Dianne Watts was first elected as a Member of Parliament for South Surrey – White Rock in 2015 during the 42nd Federal Election, the only Conservative MP in the city of Surrey. She is currently serving in the Official Opposition Shadow Cabinet as the Critic for Infrastructure, Communities and Urban Affairs, and is a member of the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security.
Ms. Watts has long been a leader in her local South Surrey – White Rock community, with a dedication to public service spanning nearly two decades. From 2005-2014, Ms. Watts served three terms as the first female Mayor of Surrey, and served a previous three terms as a Surrey City Councillor from 1996-2005. With a population over 460,000, Surrey is BC’s second largest city, the 12th largest in the country, and is on track to become the most populated city in Metro Vancouver by 2020.
During her time as Mayor, Ms. Watts lead several achievements for Surrey, including:
- The lowest residential tax rates in Metro Vancouver;
- The lowest business taxes in Metro Vancouver;
- #1 standing as the best place in B.C. to invest, and the 4th best city in Canada, by the Real Estate Investment Network 4 years in a row;
- Recognition as the 7th most “Intelligent City” in the world due to her spearheading “Innovation Boulevard,” alternative energy initiatives, and being on the leading edge of technology development;
- Surrey Crime Reduction Strategy that has become a model for cities throughout the world;
- Sustainability Charter that guides the City’s approach to social, cultural, environmental, and economic sustainability;
- Poverty Reduction Plan: practical solutions designed to improve the lives of all low-income people living in the city of Surrey.
Ms. Watts has also led a diverse private sector career. Her experience includes consulting for and co-managing an architecture firm, and serving as CEO of a non-profit that supports and assists start-up companies commercialize technology.
Ms. Watts has earned several accolades for her work in public service, including:
- 2013 YWCA Metro Vancouver’s Women of Distinction Award in the Non-Profit and Public Service category;
- 2012 Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal to honour her significant contributions to and achievements for her community;
- International recognition for the 4th best mayor in the world by the City Mayor’s Foundation in the UK in 2010;
- Consumer Choice Awards “Woman of the Year” for Business Excellence in 2010
- Named a Paul Harris Fellow by the Rotary Foundation of Rotary International in 2009;
- Honoured in 2001 as the first elected official in the history of Surrey to become an honorary firefighter for her work with the Surrey Fire Service and public safety.
- Honorary Doctor of Laws Degree from the Justice Institute of British Columbia
- Honorary Doctor of Laws Degree from Kwantlen Polytechnic University