SO far there seem to be 12 South Asian candidates in B.C. running in this year’s federal election for the three major political parties – the NDP (four candidates), the Conservative Party (three candidates) and the Liberal Party (five candidates).
Born in India, Jinny Jogindera Sims grew up in England where she earned a Bachelor of Education at the University of Victoria in Manchester before moving to Canada to teach English in 1975. Sims is past-president of the Nanaimo District Teachers’ Association. At the British Columbia Teachers Federation (BCTF) she served as a director, vice-president and president. In 2011 she was elected from Newton-North Delta, defeating incumbent Liberal MP Sukh Dhaliwal. Sims has served as Official Opposition critic for Consular Affairs; Official Opposition critic for International Cooperation; Official Opposition critic for Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism; Official Opposition deputy critic for Foreign Affairs, and currently as Official Opposition critic for Employment and Social Development.
* She faces former MP Sukh Dhaliwal (Liberal) and Harpreet Singh (Conservative).
Jasbir Sandhu was elected MP in 2011 for Surrey North and is seeking re-election in the reconfigured riding of Surrey Centre. Jasbir has introduced legislation to restore federal protection for Bear Creek, and to provide funding for successful youth gang prevention programs. Jasbir has also sponsored a motion demanding an official apology for the Komagata Maru tragedy. Jasbir has served as the NDP’s critic for Public Safety, and most recently as the Official Opposition critic for Asia Pacific Gateway. Before entering Parliament, Jasbir worked at the Justice Institute of British Columbia as a program manager for over 15 years. He has also been a small business owner in Surrey. Jasbir has also worked as a business analyst, a customs officer, a self-employed building contractor, a truck driver, taxi driver and factory worker. He is a graduate of Queen Elizabeth Secondary in North Surrey. He holds a Master’s degree in Business Administration from Royal Roads University.
* He faces Sucha Thind (Conservative). There is no Liberal candidate as yet.
Amandeep Nijjar, a community activist, is a staff person in the finance department of the Canadian Office and Professional Employees Union Local 378. She was born in Vancouver, graduated from John Oliver Secondary School and has always considered Vancouver South her home. NDP Leader Tom Mulcair said just after her nomination as his party’s candidate last month: “She will be a great representative for Vancouver South and her experience as a community activist and her deep commitment to revitalizing the local business community will make her an excellent Member of Parliament.” Nijjar refuted suggestions that her Conservative rival Wai Young, a Chinese Canadian MP, would have an advantage because of the large number of Chinese Canadians in that riding. She noted: “Vancouver South is a diverse riding with different opinions that go beyond culture, language and race.” She added: “In my respectful opinion, the people of Vancouver South understand and value their democratic rights and they look at good public policies rather than the color of a candidate when making their ballet box decision.”
* She faces incumbent MP Wai Young (Conservative) and Harjit Sajjan (Liberal).
Bill Sundhu, who was a provincial court judge from 1996-2007, is a distinguished lawyer and is involved publicly in human rights, justice, diversity and equality issues, including the Canadian justice system and international human rights law. He is a lecturer, public speaker and frequently sought by the media for commentary on legal and human rights matters. In 1980, he earned his Bachelor’s in International Relations from the University of British Columbia. In 1983, he earned his Bachelor of Laws from the University of Windsor. In 1988, he received a certificate in Accelerated French from the Institute for American Universities, France. In 2010, he earned a Masters in International Human Rights Law from the University of Oxford. In 2011, he got a certificate from Harvard Negotiation Institute, Harvard Law School.
* He faces Cathy McLeod (Conservative) and Steve Powrie (Liberal).
Nina Grewal entered politics in 2004 as a Conservative Party candidate for the riding of Fleetwood-Port Kells. Her initial foray into politics was a successful one, as she won her seat and then won re-election in 2006, 2008, and 2011. Born in Japan, Grewal received her formal education in India at the Convent of Jesus and Mary, Simla, and earned a Bachelor’s degree in History and English Literature from Punjabi University, Patiala. After marriage, Grewal moved to Liberia where she was a partner in her family’s business. In Canada, Grewal raised her young family and worked as a sales manager for a company selling Registered Education Savings Plans. Grewal serves on the House of Commons Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and the Sub-Committee on International Human Rights. She is a past member of the Immigration, Canadian Heritage, and Status of Women committees. During her first-term in office Grewal introduced and had debated in the House of Commons a Private Member’s Motion seeking to raise the age of protection. Although defeated by the then-Liberal government, the Conservative government implemented it into law. Grewal has also proposed legislation seeking to tackle identity theft (Bill C-271), to amend the State Immunity Act (Bill C-346) – both bills now incorporated into government bills – to further limit access to child pornography (Bill C-347), and to limit the loudness of television commercials (Bill C-621).
* She faces Garry Begg (NDP) and Ken Hardie (Liberal).
Harpreet Singh, a journalist for the past 22 years, has also been a small business owner in Surrey over the last decade. He came to Canada in 2002. He says that the journey from an immigrant to a television and radio host, political commentator, writer, producer and a businessman, has been an amazing one for him. He says he became a member of the Conservative Party of Canada because of his values and core beliefs of the party. Harpreet is well versed with the issues and challenges of the people living in Surrey Newton and he believes that he will be able to represent them in Parliament. He is involved with a number of social and charitable organizations here.
* He faces incumbent MP Jinny Sims (NDP) and former MP Sukh Dhaliwal (Liberal).
