RATTAN’S RUMBLE: Surrey’s civic political scene has changed DRAMATICALLY!

Linda Hepner Photo by Chandra Bodalia
Linda Hepner
Photo by Chandra Bodalia

SURREY’S civic political scene has undergone a dramatic change over the past two years with visible minorities – especially the powerful South Asian component – waking up to ground realities.

Until recently, all that South Asians thought about were the federal (MP) and provincial (MLA) scenes. Being a “mere” councillor was not worth it for them – and the mayor’s seat was considered just impossible.

But the awakening was taking place in stages – first with the election of Tom Gill as councillor, then with Barinder Rasode also joining the ranks of councillors, and finally, Rasode’s bold, ambitious step to go for the mayor’s seat.

Once the highly popular Mayor Dianne Watts (love her or hate her) decided to move on to federal politics (her provincial ambitions were brutally dashed when Premier Christy Clark got re-elected last year against all odds), the civic scene was bound to change.

Doug McCallum Photo by Chandra Bodalia
Doug McCallum
Photo by Chandra Bodalia

South Asians comprise anywhere from 30 to 40 per cent of Surrey’s population – and they are a robust, dynamic and bold lot who are not willing to play second fiddle any longer.

Surrey is B.C.’s second largest city and nothing prevents it from occupying the top slot in a few years. Naturally, no political party can afford to ignore it.

It’s interesting to see how South Asians are backing all three major mayoral candidates – (in no particular order) Councillor Linda Hepner, former Surrey mayor Doug McCallum and Councillor Barinder Rasode – as are the white guys.

It’s even MORE interesting now to see the latest independent poll that shows it’s a very close race between all three – anyone could walk away with the top spot – and there’s no doubt that all of them are anxiously excited (if I may put it that way). Indeed, that’s what democracy is all about.

Barinder Rasode Photo by Chandra Bodalia
Barinder Rasode
Photo by Chandra Bodalia

The large number of South Asian candidates for Council has added much fervour and enthusiasm to the election campaign.

Indeed, even Vikram Bajwa, who’s also a mayoral candidate, has carved his own niche – it’s not always about winning, but about participation after all.

(For info about all the candidates running for mayor, councillor or school trustee, please visit: http://www.surrey.ca/election2014/candidates.aspx)

Vikram Bajwa
Vikram Bajwa

The large number of voters (84 per cent more than in 2011) who cast their ballot in the advance polling indicates that there might well be some pleasant (or unpleasant!) results for Surrey-ites! So it’s REALLY IMPORTANT for you to go and cast your votes for whoever you think deserves your support.

Indeed, Surrey’s civic political scene has changed DRAMATICALLY – and things will be really interesting as Surrey-ites realize that it’s SO IMPORTANT to have your say in City affairs because this is where you live and it’s the City that decides on a host of matters in your day-to-day lives.