Moe Gill claims Rich Coleman forced him to sign a letter in an Abbotsford Cactus Club

An Abbotsford councillor claims that Deputy Premier Rich Coleman forced him to sign a letter agreeing to run in Abbotsford-Mission.

Moe Gill told the Straight about this by phone after Coleman claimed to CKNW Radio that Gill had informed him that he wasn't interested in running in Abbotsford South. Coleman said Gill even put his name on a letter saying he wanted to run in Abbotsford-Mission.

"They bullied me into signing this," Gill alleged. "I didn't want to go there."

The B.C. Liberals have acclaimed University of the Fraser Valley criminologist Darryl Plecas as their candidate in Abbotsford South, which is held by independent MLA John van Dongen.

Gill explained that after the B.C. Liberal convention, he received a phone call from Bruce Burley, a regional director, asking for a meeting the following morning at 9 a.m. in an Abbotsford Cactus Club restaurant.

Gill said he was pleased because he thought he would be told that he would be the party's candidate in Abbotsford South.

The restaurant normally didn't open at that time, according to Gill, but management allowed Gill inside for the get-together with Burley and Coleman.

According to Gill, Coleman sat at a table and said, "I'm working for only two people. I listen to those two people and I speak for those two people. One is Christy Clark. The other one is [B.C. Liberal campaign manager] Mike McDonald."

Gill said they talked for two hours. "I keep telling him, this is the riding I work in," he recalled. "They have this bullying tactic that works really nice. They do this professionally, I think....He said to me, 'You are not approved.' "

The Abbotsford councillor said he persisted, saying he was going to run in Abbotsford South.

"He said 'You can't run in this riding. You're not approved. The Liberal party is not approving you. How can you run?'," Gill claimed.

Then, according to Gill, Coleman offered him a membership list in Abbotsford-Mission so he could gather support there.

"I said, 'Randy Hawes is running this person over there—[Mission councillor] Tony Luck. They have been working there, getting the membership. It's too late'," Gill recalled.

Gill conceded that he signed the letter under duress. Members of the B.C. Liberal constituency executive in Abbotsford South later quit en masse when they learned that the party was appointing Plecas as the candidate.

Now, Gill wonders if the B.C. Liberals have tried to prevent other Punjabi-speaking Indo-Canadian politicians from seeking nominations in other constituencies.

Gill sidestepped a question from the Straight whether he thought the B.C. Liberals' actions were racist.

On Radio India this morning, host Gupreet Singh also asked Gill if racism played any role in the B.C. Liberals' decision to prevent him from seeking a nomination in Abbotsford South.

Gill stopped short of using the R-word, merely saying what happened to him happened to his community.

Gill told the Straight that he was the first Punjabi-speaking politician to be elected to a municipal council in 1996. This came after he lost in five previous attempts.

"The Indo-Canadian population in B.C., I believe, highly respects me and I respect them as well," he said.

He then told a story about how, on a trip to India with Finance Minister Mike de Jong, a teacher came up to him and said that she was encouraged to attend school after reading about how Gill refused to give up on his political aspirations in Canada.

"I gave her a big hug," he said. "The tears were rolling down my eyes."

In 1994, Gill helped de Jong win a narrow victory over then–Social Credit leader Grace McCarthy in an Abbotsford by-election. That paved the way for the demise of the Socreds and catapulted the B.C. Liberals into becoming the de facto opposition to the NDP.

Flash forward 18 years and now, Gill says he's going to do everything he can to ensure that Plecas is defeated in Abbotsford South.

"I was the one involved with Mike de Jong to finish off the Social Credit party at that time," Gill noted. "Am I the same guy again who is going to finish off the Liberal party?"


Follow Charlie Smith on Twitter at twitter.com/csmithstraight.