SUCHA THIND (Surrey Centre)
Sucha Thind has owned and operated a successful aluminum railing business and served as a mentor to many young entrepreneurs in the city for over 25 years. As a fresh university graduate, he immigrated to Canada in his early twenties from India to start a new life and worked at numerous retail stores and factories before finding his calling in the railing business. He credits hard work and genuineness to his success and knows what it takes to do well in the business world. “Conservative Government’s approach towards tougher sentences for the offenders from drug dealers to sexual predators is a right direction to keep our streets and cities safe,” he says, adding that therefore, public safety and crime reduction will be a primary target for him. He says that with a demonstrated history of hard work and success, he will be a strong addition to the Conservative Party and will continue lobbying for the advancement and progress of the city of Surrey and Canada as a whole.
* He faces incumbent MP Jasbir Sandhu (NDP). There is no Liberal candidate as yet.
Sukh Dhaliwal is a professional engineer, British Columbia land surveyor and former MP for Newton-North Delta from 2006 to 2011. After earning his Bachelor of Science (Surveying Engineering) from the University of Calgary, Sukh started his own business – Dhaliwal and Associates Land Surveying Inc. – which continues to thrive today. As a former member of the Surrey Board of Trade, he was an active spokesman for small businesses, helping foster opportunities that will drive the local economy in the future. As an MP, he also held such roles as Official Opposition Critic for the Asia Pacific Gateway and Western Economic Diversification. He participated on the Board of Directors for SEEDS (Self Employment and Entrepreneur Development Society), was a member of the City of Surrey Parks and Community Services committee, and volunteered with Surrey Memorial Hospital Foundation’s Emergency Centre Campaign – a fundraiser to assist in the construction of the hospital’s expanded emergency ward.
* He faces incumbent MP Jinny Sims (NDP) and Harpreet Singh (Conservative).
Dr. Hedy Fry is the current MP for the riding of Vancouver Centre. Born in Trinidad and Tobago, Hedy received her medical training at the Royal College of Surgeons in Dublin, Ireland, before immigrating to Canada and embarking on a career in family medicine that spanned 20 years at St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver’s West End. During this time, she served as president of the Vancouver Medical Association, the BC Medical Association, and the Federation of Medical Women, earning her a reputation as a leader in medical politics on the local, provincial, and federal levels. In 1993, Hedy was elected as MP for Vancouver Centre, defeating then-Prime Minister Kim Campbell. Throughout her 21 years of service, Hedy has served in a variety of Parliamentary leadership roles, as Minister of State for Multiculturalism and the Status of Women, Liberal Critic for Sports and the 2010 Olympics, as well as Liberal Critic for Canadian Heritage. Hedy served as Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration with a special emphasis on foreign credentials. She has also served on committees pertaining to citizenship, health, justice and human rights, as well as social development.
* She faces Elaine Allan (Conservative) and Constance Barnes (NDP).
Harjit Sajjan has served Canada and his community as both a soldier and a police officer. He is a Lieutenant-Colonel in the Canadian Armed Forces and a combat veteran. He has deployed to Bosnia-Herzegovina and served three separate deployments to Kandahar, Afghanistan. Harjit has received numerous recognitions for his service, including the Meritorious Service Medal for reducing the Taliban’s influence in Kandahar province. He is also a recipient of the Order of Military Merit – one of the military’s highest recognitions. Harjit also served as an Aide-de-Camp to the Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia. He was a police officer with the Vancouver Police Department for 11 years. He completed his last assignment as a Detective-Constable with the Gang Crime Unit specializing in organized crime, tackling gang violence and drug crimes. Harjit is also a Human Security specialist, lecturing to a wide audience in both Canada and the US.
* He faces incumbent MP Wai Young (Conservative) and Amandeep Nijjar (NDP).
Sasha Ramnarine, whose parents came from Trinidad and Tobago, built his own business law practice, which has now been integrated into the Lower Mainland’s Remedios and Company, the firm where he is currently an associate lawyer. Sasha chairs the events committee of the Small Business Council – a group which supports entrepreneurs and business owners in British Columbia. He also serves as the Treasurer of the Canadian Association of Black Lawyers, British Columbia chapter. Sasha volunteers with the Vancouver and Burnaby Boards of Trade, Trinidad and Tobago Cultural Society, and MOSAIC BC, where he mentors immigrants and refugees in the course of their settlement and integration into Canadian society. Sasha holds a Bachelor of Business Administration from Simon Fraser University and a Juris Doctor from the University of Ottawa.
* He faces incumbent MP Peter Julian (NDP) and Chloe Ellis (Conservative).
A businessman with more than 27 years experience, Jati Sidhu served as president of Greenvale Enterprises Inc., a local agricultural company, and is the current CEO and president of the Sidhu Group, which focuses on housing and business development. He has also served on the University of Fraser Valley Board of Governors and as a member of the Abbotsford Police Board. Jati has long dedicated himself to improving his community, particularly through his work as a board member of the Abbotsford Chamber of Commerce, and as founding member of the Fraser Valley Indo-Canadian Business Association. Through his work with the Association, Jati helped raise funds to build the Abbotsford Hospice Society, which provides end-of-life care and grief support for families in Abbotsford. Jati is also known as a renowned philanthropist within the Abbotsford community.
* The NDP and the Conservatives have yet to select their candidates.