective participation for Indigenous peoples in all matters that concern them.”

Locke will ask her colleagues next meeting that the police transition process “be immediately suspended until a sufficient, respectful and transparent consultation process that meets the federal, provincial and municipal obligations to consult with our First Nations peoples affected by the proposed changes has been adopted.”

Semiahmoo First Nation Chief Harley Chappel told Pulse FM Tuesday he’d been approached by the province some time back, but has not been consulted.

He has no contact from the city of Surrey.

Representatives from the Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General say they have approached the Semiahmoo, Kwantlen and Katzie First Nations. They also told Pulse FM in an email response that future consultation will “be a priority” once a decision is made regarding the establishment of a police board.

The province deferred to the city of Surrey for questions about local engagement.

A request for comment from Mayor Doug McCallum was not granted at the time of posting.