Graham Cox / November 27, 2018

City Hall in the heart of Surrey, British Columbia
(Surrey Now-Leader)

Surrey Mayor shocked by city’s $514 million in debt

Recently re-elected Mayor of Surrey, Doug McCallum, is hoping to launch a ‘pay as you go’ system to help cut down debts after he discovered the city is nearly half a billion dollars in debt.

After learning of the debt, McCallum said he was, “shaken to his core,” and “deeply dismayed” by the state of finances.

McCallum said his hope for his proposed ‘pay as you go’ approach is for Surrey to save up and pay bills when they are due. According to the new mayor, this system would not impact current programs and services across the city, however he said they do have to consider how they proceed with their capital projects as a result of the debt.

Since being elected, two major projects McCallum has pushed are getting rid of the RCMP in favour of a private Surrey police force and building a Skytrain instead of a Light Rail network.

Ukraine and Russian tensions rise after naval incident

Ukraine imposed martial law for 30 days after a confrontation off the disputed Crimean Peninsula in which Russia fired on and seized three Ukrainian vessels. The ships were travelling from the Black Sea toward a Ukrainian port at the time of the incident.

Ukraine considers the 24 captured men to be prisoners of war while Russia claims the men violated its border.

The new emergency measures adopted by the Ukraine will include partial mobilization and strengthening the nation’s air defence.

Canada, along with other allies, have condemned Russia for its actions.

Russian boats seized three Ukrainian ships off the Crimean peninsula

Hassan Al Kontar has been living in the Kuala Lumpur International Airport since March 7, 2018
(Hassan Al Kontar / Twitter)

Syrian Refugee arrives in Vancouver after being stranded in Malaysian airport

After being stuck for seven months at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport, Hassan Al Kontar has arrived in Vancouver, which he described as his ‘final destination.’

Al Kontar said Canadian volunteers gave him hope after he submitted an application for asylum. A GoFundMe page set up by Canadian volunteers says that while the Syrian refugee was working in the United Arab Emirates in 2012, he was denied a new passport and was facing military service, which he refused.

The page says between 2012 and 2017 he was without status and lost his job. He then travelled to Malaysia, where he stayed longer than the three months he was allotted and ended up being stuck in the arrivals terminal with no where to go.

Before he boarded a plane in Taiwan headed to Vancouver, Al Kontar took to Twitter to post a video thanking Canadians for all their prayers and support throughout the process.