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B.C. premier says spat over Surrey police force ‘no longer up for discussion’

VICTORIA — British Columbia Premier David Eby says a court challenge by the City of Surrey over being forced to continue the transition to a municipal police service “will not be successful.”

Eby says Surrey Mayor Brenda Locke “fought a good fight” in attempting to move the RCMP back to its police force of jurisdiction, but that the decision to move ahead with a municipal force has been made by his government and is no longer up for discussion.

Surrey filed a petition to the court this month, asking for a judicial review of the government’s directive earlier this year to continue its transition to a local police force, claiming the province doesn’t have the authority to force the change without enough funding to support it.

Solicitor General Mike Farnworth introduced legislation Monday that would force the city to provide policing with a municipal force.

Eby says the municipality’s legal challenge is a waste of taxpayers’ money and the two sides need to sit down and figure out a way forward.

The city has said it would face a shortfall of $314 million over a 10-year period if it was forced to complete the transition to the Surrey Police Service, while the province has offered $150 million to aid the shift.

Eby says it’s important that Locke raised concerns about implementation costs and the province will be “a good partner to address those issues.”

“But whether or not we’re moving forward to a municipal force is no longer up for discussion,” he said.

“We are moving forward to a municipal force in Surrey and for everybody’s benefit we need to just get on with that work. And I look forward to working with the mayor on that.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 17, 2023.

The Canadian Press