Meet Lib­eral can­di­date Sukh Dhali­wal for Sur­rey New­ton

Asian Journal - - Person in Focus - Ray Hud­son

Sukh Dhali­wal, a Pro­fes­sional En­gi­neer and Land Sur­veyor in BC, served as the Mem­ber of Par­lia­ment for New­ton-North Delta from 2006 to 2011, when he was nar­rowly de­feated by Jinny Sims of the NDP. But since leav­ing of­fice he has been busy in the rid­ing pre­par­ing for the next elec­tion on Oc­to­ber 19, 2015. When the writ is dropped, he will be con­test­ing the new rid­ing of Sur­rey New­ton, re­dis­tri­bu­tion hav­ing re­moved North Delta and added more Sur­rey real es­tate east to 144th Street. He spoke with Ray Hud­son of the Asian Jour­nal.

Asian Jour­nal: What did you learn in the last four years, that you will take into the cam­paign? Sukh Dhali­wal: Dur­ing the last four years I was not sit­ting still. I was trav­el­ing around the rid­ing talk­ing to peo­ple and pre­par­ing to run again. It was also like main­tain­ing a fam­ily re­la­tion­ship with my con­stituents, so I wanted to keep build­ing on that. Be­sides, this is my home, my chil­dren live here, and my el­derly par­ents live in the rid­ing. And the is­sues that af­fect ev­ery­one else also af­fect me. Most of the pop­u­la­tion here is mid­dle class, work­ing in the small busi­nesses in this rid­ing. When I go and talk to them, I find it’s get­ting harder and harder for fam­i­lies to sur­vive. We need poli­cies that will fo­cus on the av­er­age mid­dle class, whether it’s the se­niors who are re­tired, the peo­ple still work­ing, or the small busi­ness own­ers. Those are the three groups most hurt by the Con­ser­va­tive agenda.

Asian Jour­nal: New­ton has had an amaz­ing num­ber of shoot­ing in­ci­dents aris­ing from a low level drug war. At the higher level we have those is­sues of na­tional se­cu­rity as it im­pacts New­ton as well. What are the feel­ings of the peo­ple of this rid­ing? Sukh Dhali­wal: It’s im­por­tant, and I hear it ev­ery­where I go and talk with peo­ple. They’re con­cerned about their chil­dren. Last night we were sit­ting in the White Spot across from Earls Restau­rant when I heard the shots fired into their pa­tio. Fam­i­lies are not feel­ing safe when th­ese things are hap­pen­ing in our public restau­rants, and Mr. Harper, over the last ten years, promised twenty-five hun­dred new po­lice of­fi­cers in his 2005 plat­form. But so far, he has de­liv­ered noth­ing, even though he’s say­ing now that he’s go­ing to bring in 100 new of­fi­cers into Sur­rey. We have to deal with this right now, and this re­quires two things: we have to have re­sources to al­low our first re­spon­ders to deal with th­ese sit­u­a­tions, and we have to have ef­fec­tive leg­is­la­tion that the po­lice and the jus­tice sys­tem can work to­gether. We’ll have to spend more money ed­u­cat­ing and sup­port­ing our young peo­ple be­fore they get into this gang ac­tiv­ity. We need to keep them ac­tive in pos­i­tive ac­tiv­i­ties.

