B.C. Prosecution Service will decide if charges will be laid after allegations of wrongdoing in Surrey election – Straight.com

B.C. Prosecution Service will decide if charges will be laid after allegations of wrongdoing in Surrey election - Straight.com
Surrey RCMP send voter fraud probe results to B.C. prosecutors for charge assessment
B.C. Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General Mike Farnworth says he's "looking forward" to seeing Surrey's report on policing moving from the RCMP to a civic force.

B.C. Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General Mike Farnworth says he’s “looking forward” to seeing Surrey’s report on policing moving from the RCMP to a civic force.

Farnworth says once he’s received the report and reviewed it, he expects it will be made public.

Speaking to reporters in Surrey, he’s asked about whether he thinks there should be public consultation, as some on council have called for.

“I note the mayor has indicated he will be doing some consultation but that is Surrey’s process and that is up for the council of Surrey to determine how they want to proceed,” Farnworth said. “My role will be to receive that report and to evaluate that report along with my ministry.”

Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum has said the report should be on Farnworth’s desk by the third week of April, which of course is next week.

Meanwhile, Farnworth says the violence in Surrey over the past few weeks is both ‘frustrating and unacceptable.”

“It just reinforces the need for all of us at all levels of government to do as much as we can to try and combat it and deal with it.”

Farnworth was asked if he thinks politicians and police are making progress in tackling the violence.

“It is a difficult problem, no doubt about it. But I believe that we are making progress but there days it doesn’t seem like it but I do believe we are making progress.”

On Friday, Farnworth announced $6 million in grants to support government crime prevention priorities, just two blocks from where this week’s fatal shooting happened in Surrey’s Newton neighbourhood.

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The RCMP say they have completed an investigation into alleged voter fraud ahead of the civic election in Surrey, B.C., and Crown prosecutors are reviewing their report for charge assessment.

Surrey was one of several municipalities in Metro Vancouver where voter fraud allegations were reported during local election campaigns last fall.

The Mounties say in a news release they launched the investigation in September after Surrey's chief elections officers noted irregularities in the mail ballot registration process.

They found 67 applications to be fraudulent because they were not completed or signed by the voter listed on the application, but no ballots were sent out based on those applications and the process to apply for a mail ballot was amended on Oct. 1 to preserve the integrity of the election.

The Mounties received one more complaint that an election employee at a polling station tried to influence a voter but they say the employee was quickly removed by officials overseeing the election.

The results of the RCMP probe were shared with the chief electoral officer and Crown counsel, who has forwarded them to the B.C. prosecution service to consider charges.

"Allegations such as these are rare, but important to investigate to ensure the integrity of our democratic process," Asst. Commissioner Dwayne McDonald said in the release.

In October, the City of Vancouver also said it was aware of messages circulating on social media site WeChat that appeared to offer money in exchange for voting in Richmond, Burnaby and Vancouver.

It said the allegations were forwarded to both Vancouver police and the RCMP in Richmond and Burnaby.

RCMP in Surrey have previously said the fraudulent applications have not been linked to any civic election candidate or party.

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