Jinny Sims is the first major candidate to officially announce their campaign to unseat Doug McCallum and become the new mayor of Surrey.
The announcement was made earlier this week, with Sims leading the newly created Surrey Forward party.
Sims is currently the BC NDP MLA for the riding of Surrey-Panorama. If she is successful in her mayoral bid this fall, she will resign from her MLA seat, which will trigger a provincial by-election the riding.
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Surrey Forward will also be fielding candidates to fill city councillor seats, with June Liu and Jim Bennett announced as the party’s first two nominees.
Sims was previously the president of the BC Teachers’ Federation in the 2000s. She first entered office in 2011, when she was elected as the MP of the federal riding of Newton-North Delta, under the federal NDP.
But she lost her federal seat in 2015, when Newton-North Delta was split into the two new ridings of Delta and Surrey-Newton. The federal Liberals’ Sukh Dhaliwal overwhelmingly defeated Sims in the race for Surrey-Newton.
Sims was first elected as the MLA for Surrey-Panorama in 2017, and re-elected in 2020.
In 2019, Sims resigned from her position as the BC Minister of Citizens Services, after allegations of misconduct involving travel visas and bypassing freedom of information protocols were raised against her. However, investigators later cleared her of any wrongdoing.
McCallum, who has made clear his intention to seek re-election, is currently facing a court battle and public calls for his resignation over his legal controversies. Last year, he was charged with public mischief in an incident at a parking lot.
At this early time, Sims’ Surrey Forward has yet to release its campaign platform, but they have noted that they will focus on housing affordability, addressing “development permits for connected developers,” cost overruns on the creation of the new Surrey Police Services, and the “lack of progress on meaningful infrastructure projects.”
“Surrey Forward will field a team of candidates for Mayor and City Council who share our social justice and progressive values. To build strong communities, we must represent every region in our city, representing many communities in Whalley, Downtown Surrey, Guildford, Fraser Heights, Fleetwood/Port Kells, Newton, Cloverdale, Panorama, and South Surrey,” reads the party’s website.
The civic election is scheduled for October 15, 2022.