This B.C. city wants the RCMP out. Some residents don’t agree. How a fight over lawn signs is escalating the feud

VANCOUVER—The union representing RCMP officers is accusing the B.C. city with the largest detachment in the country of being anti-democratic in the wake of changes made to a local bylaw governing political signs.The accusation is the most recent salvo in an ugly battle between supporters of the RCMP and those who want Surrey, B.C., to have a municipal police force.The National Police Federation, which represents some 20,000 Mounties in Canada, issued a release Wednesday saying an amendment to a Surrey bylaw restricting political signs is meant to muzzle those supporting the national police force as the city moves toward replacing it with a municipal police service.“It seems very undemocratic,” says Rob Farrer, board director of the NPF. “It seems very reminiscent of what an authoritarian regime would do to silence democracy.”Now, the federation has sent a letter to the province’s minister of municipal affairs, Josie Osborne, to defend the “rights of all residents” in the province and warning this could set a precedent for other municipalities to follow.The complaint is the latest development in a years-long political battle between RCMP supporters and the city. The political donnybrook has even included allegations by the mayor of Surrey, Doug McCallum, that RCMP supporters in a car ran over him.McCallum and his Safe Surrey Coalition were elected in 2018 and during the campaign promised to replace the RCMP with a municipal police force in the city of nearly 600,000 people that’s part of Metro Vancouver. The switch to a municipal force has already begun.The decision was controversial and opponents to the plan soon organized. One group called “Keep the RCMP in Surrey” began dotting the city with signs supporting the Mounties.On Oct. 18, the city changed a bylaw initially passed more than 20 years ago to target elections signs on public property during campaigns. The changes were narrowly passed by council.“The definition of ‘political sign’ will be broadened to, among other things, capture signs relating to political issues, referenda, plebiscites, and initiative and recall petitions,” read the proposed changes in a report to council. “It will also include signs supporting, opposing, or disapproving of candidates or issues.”Those who support keeping the RCMP accuse city council of have a more nefarious intent; silencing their opposition to the transitioning to a municipal force. McCallum did not respond to a request for comment from the Star on Wednesday.But Surrey councillor and Safe Surrey Coalition member Laurie Guerra said the outrage over the changes is political and disingenuous. Guerra insists the city does not intend to target citizens with signs for political causes with the bylaw changes.“In my opinion, that’s nonsense,” she said. “To me, it was more housekeeping than anything else.”Guerra said the changes are meant to ensure political signs, such as election or referendum signs, have specified time frames for which they can be installed. The changes only broaden an old bylaw to include processes such as plebiscites. She said changes simply outline “there’s a time and a place” for political signs but the city isn’t interested in telling people to remove signs unrelated to a formal process.The city won’t be investigating other political signs unless it receives complaints, she said.“We’d be hard pressed to go on anybody’s property in Surrey and start taking off signs,” Guerra said. “That wasn’t the idea.”But Guerra said she didn’t know what criteria would be used to determine what signs are political, saying it would be conducted on a case-by-case basis.Guerra questioned why the NPF is becoming involved in the issue.“Why is the NPF, the union of the RCMP, paying so much money to try to stay here rather than let the city of Surrey, which is a municipal issue, get our own police force?” she said.Farrer said his union represents 800 members working in Surrey, arguing the presence justifies its involvement in the issue. Despite Guerra’s assurances he doesn’t trust the city’s intent.“The timing would be somewhat suspect,” he said. “There is no bigger question of what’s going on in Surrey right now than this.”Meanwhile, Paul Daynes of the Keep the RCMP in Surrey campaign said he believes the city plans to use the bylaw to target those who have staked in his organization’s signs supporting the RCMP. He said the group has distributed more than 8,000 such signs with 1,000 more on order at a cost of about $5,000 per batch of 1,000 signs.Daynes said he is “100 per cent certain” the city has changed the bylaw to target the organization’s signs. He said it infringes on the right to participate in the democratic process.“We have taken legal advice,” Daynes said. “We believe it’s a gross violation of the charter of rights and freedoms.”He said his group is concerned the mayor may be lumping their movement in with another attempting to force a referendum on the police issue through a petition, which they city may tr

This B.C. city wants the RCMP out. Some residents don’t agree. How a fight over lawn signs is escalating the feud

VANCOUVER—The union representing RCMP officers is accusing the B.C. city with the largest detachment in the country of being anti-democratic in the wake of changes made to a local bylaw governing political signs.

The accusation is the most recent salvo in an ugly battle between supporters of the RCMP and those who want Surrey, B.C., to have a municipal police force.

