Photos: Vancouver Vaisakhi brings together politicians, community, and the cops

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      This year's Vaisakhi celebration was rainier than the norm. And that, combined with the exodus of Indian businesses to Surrey, resulted in a smaller crowds than in past years along Marine Drive and up Main Street.

      But things were hopping by the time the various northbound floats on Main Street passed East 53rd Avenue.

      The crowds were also heavy along Fraser Street just south of East 49th Avenue.

      As usual, there were tons of politicians in the morning at the Ross Street Temple, which is operated by the Khalsa Diwan Society. It's the organization that oversees the parade.

      You can see a group shot of many of the New Democrats in this tweet from MLA Janet Routledge.

      Justin Trudeau was also on the scene, as captured in the video below by Straight contributor Gurpreet Singh.

      Trudeau's visit came after Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale announced that there won't be a reference to "Sikh extremism" in future reports on terrorism—a topic that Singh has written about in the past.

      I ran into several politicians on the plaza outside the temple, incuding Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer. 

      He said that he is trying to create a "big-tent party...that every Canadian can see themselves reflected in."

      Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer.
      Charlie Smith

      I asked Scheer why he appointed a former Rebel Media director, Hamish Marshall, as his campaign manager.

      "There have been a lot of people that had some associations with that outlet in the past that have made a decision not to work with them because of the direction that they took," Scheer replied. "You know, there are many people—good people—who were not involved in any of that kind of editorial direction. And they continue to be good people who do good work."

      Below, you can see photos of other politicians at the event.

      NDP MLA Anne Kang.
      Charlie Smith
      Liberal MP Sukh Dhaliwal is a regular at the Vancouver Vaisakhi celebration.
      Charlie Smith
      Attorney General David Eby brought his son Ezra to the gurdwara.
      Charlie Smith
      B.C. Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson (right) was accompanied by attorney general critic Michael Lee.
      Charlie Smith
      NDP MLAs George Chow, Melanie Mark, Jinny Sims, and Jagrup Brar.
      Charlie Smith

      Surprisingly, I saw no sign of NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh.

      Gurpreet Singh told me that he expected to see the NDP leader at the much larger Surrey Vaisakhi parade, which takes place next weekend.

      One thing that stood out, however, was the heavy police presence.

      Officers were more heavily armed than at previous year's events—and not shy about being photographed that way.

      Heavily armed police could be spotted near the gurdwara.
      Charlie Smith

      I also spotted armed security people walking around on the roof of the gurdwara.

      Security personnel were on the roof of the Ross Street Gurdwara.
      Charlie Smith

      Whether it was due to the Christchurch massacre or the presence of the prime minister is anyone's guess.

      There were lots of police vehicles of all types on Marine Drive.
      Charlie Smith

      Among the highlights were the colourful floats.

      Charlie Smith
      Charlie Smith

      Naturally, the LGBT group Sher Vancouver was back at the parade.

      It made news a couple of years ago when it became the first LGBT organization to participate in a B.C. Vaisakhi parade. At the time,  Sher Vancouver founder Alex Sangha called his group's partnership with the Khalsa Diwan Society a "huge, huge step in the community".

      Members of Sher Vancouver, including founder Alex Sangha (second from right).
      Charlie Smith

      There were also lots of VPD cadets (see below) marching at the Vancouver Vaisakhi parade.

      It gave them a firsthand look at how the department conducts security for major community events.

      This year, there was a large turnout of VPD cadets at the parade.
      Charlie Smith