Thursday, January 17, 2013

Lets celebrate political diversity in the Fraser Valley


Political diversity is a good thing

It was recently brought to my attention that a provincial political party does not want any more South Asian candidates representing them in the May election.
I don't know how true this is, but it's nevertheless shocking to say the least. This brings us to a bigger question here at home: Is it time the voters of the Fraser Valley considered electing a South Asian to Victoria or Ottawa?
It would be historical to say the least, and it would bring diverse voices from various communities that are rapidly growing in the area.
Unfortunately, the Fraser Valley region has always struggled to get elected ethnic representation to public office.
One example of this would be Abbotsford Coun. Moe Gill, who ran unsuccessfully for a civic seat for decades, finally getting elected in the mid 1990s.
Until a city like Abbotsford, one of most diverse communities in Canada, elects someone from the South Asian community (the largest visible minority group in the area) to a senior level of government, the cultural divide will continue to exist in some shape or form.
Holding key leadership positions certainly changes the perception of how people view certain communities.
It would be historical to see one of the three South Asians vying for a political seat this year here in the central Fraser Valley actually capture a nod in the upcoming provincial election. Can Lakhvinder Jhaj, Sukhi Dhami or Preet Rai accomplish this enormous task?
Anything is possible when it comes to B.C. politics, and I believe they realize the task before them. 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 and this must also change.
I am not suggesting we strictly vote on someone's ethnicity, but if there is an opportunity to bring new voices and ethnic backgrounds into the political spectrum, the entire community benefits.
For this become a reality, there has to be stronger unity within the South Asian community.
Rai said: "I am excited about my chances in the upcoming elections and will have to work very hard. I am a true believer in diversity and want to represent the entire community, and I want to listen to all the voices in the community.
"If you find me in campaigning on the streets or in the community door knocking, feel free to speak with me about any concerns".
The closest the Valley has come to getting a South Asian candidate elected to Victoria was in 1956 when former Mission mayor Naranjan Grewall almost defeated former Socred labour minister Lyle Wicks for the Dewdney seat.
Some even say he won that election and lost it due to vote tampering. Six years earlier, he was first elected to Mission council, making him the first visible minority and Indo-Canadian elected to public office in this country.
He was later nominated as a provincial candidate for the Cooperative Commonwealth Federation, also making him the first visible minority to run as a candidate in Canada.
All told, it's a wonderful part of Canadian history we can all be proud of.
 Ken Herar is a freelance columnist with the Abbotsford-Mission Times. Contact him:

Friday, January 11, 2013

Cycling4Diversity presents Abbotsford-Matsqui Rotary Club President Tyler Coburn with C4D t-shirt

Jan 10 – Cycling for Diversity

Ken Herar will speak to the club about Cycling for Diversity, a four day cycling expedition which celebrates the United Nations World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development, and shines the spotlight on the area’s diverse ethnic populations and the need for inclusive communities.
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Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Cycling4Diversity presents University of the Fraser Valley President Mark Evered with C4D t-shirt.

Cycling4Diversity presents University of the Fraser Valley President Mark Evered with C4D t-shirt at his office. (Left to Right) Aaron Levy, Nick Ubels, Sukhi Dhami, Rick Lucy, Preet Rai, Mark Evered and Ken Herar. Missing: Sarina Di Martino Derksen, Kulwinder Singh Dhillon, Bill MacGregor and Steve Thind, Salim Jiwa, Harpreet Singh and Bob Soltis, Nick Naeem Noorani, Valerie Tosoff and Patrick Sir-William. Welcome to the team Mark.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Pitt Meadows Mayor Deb Walters with a Cycling4Diversity t-shirt along with C4D members: Nick Noorani, Kulwinder Dhillion and Ken Herar

District of Mission 2013 Annual Community Awards

The next Community Service Awards Ceremony will take place on April 27, 2013 at the District of Mission Leisure Centre.

The District of Mission Mayor and Council invite you to submit nominations for individuals, groups, or organizations who have demonstrated exemplary volunteerism in the following areas:
Arts & Culture: For outstanding volunteerism in the field of arts and culture.
Citizen of the Year:  Recognizes the contributions of one individual for their overall volunteerism and commitment to improving the quality of life for the citizens of Mission.
Community Service:  For demonstrating exemplary leadership in community volunteerism.
Community Service (under age 25):  For demonstrating exemplary leadership in community volunteerism.
Crime Prevention & Community Safety:  For an individual, group, or organization who has demonstrated exemplary volunteerism in the area of crime prevention and public safety.
Lifetime Achievement:  For an individual, group, or organization that has a notable history of volunteerism which has resulted in the overall betterment of Mission.
Special Accomplishment:  Bestowed to an individual, group, or organization for demonstrating significant volunteer leadership skills or who has accomplished a noteworthy contribution in any field or endeavor.
Sports Volunteer of the Year:  For an individual who has demonstrated exemplary volunteerism in the field of sports.
Against the Odds Achievement:  For an individual who achieves excellence despite the special challenges faced by people with disabilities.
All nominations must include the contact information of the person submitting the nomination and the person, group, or organization being nominated.  A profile and background information about the person, group, or organization you are nominating, as well as the rationale for your nomination must also be provided.  2013 Community Service Award Nomination Form