For immediate release
June 19, 2023
VICTORIA, B.C. – In response to the ongoing policing issue between the City of Surrey and the Provincial government, Adam Olsen, MLA for Saanich North and the Islands and member of the Special Committee to Reform the Police Act has issued the following statement:
“Minister Mike Farnworth has had in his hands a report from the all-party Special Committee to Reform the Police Act for 14 months with consensus recommendations for reforming policing in British Columbia.
“That report was the result of hundreds of hours of testimony from the public, stakeholders, and experts. He sat on the report, losing the momentum we gained, and the result of his mismanagement of this important issue is the chaos we see today. It is totally unacceptable.
“The committee explicitly recommended that Minister Farnworth create an all-party oversight committee to ensure policing transformation is de-politicized and is an exercise of the entire Legislative Assembly. He has ignored that recommendation.
“The committee recommended that the province move away from the RCMP and create a provincial police service. Instead of embracing this initiative the BC NDP government has been indecisive.
“With respect to the Surrey policing transition, Minister Farnworth had the opportunity to send a message during the local government elections last Fall effectively ending the local political debate. Instead of being proactive, his silence on this issue allowed the debate to be reignited at a tremendous cost to Surrey residents, British Columbians, and public safety.
“Public safety is Minister Farnworth’s main responsibility, as we’ve seen he has made a mess of this issue and as a result, Surrey has two police services drawing limited officers from other police services from around the province. Now under his watch the situation in Surrey has spectacularly deteriorated into a war of words by press conference that benefits nobody and solves nothing. It’s really quite remarkable that this is occurring in public and there hasn’t been the thought of sitting together to find a workable solution.
“There was a moment when Minister Farnworth had the attention and willingness of all three political parties in the legislature, offering an opportunity to depoliticize the process using the consensus report from the all-party committee. Unfortunately, that moment appears to have all but evaporated.”
B.C. Green Caucus
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