Four candidates seek B.C. NDP nomination in Surrey-Tynehead

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      B.C. New Democrats in Surrey-Tynehead will choose their new candidate almost four months after Raj Hundal stepped down as the party’s standard bearer in the electoral district.

      The February 9 nomination will be contested by Narima Dela Cruz, Jas Cheema, Avtar Bains, and Dhama Sahota.

      Because three of these hopefuls are of South Asian descent and could split the vote of their ethnic group, Rattan Mall, editor of the Asian Journal newspaper, has suggested that Dela Cruz, a Filipino-Canadian, may win.

      Dela Cruz told the Straight by phone that she is not taking anything for granted.

      Surrey-Tynehead is held by B.C. Liberal MLA Dave Hayer, who is not seeking reelection.

      The Asian Journal has previously reported that the B.C. Liberals have been trying to recruit Langley RCMP inspector Amrik Virk as their candidate.

      Last summer, the Surrey Leader reported that former Surrey mayoral candidate Vikram Bajwa was interested in becoming the B.C. Liberal nominee in Surrey-Tynehead.


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      Jan 31, 2013 at 10:09am

      This is going to be a race to watch and one that truly represents what should happen in securing a nomination. My view is that it will narrow down to two specific candidates, Avtar Bains a life long local resident and business owner with deep roots locally and a relatively newcomer in Narima Dela Cruz, a realtor. Surrey-Tynehead in the last election was won by the Liberals with a slight 1800 vote surplus which in real political terms is an easily erased lead.

      Ideally, the nod should go to Bains over Dela Cruz but everything will depend on the ground game by both candidates in the lead up to the nomination meeting.

      James Alexander

      Jan 31, 2013 at 3:36pm

      In contrast to being a "newcomer", candidate Narima Dela Cruz has been a resident of Surrey-Tynehead since 2005, has been an active parent volunteer in Surrey-Tynehead schools, and is in fact, the only one among the candidates who is an eligible member-voter of the Surrey-Tynehead NDP Constituency. A quick Google search would reveal a long list of involvement and undertaking she has done in all her years in Surrey as a volunteer and community leader. Her works and accomplishments both as a Realtor and Community Leader have also been respectfully recognized by several mainstream reputable organizations such as Surrey Board of Trade, Surrey-North Delta Leader and Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver.

      Stan Mortensen

      Jan 31, 2013 at 4:53pm

      That's nice, but Avtar Bains has been a resident of the area for close on to 50 years, pretty much his whole life, having grown up on Barnston Island. I suspect his roots within the LOCAL Community irrespective of Narima's more recent arrival to be much deeper.
      Realistically, each candidate will have to bring in a good ground game and that is good for the process. The bigger issue will be for the Constituency Executive to sit on their hands and allow the process to unfold as it properly should with the potential candidates facing off against each other dealing with the issues, both local and provincial.
      Of course you do know that the Bains family, as a result of a tragedy within their family is involved with the BC Children's Hospital and Variety Club and host annual fundraisers for both at their restaurant, but let's not play the tit for tat game.
      Each of the candidates bring something to the table as far a community involvement is concerned.
      Fortunately, I live in the Fleetwood riding so I really have no vested interest other than a longtime personal friendship with Mr. Bains and his family.
      At the end of the day, for the NDP, it is good that you have business people facing off against each other it shows a positive sign of change and moderation.

      John Lara

      Feb 1, 2013 at 4:24pm

      I do live in the area and I prefer to look at these candidates based on their qualifications. I don't agree that just because they've lived in a certain area they're a better candidate and/or that they have deeper roots. For someone with such "deep roots" Bains has litle to no profile within Surrey or the S.Asian community as per my S.Asian friends/collegues. Some people accomplish more in a short period of time through their dedicated work than others in their lifetime. Its not just good enough for one of these candidates to win a nomination they need to also be able to win an election so they need to appeal/have connections in the wider community not just within their own families/friends. That's where I think this nomination is flawed; its about who's friends and relatives come to vote vs who is the right candidate.
      In my opinion we need to look at the merits of each candidate, the positions they hold/have held, the concrete work they've acoomplished both volunteer and paid not just whats on paper, education and profile within the community. Raising money to promote your own business is one thing but I'd prefer someone who's out there giving back because they have a community focus; they're doing it for the sake of the community through their own earnings and volunteer hours. I agree that they've all done "some" volunteer work but I prefer to look at who's done this consistently over time... that's committment. Also who's been able to work with others to raise issues our community needs to deal with? This is the kind of person who will work on my behalf to raise issues that are important to me.
      In reviewing all of this the choice for me is clear.. there's only one candidate who fits the bill for me. Looking forward to seeing the results next week!!


