Tom Gill selected as Surrey First mayoral candidate

Surrey mayoral candidate proposes referendum on city police force

Surrey First has selected Tom Gill as candidate for mayor, after party members gathered at Surrey Mayor Linda Hepner's home for a vote on Friday. 

Gill has served on city council since 2005, and is the founding director of the Surrey homelessness and housing society.

"I think politics is important but I think moving the city forward is more important, so I'm very humbled to be able to have this opportunity. I look forward to working with the community and my team," he said. 

Gill has yet to develop his full platform, but said dealing with homelessness, housing, and gang violence are among his priorities.

Hepner said that party members voted unanimously, and that Gill is "excited" about the decision.

"He talked a lot about being a city of young families and his hopes for younger people in the city," she said.

Transparency in Surrey First

Surrey First has had a stronghold on Surrey's municipal politics since 2011. Until yesterday, all eight councillors and the mayor were part of its slate. 

But on Thursday, Councillor Bruce Hayne quit the party citing a lack of transparency. He said he'll be staying on as an independent. 

"It's been a difficult decision … but I really feel my values and the direction I see the city taking is simply no longer aligned with Surrey First, so it would be disingenuous for me to keep sitting as a Surrey First member," he said on Thursday.

But Hepner, who in April announced she would not be running for re-election, said she disagrees.

"I think that's been the advantage of Surrey First from the start, is that we don't include everyone who is a backroom politician or a backroom player, we [keep] it amongst those who are members of Surrey First, and that includes the council and the mayor, and I think that's an advantage."

With files from Micki Cowan

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