The National Police Federation, which represents some 20,000 Mounties in Canada, issued a release Wednesday saying an amendment to a Surrey bylaw restricting political signs is meant to muzzle those supporting the national police force as the city moves toward replacing it with a municipal police service.

“It seems very undemocratic,” says Rob Farrer, board director of the NPF. “It seems very reminiscent of what an authoritarian regime would do to silence democracy.”

Now, the federation has sent a letter to the province’s minister of municipal affairs, Josie Osborne, to defend the “rights of all residents” in the province and warning this could set a precedent for other municipalities to follow.

The complaint is the latest development in a years-long political battle between RCMP supporters and the city. The political donnybrook has even included allegations by the mayor of Surrey, Doug McCallum, that RCMP supporters in a car ran over him.

McCallum and his Safe Surrey Coalition were elected in 2018 and during the campaign promised to replace the RCMP with a municipal police force in the city of nearly 600,000 people that’s part of Metro Vancouver.

The switch to a municipal force has already begun.

The decision was controversial and opponents to the plan soon organized. One group called “Keep the RCMP in Surrey” began dotting the city with signs supporting the Mounties.

On Oct. 18, the city changed a bylaw initially passed more than 20 years ago to target elections signs on public property during campaigns. The changes were narrowly passed by council.

“The definition of ‘political sign’ will be broadened to, among other things, capture signs relating to political issues, referenda, plebiscites, and initiative and recall petitions,” read the proposed changes in a report to council. “It will also include signs supporting, opposing, or disapproving of candidates or issues.”

Those who support keeping the RCMP accuse city council of have a more nefarious intent; silencing their opposition to the transitioning to a municipal force. McCallum did not respond to a request for comment from the Star on Wednesday.

But Surrey councillor and Safe Surrey Coalition member Laurie Guerra said the outrage over the changes is political and disingenuous. Guerra insists the city does not intend to target citizens with signs for political causes with the bylaw changes.

“In my opinion, that’s nonsense,” she said. “To me, it was more housekeeping than anything else.”

Guerra said the changes are meant to ensure political signs, such as election or referendum signs, have specified time frames for which they can be installed. The changes only broaden an old bylaw to include processes such as plebiscites.

She said changes simply outline “there’s a time and a place” for political signs but the city isn’t interested in telling people to remove signs unrelated to a formal process.

The city won’t be investigating other political signs unless it receives complaints, she said.

“We’d be hard pressed to go on anybody’s property in Surrey and start taking off signs,” Guerra said. “That wasn’t the idea.”

But Guerra said she didn’t know what criteria would be used to determine what signs are political, saying it would be conducted on a case-by-case basis.

Guerra questioned why the NPF is becoming involved in the issue.

“Why is the NPF, the union of the RCMP, paying so much money to try to stay here rather than let the city of Surrey, which is a municipal issue, get our own police force?” she said.

Farrer said his union represents 800 members working in Surrey, arguing the presence justifies its involvement in the issue. Despite Guerra’s assurances he doesn’t trust the city’s intent.

“The timing would be somewhat suspect,” he said. “There is no bigger question of what’s going on in Surrey right now than this.”

Meanwhile, Paul Daynes of the Keep the RCMP in Surrey campaign said he believes the city plans to use the bylaw to target those who have staked in his organization’s signs supporting the RCMP. He said the group has distributed more than 8,000 such signs with 1,000 more on order at a cost of about $5,000 per batch of 1,000 signs.

Daynes said he is “100 per cent certain” the city has changed the bylaw to target the organization’s signs. He said it infringes on the right to participate in the democratic process.

“We have taken legal advice,” Daynes said. “We believe it’s a gross violation of the charter of rights and freedoms.”

He said his group is concerned the mayor may be lumping their movement in with another attempting to force a referendum on the police issue through a petition, which they city may try to use to make them subject to the bylaw.

Jeremy Nuttall is a Vancouver-based investigative reporter for the Star. Follow him on Twitter: @Nuttallreports

Source : Toronto Star More   

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Bruce Arthur: Kyle Beach, like Sheldon Kennedy before him, fights back against ‘culture of silence’ in hockey