Asian Jour­nal: Many peo­ple are quite up­set about the sen­tence handed to the man who killed Julie Pas­call out­side the New­ton arena, that six years for some­one with his record is not ad­e­quate. Sukh Dhali­wal: It’s very un­for­tu­nate. My son was play­ing the same tour­na­ment at that time, only in the morn­ing, but our team was host­ing that tour­na­ment. I say we have to have our re­sources in the com­mu­nity. Mr. Harper has to­tally ig­nored that. All he cares about is putting peo­ple be­hind bars and the leg­is­la­tion isn’t very well thought out. He brings in an om­nibus bill so peo­ple can­not scru­ti­nize what it’s all about. The elected rep­re­sen­ta­tives, ir­re­spec­tive of their po­lit­i­cal stripe, should cri­tique that leg­is­la­tion and come up with laws that will be stronger and more ef­fec­tive. On the na­tional and in­ter­na­tional scene, with threats from ter­ror­ists, Bill C51 is a per­fect ex­am­ple of what I’m talk­ing about. From day one, Mr. Harper was say­ing ‘my way or the high­way’ de­spite an out­cry from the public who wanted to make sure their civil lib­er­ties are pro­tected at the same time. From day one Justin Trudeau has said that Canadian safety and se­cu­rity is the top pri­or­ity for Lib­er­als. So we will make sure that we have the leg­is­la­tion so the agen­cies can make ar­rests eas­ier, and lay charges or to deal with those sit­u­a­tions. We will have bet­ter no-fly lists so the wrong peo­ple are not fly­ing. We need bet­ter co­or­di­na­tion be­tween the agen­cies. Ex­ist­ing laws are there but we still have to re­fine them to make sure that we give enough ap­pro­pri­ate power to the po­lice or CSIS to deal with the is­sues, while en­sur­ing that peo­ple have the right to protest. Fi­nally, there should be an over­sight agency that is elected by the peo­ple. Among Bri­tain, New Zealand, Australia, the US and Canada, we are the only coun­try that doesn’t have over­sight of its se­cu­rity agen­cies. This is not ac­cept­able. I say, re­sources, leg­is­la­tion and rights, in bal­ance.

Asian Jour­nal: Last elec­tion we had a very strong surge by the NDP who took a lot of seats in Que­bec and out here as well. Do you think that it will carry through to this elec­tion? Sukh Dhali­wal: Out­side of Que­bec I think the NDP gained only two or three seats. In Sur­rey it was by a very small mar­gin. Now I’m on the doorsteps and talk­ing to peo­ple, and they’re fed up with Mr. Harper and the Con­ser­va­tives and they want a change. They’re look­ing at Mr. Mul­cair and the poli­cies that the NDP have, as well as Justin Trudeau and the Lib­eral poli­cies. New­ton is a very di­verse rid­ing. So­cially and eco­nom­i­cally, it’s work­ing class and so­cially mixed. When I’m on the doorsteps, peo­ple are ask­ing ques­tions about Justin Trudeau and his poli­cies be­cause the Con­ser­va­tives and the NDP are too far apart philo­soph­i­cally. Trudeau’s poli­cies are bal­anced and in the mid­dle.

Asian Jour­nal: What are your views on the grow­ing se­nior pop­u­la­tion and it’s im­pact on the econ­omy? Sukh Dhali­wal: Peo­ple have worked through­out their lives and have paid their dues, and they should be able to re­tire with dig­nity. Mr. Harper has taken $30,000 from those aged 65 to 67, who are the most vul­ner­a­ble in the

the so­ci­ety. Mr. Trudeau has said that we will move the re­tire­ment age back to 65. If I com­pare with other na­tions, ei­ther de­vel­op­ing or de­vel­oped, there is not a sin­gle coun­try that has its re­tire­ment age at 67. Asian Jour­nal: What is your party plan­ning with re­spect to tax­a­tion? Sukh Dhali­wal: We will bring in a pro­gram called the Fair­ness Plan. We are go­ing to help the mid­dle class by re­duc­ing taxes from 22% to 20.5% for those with in­come of $45,000 to $95,000. This will amount to two to three bil­lion dol­lars in tax breaks for av­er­age mid­dle class fam­i­lies. On top of that, we will give a child al­lowance of $2,500 to many of those fam­i­lies. Fi­nally, we will take away in­come split­ting be­cause it only helps 15% of the pop­u­la­tion who are mak­ing much more money. That is not what we want. Asian Jour­nal: Thank you.

Photo: Ray Hud­son

Sukh Dhali­wal, Lib­eral Can­di­date for Sur­rey New­ton.

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