      Feb 2, 2013 at 12:24am

      "That's where I think this nomination is flawed; its about who's friends and relatives come to vote vs who is the right candidate"
      Hopefully, you are wrong about the flawed part. However, every nomination challenge is about how many people you can turn out to vote for you regardless of whether they are friends, family, community or business associates. It is also about who is able to create an effective team in advance of an election and about a coming together of the various camps for the common purpose once the nomination process is concluded.
      It is clear that John and Alexander are supporters of Ms. Dela Cruz and that is terrific, it means they are engaged, however, from the gist of their comments and the lack of a thorough reading of my comments they appear to me to be of a mind that if their choice is not nominated they may sit on their hands or work for another candidate through the election process and that would be the wrong thing to do.
      John, you need to be careful on one thing though just because someone is able to do something through their business to fundraise for worthy charities is not something to thumb your nose at. Is it really any different than a realtor who gets involved with a number of organizations specifically to raise their profile for their business. There is nothing wrong with either scenario and certainly the charitable organizations are receiving a good benefit in return.
      As I have repeatedly indicated the candidate who has the best ground game (and is able to put together the best team) should win.
      It was unfortunate that Raj Hundal stepped aside, I had the pleasure of meeting him at the Surrey Pride Festival and was impressed with him. I do not recall seeing Narima there perhaps you could confirm that back but I suspect that I would certainly remember seeing her as likely we would have been discussing aid shipments to the Philippines which I am involved with through my business.

      James Alexander

      Feb 2, 2013 at 9:55am

      Stan, wrong tree to bark to. I am a resident of Surrey Tynehead and just putting factual information I got from Google search. And John Lara to my opinion is neither a supporter of Mrs. Dela Cruz. My bet is that he is supporting another highly credible candidate.

      And I thought I read you said here "Let's not play the tit for tat game". You are not certainly not practicing that by comparing the particular businesses of the candidates and even dropping the name of former NDP candidate Raj Hundal. Another bet of mine says further Google search would show that all other candidates were on same events your candidate was - or maybe you should that! Mrs Dela Cruz, I read, was a great supporter of Filipino Pride Vancouver so I would suspect she was at the event you mentioned. Positive campaigning - that's what BC NDP says so - let's stick to that.

      John Lara

      Feb 4, 2013 at 9:35am

      James you've just contradicted yourself again :) Raj had only been in the riding 6 months. Some would even say he only moved here to run as his family was all well settled in Vancouver. His father even has a ytube video endorsing Van candidate as a resident of the Van riding during that time.How much did he know about the riding? Agree he was good candidate just don't agree that we need to worry about how long someones 'lived' in area... its whether they've been "active" in the community.
      Many run businesses and/or work for their families/themselves only few who genuinely work for the betterment of the community. That was one of the questions I asked the candidates "what have you done to advocate for or improve services in the Province or city?" there was only one candidate that could concretely answer how they'd changed/improved services in several areas. Fundraising is only one aspect of need to be a know what issues need addressing and be able to move forward whilst engaging community and others. "Employing students is not in my opinion "giving back"; businesses need employees and investing in your employees is just good business sense. I didn't refer to who I was supporting because I don't think this is the forum to argue over who's the better candidate, voters will decide that. My point was just to illustrate what criteria "I've" used to evaluate who I'd be voting for. Need to stick with the "positive campaigning" like the candidates thus far. That is what I've appreciated about all of them... they've talked about their own accomplishments vs downplaying the other candidates... great example of how campaigning should be done... :) :)

      Anthony Hitch

      Feb 4, 2013 at 2:54pm

      I have lived in the riding all my life and while Avtar doesn't get his name in the paper as often as others he has definitely done a lot more work for this community.
      If anything he is one of the people who likes to make sure the work gets done without having his name plastered on the front cover. My wife and I were surprised when he said he would run but he has a lot he wants to accomplish and knows how about to do just that.
      It is very true that candidates need to be grounded and also credible. I frankly do not know the other candidates and can't say I have seen their work. That is of course my bias, but I have been here a long time.
      I know I want a candidate who doesn't tie themselves down to one community. Somebody mentioned how he isn't tied to one community or the other.
      Well that is great but he gets a lot done for the whole community. From what I know him and his family are actually very well known on Barston Island and in the South Asian community. Maybe check with your friends.
      Anyways, obviously you know I want to see Avtar there but in the end of the day I hope the right person gets the seat. Not for some resume padders they have or for the background they come from.

      James Alexander

      Feb 4, 2013 at 3:37pm

      John, I think you put a wrong name on your last comment. I don't see your comment as addressing mine.

      Cheers to positive campaigning!