Despite recent assurances by the federal Public Safety Minister, 20 of the 100 new Mounties committed to Surrey have not been deployed to British Columbia's second-largest city, which is grappling with a wave of drug-related shootings.
Last week, federal Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney said in a statement that the deployment of 20 Mounties "committed to Surrey is already under way."
But Surrey Mayor Linda Hepner said Thursday that the 20 have not, in fact, arrived and the force of Surrey Mounties stands at 703 officers – right where it was in May when the federal government announced that Surrey would get 100 new officers over time.
Jasbir Sandhu, the NDP MP for Surrey North, said the Conservative government seems to be playing politics ahead of the October federal election, courting support by taking a position of being tough on crime without following through on its pledges.
"They've been telling us that the 20 officers are on their way or boots are on the ground, but the fact is basically we haven't seen any change in the number of officers that are in Surrey," Mr. Sandhu said from Ottawa.
He said the Conservatives should simply come clean on the deployment of Mounties in the community.
"Just tell the truth. 'Hey, we're not getting those officers for five months, six months, one year, two years.'"
Surrey, southeast of Vancouver, is expected to be a major political battleground in the fall election because the Conservatives, Liberals and New Democrats have all won seats there. The city's ridings are currently divided between the Conservatives and NDP.
But Ms. Hepner was more sanguine about the whole situation during an interview on Thursday, saying that the new officers are a given and she expects they will arrive within the next 12 months.
"I don't expect to see a busload pull up with 100 officers. I know they will come in through a transfer or a promotion or through new recruits, so that's going to be a process around which they will flow," she said. "I know I am confident that when the 12 months rolls around, we'll have them."
Since March, there have been more than 30 incidents of gun violence in Surrey and Delta largely linked to turf battles among organizations selling illegal drugs.
Crime in Surrey was a major issue in the municipal election that saw Ms. Hepner elected mayor for the first time last November, succeeding Dianne Watts. Ms. Watts, a friend and colleague of Ms. Hepner, is running for the federal Tories in South Surrey-White Rock. Ms. Hepner has said she will campaign for Ms. Watts.
On Thursday, Mr. Blaney's press secretary referred the matter to the RCMP.
The RCMP's British Columbia division responded to voice mails and an e-mail seeking comment with the e-mailed statement. It said: "The Commanding Officer of BC has confirmed that the deployment plan for new officers requested by Surrey and approved by the Government of Canada is well under way."
The B.C. division did not respond to requests for clarification.
The RCMP's Surrey detachment did not respond to voice mails and an e-mail seeking comment.