Are South Asians In The Lime Light Or Sidelines?
I can’t help but ponder when it comes to politics…are South Asians just standing pretty on the sidelines? With respect to the Moe Gill and BC Liberal fiasco the bottom line here is Gill should have been an opportunity to a fair nomination process -something he has been working at for some time. Don’t get me wrong Darryl Plecas and Gill would be both outstanding candidates. I am looking at this controversy from a totally different perspective and that is it would have been historical to seen a candidate from the South Asian community who would have had a reasonable chance of getting elected and representing us in Victoria. Unfortunately, the Fraser Valley region has always struggled to get ethnic minorities elected to public office whether it be to Victoria or Ottawa. Until a city like Abbotsford which is one of most diverse communities in Canada elects someone from the South Asian community being the largest visible minority group in the area the cultural divide will continue to exist in many forms. A hurdle that has yet to be conquered. Here was a perfect calling and it was unfortunately taken away undemocratically. In a nutshell, too many South Asian candidates have ran provincially and federally in the past, but were never in a position to win in the first place. This has to change and running to lose shouldn’t be an option if we are going to break cultural barriers. I am not suggesting we strictly vote on someone’s race, but if there is an opportunity to bring new voices and ethnic backgrounds into the political discussion our community becomes a better place because of it. For this to all become a reality there has to be also stronger unity within the South Asian community as a whole.
This leads us the big question: Are South Asians taken seriously in the political game or they just people who watch on the sidelines and vote every four years? Well, they have certainly watched for a long time here in the Valley and it’s time for this to change.
Ken Herar is a Champion of Diversity and also the Founder of Cycling4Diversity. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at his blog at http://www.kenherar.blogspot.com