Comments (23) Add New Comment
Ima Knut
This guy is a real peach! He claims to helping destroy the Socreds and now is working to destroy his new party the Liberals! If I was starting a new party I sure would want him to be a member! As to his claim that he was the first punjabi speaking municipal politician elected - what horse hockey! There have been many punjabi speaking politicians elected to municipal office in BC. A quick google search (something the "Straight" might want to use as a fact-checker) shows that Mr Balwant Sanghera was first elected Alderman in Lillooet in 1975 and served for six consecutive terms. Google also listed other punjabi speaking politicians elected at the municipal level long before Mr Gill decided to make a career of joining provincial parties in order to dismantle them from within.
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Sean Upshaw
I know Moe, He should run as a Conservative. After this gong show by the Liberals they deserve to lose the seat. Moe is a shew in as a Conservative.
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Ima Knut
The original gong show is the conservatives.
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Seumas
Ima, I think you missed what has been done here. Moe Gill has supported the BC Liberals since Campbell took over from Wilson. More specifically he supported Mike deJong with massive membership signups, local support for numerous public events, chaperone trips to India and so on. Mike deJong encouraged Moe Gill to go after John VanDogen for the past 2 years. It is deJong that crowned Christy Clark premiere and is the major influence on who runs in Abby South. Christy nor Rich Coleman would dare step on his territory. Mike used Moe Gill in a most immoral way for his own gain and now has cast him aside. So Mike not only stabbed in the back his long time colleague John VanDogen, but true to form the now Moe Gill the Indo-Canadian he has used for more than a decade to secure votes for himself. FYI: The only riding Mike deJong won in his BC Liberal leadership bid was Abby South mostly due to Moe Gill’s signups of ne Indo members that voted for Mike.
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Earls
All of this bitterness! Clearly, Cactus Club is a place of bitterness, particularly the Udder Ale. Given the overpriced nachos, the overly dyed bellinis, and a lenient dress policy that permits the servers not to look like lingerie models, is it any wonder that the Cactus Club is the scene of this terrible scandal.
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Ima Knut
So you are saying Mr Gill's only use is as a source of memberships to be used to force political outcomes? This was typical of the old Socreds, who wouldn't take the time to spit on an east indian but were always willing to take their support and money. The BC Liberals are finally showing their true colours. Nothing but a bunch of Socreds in Liberal clothing... I say, forward with the BC Gong Show.
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Ima Knut
I wonder if Gill was forced to sign the letter, pressured because the alternative was to eat the Cactus Club food?
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cuz
Politics in Canada are f*cked up!!! Why can't whoever wants to run for whatever position in whatever riding they happen to live in (unlike Jane Sterke)?? The idea that party leaders control everything - even how you may vote - is insanity. How is it that some jerk from another province has the slightest idea what might work best in your province. Time to change the system!!!!
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BC Conservative Believer
I think someone must have peed in Ima's Corn Flakes.
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Rita Johansen
Pardon me, but I think Mr. Gill should have known from the get go who is was dealing with.
These neohacks are not much different than the inbred Reform Party members.
Mr. Gill, I feel bad they did this to you, but I am not surprised and neither should you be.
The next time you see someone like Jason Kenney wearing a kerchief on his head, it's not because he knows anything or even cares about the Sikh religion, but because he has been told that this is they the Party can get votes from the Punjabi community ( not necessarliy the Indo-Canadian community).
How many Punjabi Cabinent Miniserts does Harper have?
Oh and in my view the NDP are not much different in appointing who they think can get some media traction.
Just saying....
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iang62
Each political party varies how they select their candidate and sadly even the Greens have a top down approach to their selection process - ie if the leader approves of you, regardless of what the constituency association votes on. In one federal election we selected one candidate to run in Van East and was turned down by Green Party head office. In 2008 I was acclaimed as candidate for Van Hastings and was turned down by Jane Sterk - a leader I worked with to get the leadership position after Adriane Carr moved on.
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JamesI
Of course on the plus side, the Liberals have just spent mega tax-payer bucks on an Anti-bullying campaign; perhaps he can call the hotline?
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DeceitinDrugs
Michael Dejong has the support of the self-interest group
in Abbotsford, who have so-called stacked their deck by
sitting on the various city committees.

