Following the announcement that he's running for the B.C. Liberals in the upcoming provincial election, Surrey Coun. Marvin Hunt has said if he wins the Surrey-Panorama seat in the May 14 election, it "will become council's decision" whether he steps down as a city councillor.
Noting that a byelection would cost Surrey taxpayers "somewhere in the $600,000 to $800,000" range, Hunt told the Now if he wins the provincial seat, he would be willing to stay on council until next January, and then resign.
But if that happened, he stressed, he would not be double dipping because during the time he held both jobs he would give his entire city councillor's income to charities in Surrey.
The veteran civic politician likened his foray into provincial politics to entering a "different pond with real piranhas."
Hunt made his announcement official Friday morning, saying that he would be running in the Surrey-Panorama riding.
So far, he'll be running against the NDP's Amrik Mahil and Green Party candidate Sara Sharma. The riding has no incumbent MLA, on account of Liberal cabinet minister Stephanie Cadieux, who was first elected to Surrey-Panorama in 2009, now seeking office in Surrey-Cloverdale after long-time Liberal MLA Kevin Falcon decided not to seek re-election on May 14.
Premier Christy Clark welcomed Hunt to the fold. "Marvin is the latest in a great group of candidates running to provide strong representation for Surrey," she said.
The Liberals had been hunting for a candidate in Surrey-Panorama at this late hour after its original candidate, former Surrey Liberal MP Sukh Dhaliwal, dropped out of the race on Feb. 8 after it was revealed he and his wife, Roni, have been charged with failing to comply with the Income Tax Act in connection with Genko Consultants Inc., of which Sukh is president and she is the secretary.
"There's nothing sneaky," Dhaliwal told the Now at the time. "I'm taking responsibility. I'm not hiding anything. I'm working to resolve this matter through proper channels."
Hunt, his potential replacement, has been an alderman and councillor for 23 years. He was first elected to Surrey council in 1988. Hunt believes the coming election is "critically important" for B.C.'s future.
"I'm running for today's B.C. Liberals to make sure we keep B.C. on the right track under the leadership of Premier Christy Clark," Hunt said. "Surrey is a growing community that needs a government focused on growing our economy, not growing the size of government.
"We can move forward with balanced budgets and a B.C. Liberal government focused on jobs," he said, "or we can move backwards to deficits, higher debt and uncontrolled spending."