Loudmouth BC Liberal MLA Jas Johal should stop behaving like an upstart

LOUDMOUTH, upstart BC Liberal MLA Jas Johal seems to be in a big hurry to become some sort of a hero, fallaciously imagining that as a former mainstream TV reporter he can get away with saying anything. But it’s time that he seriously took stock of his behaviour and utterances and stop making a certified ass of himself!

Last May he and another BC Liberal MLA, Ian Paton, were forced to apologize for offensive comments in the space of 24 hours. The Richmond-Queensborough was forced to apologize for saying that Surrey MLA Jinny Sims represented “Surrey-Panorama, not Islamabad North.”

His apology came on the heels of an outcry from the Pakistani-Canadian community, with the Pakistan-Canada Association saying that Johal’s comment “feeds into a troubling Islamophobic narrative.” The Pakistani Canadian Cultural Association noted that Johal’s BC Liberal colleagues “clapped to strengthen and show support for his inappropriate statement.”

Perhaps, the ignorant white BC Liberal MLAs felt that a brown MLA could get away with mocking fellow brown guys – and you can be sure the white mainstream media must have enjoyed this disgraceful, demeaning outburst by Johal.

Apparently encouraged by Johal, his fellow MLA Ian Patton also ended up putting his foot in his mouth (looks like BC Liberal MLAs love sucking their toes!)

Paton suggested the South Asian community needs to keep their kids out of gangs. The comments were directed to Labour Minister Harry Bains as Paton argued in favour of an amendment that would allow children as young as 12 to work in any type of job.

Paton said: “Especially for the South Asian community, this is something I cannot believe the Minister would not stand behind this amendment with the South Asian community that know it’s important to keep their kids out of the bad end of town, keep their kids out of gangs and whatnot, to give them the opportunity to work and get a job at even age 12, 13, 14 and 15.”

After making a complete ass of himself, Patton tried to clarify his comments without apologizing or withdrawing them. But the next day, he was forced to withdraw his comments. “My choice of words in the moment was unfortunate, and I wholeheartedly apologize to anyone who I offended with my remarks,” he later said in a statement.

But a few months before that, in March, Johal had made a complete ass of himself and was being openly mocked in the South Asian community as a rude, crude ignoramus as he used the offensive term “chamcha” (that is as derogatory as calling someone an a*rse-licker) on South Asian NDP MLAs.

When asked on South Asian radio station Red FM whether that language was unparliamentary, Johal insisted: “No, no because, what is chamcha? Chamcha is sycophant. If I use the English term, sycophant, that’s not unparliamentary… it’s not unparliamentary, not at all.” (Red FM, March 26)

But just two hours later, under pressure from then-Minister Jinny Sims, Johal backed down and withdrew his remarks in the legislature.

NDP MLA Jagrup Brar bluntly noted at the time: “It’s shameful that Jas Johal is saying one thing to our community on the radio, and saying the opposite just two hours later in the legislature. He insisted his offensive remarks were ok, even though he knows they weren’t. Why isn’t he telling people in Surrey the truth?”

Brar added: “Mr. Johal should spend less time spreading misinformation in Surrey and more time looking after his own constituents. The BC Liberals ignored our community for years, and that’s why people rejected them.”

And last February, North Delta MLA Ravi Kahlon lashed out at Johal for his ‘shameful’ comment concerning his father’s taxi license while demanding that Kahlon resign from an all-party committee that is reviewing ride hailing.

Kahlon wrote to the conflict of interest commissioner about the controversy and told The VOICE: “I said you let me know if you think this is a conflict of interest because I don’t think so. I am confident he’s going to come back and say ‘there is no conflict of interest.’”

(Kahlon was later vindicated by the commissioner, but Johal had in the meantime shamelessly caused great damage to Kahlon’s reputation.)

Kahlon said: “I am, to be honest with you, most kind of ashamed because I’ve never hid the fact that my dad is a taxi driver. I have never hid the fact that my mom [used to wash] dishes at restaurants. I am proud of that record and to see Jas Johal raise this question and in particular because I asked tough questions off the Uber Vice President – and I ask tough questions off everyone. I asked a question ‘would you want your kids to get into a car with somebody who hasn’t had the vehicle inspection [of his car] and hasn’t done a criminal check?’ I think that’s a very legit question. And so that’s offended them and now they plead a conflict of interest which I fundamentally disagree with.”

Kahlon also exposed the hypocrisy of BC Liberal MLAs as he pointed out: “We have people who own farms – the Delta South MLA owns a farm and he’s on the agriculture committee. We have MLAS who own property who are on committees that are looking at rental rules. And so because those committees do not have the power to make a decision, it’s considered okay. You’ll remember a couple of years ago, Peter Fassbender – the guy who had all the power [as] Minister of Transportation – his daughter was lobbying for Uber and they said there is no conflict of interest.”

Even Premier John Horgan was so upset by Johal’s unfair and lowdown attack that he said: “Why demonize the son of a hard-working business person because he happens to drive a taxi for a living? Why demonize people who work 12 to 14 hours a day just because it’s politically expedient?”

Now Johal is back to his Uber lobbying and no one in the South Asian community is surprised at that because BC Liberal MLAs have always supported the interests of big business – because it means BIG MONEY for them.

Johal needs to give his thick skull a good shake and do some proper research.

The VOICE carried a story titled “Uber London Limited found not fit and proper to hold private hire operator licence. Pattern of failures placed passenger safety and security at risk meaning ‘Transport for London’ cannot renew licence” last Monday.

The story said: “TfL [Transport for London] has identified a pattern of failures by the company including several breaches that placed passengers and their safety at risk.

“Despite addressing some of these issues, TfL does not have confidence that similar issues will not reoccur in the future, which has led it to conclude that the company is not fit and proper at this time.

“In September Uber was granted a two-month licence as further information was required on these issues, some of which emerged late in the process of its reapplication.

“A key issue identified was that a change to Uber’s systems allowed unauthorised drivers to upload their photos to other Uber driver accounts.

“This allowed them to pick up passengers as though they were the booked driver, which occurred in at least 14,000 trips – putting passenger safety and security at risk.

“This means all the journeys were uninsured and some passenger journeys took place with unlicensed drivers, one of which had previously had their licence revoked by TfL.

“Another failure allowed dismissed or suspended drivers to create an Uber account and carry passengers, again compromising passenger safety and security.”

TfL also pointed out: ” Other serious breaches have also occurred, including several insurance-related issues. Some of these led TfL to prosecute Uber earlier this year for causing and permitting the use of vehicles without the correct hire or reward insurance in place.”

It also said: “This pattern of regulatory breaches led TfL to commission an independent assessment of Uber’s ability to prevent incidents of this nature happening again.

“This work has led TfL to conclude that it currently does not have confidence that Uber has a robust system for protecting passenger safety, while managing changes to its app.”

Helen Chapman, Director of Licensing, Regulation and Charging at TfL, said: “Safety is our absolute top priority. While we recognise Uber has made improvements, it is unacceptable that Uber has allowed passengers to get into minicabs with drivers who are potentially unlicensed and uninsured.”

But for BC Liberals safety is only for lip service – it’s the money they will get from big business that matters – whether it was taking big donations from gas companies or turning a blind eye to money laundering in casinos, everybody knows their reputation.