These supporters inc. members of thepast/present Chamber,
Abbotsford Airport Authority, Economic Dev. Commision, Agri
committee, Industrial Development Committee.

His supporters are the people who pushed Plan A and inc.
Lane Sweeting, Abbotsford heat owner, Dave Holmberg,
past DeJong campaign Manager, developer, Dianne Delves
and assorted others.

This is about a group of people, who are closely assoc. and are
used to getting what they want.

This time it backfired.

Mr. Evans is to be commended for standing
up and doing what is right, that is, letting the
electorate in Abbotsford know what really goes
on behind closed doors in Abbotsford South Riding
Assoc. and in the City of Abbotsford, inc. DeJong
supporters, which inc. Pizzuto, City Manager and
past Mayor George Peary.

It is time to hold these peole accountable for their
lack of transparency and accountability to the
citizens of Abbotsford and British Columbia.
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Warren Betanko
Don't know why anyone is wanting a Liberal Party nomination anyways. It's not like the Liberals are gonna elect any MLAs. Time for us to leave the Liberals like we left the Socreds and take over the BC Conservative Party.
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Sam Rai
Sounds like a clear case of sour grapes. I have a hard time believing this is the true account of what happened. This story has appeared in several media outlets now and this is the 6th different version of Moe Gills account each one more outrageous than the last. Besides, any promises de Jong may have made to Gill obviously were based on the assumption he won leadership which he did not.
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monty/that'sme
So, just who owns that Cactus Club? And is Coleman still going to the large temples in Surrey and elsewhere where he is told what to do? And what's happening with the cash payments given to politicians when they attend special events as described by Kim Bolan in her book.

Is Plecas of a pensionalbe age? Will this be double dipping such as Cummins is going? Say what?

This story reeks of BULLYING. So much for Crispy's pink shirt days which actually originated in Nova Scotia. Not here.
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judi sommer
At least Mr Coleman's constituents are getting a chance to see what a bully and dogey individual he is. rarely doen negative press about him ever get printed in the Local Langley papers. He's had 2 scandals this week-what else is buried?
Another angle her I think is de Jong and RC ran over and bullied Mr Gill because they want to defeat van Dongen who had the temerity to qit the Liberals in a very dramatic and public way during Question Period. I thought Coleman was going into cardiac arrest! He said his friend van Dongen had personal problems and the long knives have been out ever since. One only has to look at John's tenancity in the courts trying to get to the bottom of the BC Rail scandal-it's not only Ms Clak's whose fate lies in the balance.
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Gerry
He should run with Curly and Larry. They would be in......
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James Blatchford
Premier Pom-Pom probably did Moe a favour..Plecas will go down faster than a bag of Cheetos in Rich Coleman's desk drawer.
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DeceitinDrugs
Moe Gill was called to the restaurant at 9 a.m. to meet with
Bruce Burley, Regional director, on behalf of Christy Clark.
and MacDonald.

"The restaurant does not normally open at that time, but,
the management let him in to meet with Burley and Coleman."

Developer, Karen Matty is the owner of the Cactus Club and
donated to DeJong;s campaign in 2010 and she is associated
with developer, Dianne Delves, who sat at the premier's table
in 2008 and, also, donated to DeJong's campaign.

The question is" Does managment refer to Karen matty. Is she,
who arranged for the restaurant to be opened at 9 am for Burley
and Coleman?

If so, this is concerning, because both, these Liberals supporter,
also, serve on various city committees, including the Economic
Development Commision, Abbotsford Airport Authority and the
cities' Housing committee and thus, making important decisions
on behalf od the city, which are passed on to Abbotsford council

When you see the backroom dealing, deceit by leaders at the provincial level, and are assoc, with City of Abbotsford council & staff at the municipal level, one to really question the integrity of the people
involved in making decisions for the City of Abbotsford.





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