Doug Paaji Rides Anti-LRT Sentiment And Vote Split To A Return To Mayor’s Chair In Surrey

Jack Hundial And Mandeep Nagra Elected To Surrey Council Dominated By Safe Surrey!

Surrey First and Tom Gill got done in by the anti-LRT sentiment and vote split with his former party and council colleague Bruce Hayne. Gill and Hayne split the vote (their combined total was over 56,000) but McCallum won easily with over 45,000 votes to Gill's just over 28,000 and Hayne's 27,000 plus. McCallum got big support from the South Asian community, over 15,000 votes to Gill's just over 8000 in the Newton area poll alone, to win a dominant Safe Surrey council mandate.

By R. Paul Dhillon – DESIBUZZCanada Editor-Founder

SURREY – Surrey voted for change Saturday and elected a 70 plus senior as Mayor in Doug McCallum who rode the anti-LRT sentiment and vote split by Surrey First's Tom Gill and breakaway candidate Bruce Hayne of Integrity Now to a big victory in reclaiming the Surrey Mayor's chair in a very divisive election in the South Asian community.

McCallum's Safe Surrey also dominated the Council races, winning seven out of eight Council seats and helping to elect two Indo-Canadians – Former police officer Jack Hundal and realtor Mandeep Nagra, who beat out fellow slate candidate Bableen Rana for the final eighth spot. Linda Ennis is the sole Surrey First Council winner

With McCallum's win, Surrey better get ready for change as a lot of change will be coming as Doug Paaji, as he is affectionately known in the Punjabi community in Surrey, have already begun pushing for Skytrain and scrapping the proposed and approved LRT and he is also moving aggressively on bringing in Surrey's own police force and kicking out the RCMP.

Surrey First's Gill ran a good campaign but he was hampered by big backlash against his party and may have also come up against racism from traditional white voters not wanting a Brown mayor.

But what really hurt Gill was the anti-LRT sentiment and vote split with his former party and council colleague Hayne. Gill and Hayne split the vote (their combined total was over 56,000) but McCallum won easily with over 45,000 votes to Gill's just over 28,000 and Hayne's 27,000 plus.

McCallum got big support from the South Asian community, over 15,000 votes to Gill's just over 8000 in the Newton area poll, to win a dominant Safe Surrey council mandate.

Politics can be a cruel sport as results can devastate supporters and politicians and no doubt the losing team will pay big time as new Kingmakers will be ready to take revenge.

But voters have spoken and that’s democracy and the Winners have a bigger responsibility now. We will see a new Surrey over the next four years under Doug Paaji as he brings his drastic new vision to Surrey.

The 73-year-old McCallum has pledged big changes in his platform but can ge actually make good on those promises?

About $50 million have already been spent on light rail plans. And if Surrey wants to opt out, McCallum would have to convince the Metro Vancouver Mayors' Council that the SkyTrain is a better option, despite the money that has already been spent, reported CTV News.

Critics say switching to the SkyTrain plan would move Surrey's plans for transit expansion backwards rather than forward.

"SkyTrain is going to keep us behind another 10, 15 years while they figure it all out," said Anita Huberman of the Surrey Board of Trade, adding that there's also the question of funding.

"SkyTrain costs at least three times more to build than LRT," Huberman said.

The board doesn't think the funding promised for LRT can be repurposed for SkyTrain expansion, but McCallum believes otherwise.

"The prime minister has committed verbally, publically that the money will stay in Surrey at $1.65 billion," said McCallum, who previously served as the city's mayor between 1996 and 2005.

In all, McCallum won 45,484 votes to Gill’s 28,473 and Hayne’s 27,951.

Out of an estimated 337, 289 eligible voters in Surrey, 109,791 votes were cast in this election for a voter turnout of 32.5 per cent.

In Surrey’s Nov. 15, 2014 election, 101,588 ballots were cast, making for a 35.3 per cent voter turnout. In that election, McCallum garnered 28,010 votes (or 26.88 per cent) to winner Mayor Linda Hepner’s 50,782 (or 48.73 per cent).

Here are the SURREY-WIDE Breakdown Of Votes For The Three Main Contenders:

NEWTON

McCallum: 15,368

Gill: 8,217

Hayne: 5,213

FLEETWOOD

McCallum: 5,428

Gill: 3,311

Hayne: 3,056

GUILDFORD

McCallum: 5,655

Gill: 3,782

Hayne: 3,353

CLOVERDALE

Hayne: 6,499

McCallum: 5,243

Gill: 3,533

WHALLEY/CITY CENTRE

McCallum: 8,265

Gill: 4,219

Hayne: 2,934

SOUTH SURREY

Hayne: 6,867

McCallum: 5,441

Gill: 5,309

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