As Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum faces a public mischief charge, thousands of people have signed a petition urging the city not to cover his legal fees.
The Change.org petition, “Stop the City of Surrey from Paying for Mr. McCallum’s Legal Bills,” states “it is completely inappropriate for Mr. McCallum to use hard earned taxpayer funds to defend himself in court on a personal matter. This is a total abuse of his position and needs to be stopped.”
McCallum was charged with public mischief last week after an incident in September when he claimed his foot was run over while he was grocery shopping.
The apparent incident happened in early September 2021 and McCallum claimed that he was “verbally assaulted” and struck by a car in the parking lot of a Save on Foods in South Surrey during a “Keep the RCMP in Surrey” rally.
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There is a bylaw in Surrey that states, “The City will indemnify its Municipal Officials against payment of amounts required or incurred to defend an action, prosecution or claim brought against a Municipal Official in connection with the exercise or intended exercise of the person’s powers or the performance or intended performance of the person’s duties or functions including satisfaction of a judgment, award or penalty imposed in relation to the foregoing.”
The petition calls says, “What needs to be made clear is that Mr. McCallum was NOT acting in an official capacity at this time. He was doing personal shopping for groceries. He could have simply walked on by and done his shopping and left the citizens alone doing what they had a right to do.”
The petition has more than 5,100 signatures and there are some strong comments about why people are supporting this.
One person writes, “Doug needs to be removed from his mayoral role.”
Another says, “A Mayor should be held to a standard of professionalism and conduct, both of which he failed to uphold. His behaviour is unbecoming and he allows his ego and emotions to control his decision making and actions. He should be ashamed of himself on so many levels including falsely accusing opponents in his attempt to silence them. His actions occurred outside of his work and he should be personally responsible for his legal bills.”
Since the charges came down last week, there have also been numerous calls for his resignation.
McCallum has a court date set for January.