|35th Mayor of Surrey|
|Preceded by||Doug McCallum|
|Children||Elishea and Elora Watts|
|Residence||Surrey, British Columbia|
She ran as an independent candidate, defeating incumbent Doug McCallum at the polls on November 19, 2005, who had been her political ally as recently as 2003. When she announced her intent to challenge McCallum, she claimed that a "culture of control and conflict has developed at city hall under Doug McCallum" and promised "better co-operation between the city and senior governments to bring more social services into Surrey to deal with homelessness, drug use and crime".
Mayor Watts created a political slate called "Surrey First" for the 2008 municipal elections. The slate was made up of current councillors and aspiring individuals from the community. Surrey First is not an official party and its members are reportedly free to vote their consciences on land development and other contentious issues before City Hall. On November 15, 2008, Mayor Dianne Watts defeated her lone challenger for the mayor's chair by almost 43,000 votes and all six members of her Surrey First slate—Judy Villenneuve, Tom Gill, Barbara Steele, Linda Hepner, Mary Martin and newcomer Barinder Rasode—won seats on Surrey City Council.
She has been called one of Surrey's most popular, influential and transformative mayors in the Metro Vancouver region. She served a term as Chair of the Mayor's Council on Regional Transportation (the board which oversees TransLink). Watts was among the finalists for the 2010 World Mayor prize. She has also been touted as a possible future Premier of British Columbia. Watts was ultimately selected as "the fourth-best mayor in the world, according to the 2010 World Mayor Prize." This project, organized by the urban affairs think-tank The City Mayors Foundation, recognizes mayors who have made long-lasting contributions to their communities.
Mayor Watts was a driving force behind the controversial 2011 Surrey Regional Economic Summit, in which former US presidents George Bush and Bill Clinton were featured speakers. Amnesty International, the Canadian Centre for International Justice, the Center for Constitutional Rights, and Lawyers Against the War all called on Canadian authorities to arrest and prosecute Bush for the use of torture by U.S. forces. Amnesty International stated it had provided the RCMP with more than 4,000 pages of documents alleging that the former US president was engaged in war crimes, and called for his arrest. The human-rights group stated that it had submitted a memorandum to Canadian officials outlining why Bush was legally responsible for human-rights violations that took place between 2002 and 2009. The summit was also expected to draw protests. The protests in Surrey were relatively peaceful and brief and did not engage many Surrey residents.
This action did not prevent Dianne Watts' re-election to a third term as mayor of Surrey on November 19, 2011 with 80% of the vote. Her slate of Surrey First candidates won all seats on city council and even defeated Robert (Bob) Bose, her sole opponent on Surrey City Council. This might testify to her personal popularity among Surrey voters who have bought into her vision of a modern Surrey with numerous modern multi-family residential townhome and condos, retail, commercial and light industrial developments as well as her attempt to bring more social services to her city. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia will also have their new 76,000 square metre LEED gold certified headquarters in Surrey Green Timbers Park, near Surrey Central City, by early 2013—with all the extra employment that this might entail. She also plans on making the city workers pay for their parking at the new city hall in Surrey's City Central district which will result in labour action.
- Hume, Mark (November 6, 2010). "Surrey mayor considers her next political move", The Globe and Mail, p. A8. Retrieved November 8, 2010.
- CityTV | NEWS
- SET co-founder moves on to back Watts for mayor, The Now Newspaper, October 10, 2005
- Surrey voters will determine GVRD's future | Straight.com November 10, 2005
- City of Surrey - Inside City Hall - Your Mayor and Council - Mayor Watts
- Barinder Rasode
- Official City of Surrey November 2008 Election Results
- Her Worship Vancouver Magazine, January 1, 2009
- Watts named world's fourth-best mayor (in 2010) The Vancouver Sun, December 8, 2010
- A Global Honour for Surrey Mayor The Metro, December 8, 2010
- Presidents Clinton and Bush at 2011 Surrey Regional Economic Summit
- Occupy Surrey protest to welcome George W. Bush to Canada
- Canada urged to arrest George W. Bush on B.C. visit
- 2011 Surrey Election results
- RCMP E Division Headquarters Relocation Project Fact Sheet