TAKE a look at these newspaper headlines about lawyer Randeep Singh Sarai and former MP Sukh Dhaliwal, the two candidates vying for the Liberal nomination in the federal riding of Surrey-Newton:
* “Federal Liberal party gives green light to two Surrey-Newton candidates with checkered pasts” – The Province newspaper website on November 19
* “Dhaliwal sets sights back on Ottawa” with the subheading: “Former MP, fined after pleading guilty to tax charges, seeks Liberal nomination” – The Vancouver Sun website and newspaper on September 16 / 17
NDP’s Jinny Sims, MP for Newton-North Delta, who will be running from this new riding, and whoever will be the Conservative Party candidate will for sure use the “checkered pasts” of Dhaliwal and Sarai to attack whoever ends up being the Liberal candidate. What will remain the unknown factor will be the extent to which Trudeau’s popularity will help any Liberal candidate in this situation.
Dhaliwal and his wife were charged under the Income Tax Act for failing to file tax returns for one of his companies. Last April, in an article in The VOICE, Dhaliwal wrote: “While there was absolutely no malice or intent behind the unfiled tax returns for a company that I served as a director of, this in no way lessened my obligation to adhere to the Income Tax Act.
“Last month, I appeared in BC Provincial Court to take responsibility for this lapse and move forward. I pled to my mistake, paid the allotted fines, and demonstrated that all filings are now up to date and settled.”
Dhaliwal was MP for Newton-North Delta from 2006 to 2011. He lost to Sims. But he has his base of support. However, Sims, too, has her base of support.
As for Sarai, a hearing panel of the Law Society of B.C. found that “he was guilty of professional misconduct and ordered that he be suspended for one year commencing July 1, 2005.”
Sarai explains that his dad had five heart attacks over a 10-month period and being young he was overwhelmed. Also, his partner fell ill and he had to take over the business.
But since then, Sarai says he has cleaned up his act. In 2010, a Law Society panel said that Sarai was deemed to be “credible, honest in his dealings with others, including clients and third parties, and possessing a good reputation in the community.”
Officially announcing his intention on Wednesday to seek his party’s nomination, Sarai said: “Over the past few months, I have been humbled by the level of support and words of encouragement that I have received to take this step. I believe that I will win this nomination with the support of local liberal members. As a representative of this riding I will work hard to ensure that the interests and issues close to the hearts of the residents of Surrey-Newton are represented.”
His press statement said: “With a Bachelors in political science from U.B.C. and a law degree from Queen’s University, Randeep has built several businesses, worked as an executive in a publicly traded mortgage investment corporation, and now currently practices with a law firm in the riding. He was born and raised in the Lower Mainland, and has been living with his wife and three children in Surrey for almost a decade. Randeep has been an active Liberal as well as a dedicated member of his community giving his time and service for a variety of causes, including scholarships, crime prevention, and youth engagement.”
Expect a lot of controversy in this riding in the coming year!