Some moments crack things open, and this was one. Wednesday night, Kyle Beach was on television trying not to cry, trying to tell the truth, trying to apologize for something that wasn’t his fault. As a Chicago Blackhawks player in 2010, he was allegedly sexually assaulted by a video coach, and in a shattering interview with Rick Westhead of TSN, he came forward. Before he did — before the report commissioned by the team that laid some of the failures bare — the alleged assault on Beach and another player had been buried for 11 years.“There’s a culture of silence in hockey. That’s how the system has built their individuals to respond,” said Sheldon Kennedy. He spent the day on his Alberta farm, out on a tractor, between phone interviews. People call him when something like this happens, because it happened to him. He fought back for 23 years. “It’s all familiar,” Kennedy said.It is, because it’s hockey, and more than hockey. Beach was allegedly assaulted during the 2010 playoffs. He reported it to the team. According to the report commissioned and released by the Blackhawks, Chicago’s leadership met after the team had advanced to the Stanley Cup final: team president John McDonough, hockey administration director Al MacIsaac, general manager Stan Bowman, vice-president Jay Blunk, assistant general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff, and coach Joel Quenneville. They are some of the venerated men in the game. They claim they were only told of the allegations in non-specifics, but declined to find out more. They decided it wasn’t the time to address it.The team didn’t file a police report. The NHLPA was informed. Three weeks after Chicago won the Cup, Aldrich was allowed to resign; Quenneville wrote a positive performance evaluation. Aldrich went on to assault a 16-year-old in Houghton, Mich., while serving as a hockey coach there. Before he left the Blackhawks, Aldrich was allowed to be part of the championship parade, and have his day with the Stanley Cup and his day at the championship parade.So Beach talked about how his teammates started using homophobic slurs, how it all devoured him for years, how his mom cried because she didn’t protect him, how he failed because he didn’t protect the 16-year-old kid. And within the span of an hour, you could watch his stubbled face trying not to come apart on TSN, and then watch Quenneville grimly coach for his 969th career win in front of a scattering of fans in Sunrise, Fla., because commissioner Gary Bettman promised to talk to him tomorrow. It was so utterly, predictably shameful. It was hockey.Kennedy knew it all by heart. When Graham James preyed on him and Theo Fleury and others for all those years, the culture of silence and reverence for the game is part of what made it happen. It’s that same dynamic as you see in USA Gymnastics, or the Catholic Church. When the institution is more important than the people in it, you need leadership to preserve them.So look at the leadership in hockey, all of it. Beach reported the incident to the team. Nothing happened. NHLPA president Don Fehr knew, according to Beach. Nothing happened. The NHL declined to investigate this past summer, according to Beach; USA Hockey, where Bowman was the Team USA GM until the report came out, declined an investigation, too. The principals buried this deep underground for a decade, and 37 people refused to co-operate with the Chicago investigation, and so did Notre Dame, where Aldrich was a coach. Meanwhile, Cheveldayoff is the general manager of a Winnipeg Jets franchise that purports to be a pillar of the community, and Quenneville was allowed to coach.The Blackhawks buried this story for a goddamn video coach, and the head coach wrote him a nice performance review, and nobody said nothing. Hockey has a lot of problems, and a lot of silence. This should shake some of the rotten pillars of this game, and hard.“I’ve seen so many of them that I don’t get my hopes up too high that everything will be done perfectly,” says Kennedy. “These issues are about leadership, and for culture change, it’s about leadership. There’s a systemic nature of silence in hockey, and that’s what has to change. It’s not just the victims who are scared to talk. Look at everybody surrounding that whole situation that didn’t say anything, that didn’t talk. How do we create a confidence and a clear pathway for those individuals to say something, and know that it’s going to be heard, and independent?“This is all too familiar. And what’s familiar here is the response has been archaic, and I mean, this is the way they would have tried to respond in 1998 when I came forward. Don’t say nothing. That was how they addressed these issues: Don’t say nothing. That’s the familiar part, and that’s what they tried to do.”There were some exceptions: former players Brent Sopel and Nick Boynton, and scout Paul Vincent. Hockey talks a lot about brotherhood and courage and character. They exemplified it.Beach, too. You should watch the intervie

Bruce Arthur: Kyle Beach, like Sheldon Kennedy before him, fights back against ‘culture of silence’ in hockey

Some moments crack things open, and this was one. Wednesday night, Kyle Beach was on television trying not to cry, trying to tell the truth, trying to apologize for something that wasn’t his fault. As a Chicago Blackhawks player in 2010, he was allegedly sexually assaulted by a video coach, and in a shattering interview with Rick Westhead of TSN, he came forward. Before he did — before the report commissioned by the team that laid some of the failures bare — the alleged assault on Beach and another player had been buried for 11 years.

“There’s a culture of silence in hockey. That’s how the system has built their individuals to respond,” said Sheldon Kennedy. He spent the day on his Alberta farm, out on a tractor, between phone interviews. People call him when something like this happens, because it happened to him. He fought back for 23 years.

“It’s all familiar,” Kennedy said.

It is, because it’s hockey, and more than hockey. Beach was allegedly assaulted during the 2010 playoffs. He reported it to the team. According to the report commissioned and released by the Blackhawks, Chicago’s leadership met after the team had advanced to the Stanley Cup final: team president John McDonough, hockey administration director Al MacIsaac, general manager Stan Bowman, vice-president Jay Blunk, assistant general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff, and coach Joel Quenneville. They are some of the venerated men in the game. They claim they were only told of the allegations in non-specifics, but declined to find out more. They decided it wasn’t the time to address it.

The team didn’t file a police report. The NHLPA was informed. Three weeks after Chicago won the Cup, Aldrich was allowed to resign; Quenneville wrote a positive performance evaluation. Aldrich went on to assault a 16-year-old in Houghton, Mich., while serving as a hockey coach there. Before he left the Blackhawks, Aldrich was allowed to be part of the championship parade, and have his day with the Stanley Cup and his day at the championship parade.

So Beach talked about how his teammates started using homophobic slurs, how it all devoured him for years, how his mom cried because she didn’t protect him, how he failed because he didn’t protect the 16-year-old kid. And within the span of an hour, you could watch his stubbled face trying not to come apart on TSN, and then watch Quenneville grimly coach for his 969th career win in front of a scattering of fans in Sunrise, Fla., because commissioner Gary Bettman promised to talk to him tomorrow. It was so utterly, predictably shameful. It was hockey.

Kennedy knew it all by heart. When Graham James preyed on him and Theo Fleury and others for all those years, the culture of silence and reverence for the game is part of what made it happen. It’s that same dynamic as you see in USA Gymnastics, or the Catholic Church. When the institution is more important than the people in it, you need leadership to preserve them.

So look at the leadership in hockey, all of it. Beach reported the incident to the team. Nothing happened. NHLPA president Don Fehr knew, according to Beach. Nothing happened. The NHL declined to investigate this past summer, according to Beach; USA Hockey, where Bowman was the Team USA GM until the report came out, declined an investigation, too. The principals buried this deep underground for a decade, and 37 people refused to co-operate with the Chicago investigation, and so did Notre Dame, where Aldrich was a coach. Meanwhile, Cheveldayoff is the general manager of a Winnipeg Jets franchise that purports to be a pillar of the community, and Quenneville was allowed to coach.

The Blackhawks buried this story for a goddamn video coach, and the head coach wrote him a nice performance review, and nobody said nothing. Hockey has a lot of problems, and a lot of silence. This should shake some of the rotten pillars of this game, and hard.

“I’ve seen so many of them that I don’t get my hopes up too high that everything will be done perfectly,” says Kennedy. “These issues are about leadership, and for culture change, it’s about leadership. There’s a systemic nature of silence in hockey, and that’s what has to change. It’s not just the victims who are scared to talk. Look at everybody surrounding that whole situation that didn’t say anything, that didn’t talk. How do we create a confidence and a clear pathway for those individuals to say something, and know that it’s going to be heard, and independent?

“This is all too familiar. And what’s familiar here is the response has been archaic, and I mean, this is the way they would have tried to respond in 1998 when I came forward. Don’t say nothing. That was how they addressed these issues: Don’t say nothing. That’s the familiar part, and that’s what they tried to do.”

There were some exceptions: former players Brent Sopel and Nick Boynton, and scout Paul Vincent. Hockey talks a lot about brotherhood and courage and character. They exemplified it.

Beach, too. You should watch the interview. And spare a moment for Westhead, who worked at this paper for a long time before TSN. His 14-year-old son Carter has battled lymphoma this year; they were in and out of SickKids this week. This wasn’t easy work, in any sense of the word.

In a way, it’s everybody’s fault. Winning is the most important thing: that’s what generates the most glory, what draws the most eyeballs, what makes the most money. Collateral damage is more or less assumed and often ignored in sports, if less and less. The NFL is holding back 650,000 emails as part of a report over sexual harassment and a toxic culture inside the Washington Football Team, and a tiny slice of those e-mails got the coach of the Oakland Raiders fired. USA Gymnastics had faced an incomplete reckoning over Larry Nassar’s sexual assault of its athletes. Women’s soccer is finally facing a dynamic of abuse.

And hockey swept one broken man under its big rug, but he was braver than they were, and now the questions of who knew what when need to be asked and answered, up to and including the leaders of the game. Some things crack a world open. It happened in hockey again.

Bruce Arthur is a Toronto-based columnist for the Star. Follow him on Twitter: @bruce_arthur

Source : Toronto Star More   

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