In the days leading up to the Oct. 21 federal election, we are profiling each of Surrey’s five ridings. Watch our Federal Election section in the next week or so for the remaining four.
With Canada’s last federal election, in October 2015, came some big changes for Surrey’s ridings.
Surrey Centre’s predecessor, Surrey North, was largely dominated in recent decades by conservative candidates in various forms such as the Reform Party and Canadian Alliance, with the occasional NDP breakthrough.
Surrey Centre, which embraces a large part of the city’s north end, includes Royal Heights, Bridgeview, Whalley and parts of Guildford.
In the upcoming Oct. 21 federal election, eight candidates are running in this riding.
It is currently held by Liberal MP incumbent Randeep Sarai, who is seeking re-election. Other candidates are Tina Bains (Conservative), Sarjit Saran (NDP), John Werring (Green), Jaswinder Dilawari (People’s Party of Canada), Kevin Pielak (Christian Heritage Party), George Gidora (Communist), and Jeffrey Breti (Independent).
The Now-Leader asked all candidates to answer the following question: Why do you need to be elected or re-elected?
Listed in alphabetical order, here’s what the candidates said verbatim:
Tina Bains (Conservative): “My name is Tina Bains, Conservative candidate for Surrey Centre.
I am running for office as I truly care about making things better. I want to be part of the solution to the problems at the federal level of government. I care about the welfare of those in my riding and am someone who will be fighting for positive change. My motivation to run for office is to serve and advocate for my community. I believe I have the skills and experience to do that.
I know my community best on the issues that matter and struggles that young families are facing. Having worked in government for over 20 years plus. The experience is one-of-a-kind where I know I can really shape our future in a positive way. Running for office is a demanding experience. It takes a lot of time and resources.
The incumbent MP and I have dramatically different views of what we all need to do to help advance the interests of people in our riding (and in our country). Thus, I am running as a Conservative against this incumbent. While I have my own political biases, as we all do, I will say that I am always impressed with someone who goes out of his or her way to run for office. This said, I say that we should have the highest respect for those who stand up and run for office. I encourage you to vote on Election Day as exercising your right to vote is essential if you are interested in helping make Surrey Centre a better place.”
Jeffrey Breti (Independent): Reply not received.
Jaswinder Dilawari (People’s Party of Canada): Reply not received.
Kevin Pielak (Christian Heritage Party): “I am married and have 3 school aged children and have lived in Surrey for more than 30 years. I am a special education teacher. The reason that you should elect me in Surrey Centre is because the moral fabric of Canada is being eroded. The Judeo-Christian heritage, the foundation that built this country is being weakened.
People from around the world want to live in Canada; because, its Christian values provide a culture that is peaceful and prosperous. The Christian Heritage party policies of protecting life, family and freedom are based on truth and common sense. I am the only openly Pro-life candidate that is backed by a party that has policies protecting life from conception to its natural end.
I will make laws to stop the barbaric killing of babies in the womb from conception to nine months in Canada. I will also, stop euthanasia (injecting people with poison or removing food and water) the killing of the elderly and sick.
I am the only candidate that will restore the legal definition of marriage as between one man and one woman. Family is the foundation of society and must be promoted, protected and supported. Freedom is essential in a democracy like Canada. All Canadians have the right to express their point of view or inform people about the facts on any issue that they want to. Canadians need to be free to speak about abortion, gender and radical Islam. The Christian Heritage party will defend and promote freedom of speech. If you believe that traditional family, human life and your freedom to speak are essential vote for Kevin Pielak.”
George Gidora (Communist): Could not be reached.
Randeep Sarai (Liberal, incumbent): “This October, I’m seeking re-election to continue serving as your Member of Parliament for Surrey Centre because I believe in the power of effective representation. We have lifted 900,000 Canadians out of poverty, unemployment rate dropped to historic lows, and Canadians have helped create one million new jobs.
Over the past four years, we have assisted 14,000 families in Surrey Centre through the new Canada Child Benefit which provides $103 million annually to make life easier for parents. However, we know seniors need help too, so we strengthened the Canadian Pension Plan and enhanced the Guaranteed Income Supplement.
Since 2015, we prioritized public safety by creating a $7.5 million Surrey Anti-Gang Family Empowerment program to help end gang violence in our community. A re-elected Liberal government will ban assault weapons and give our city the power to ban handguns.
We put our youth first by providing $90 million to build a new SFU Surrey Engineering building, that opened this fall and is helping train the leaders of tomorrow.
The facts are that we provided $3.2 million into upgrading the Surrey Central Skytrain station but we know there is more to do. That is why we committed $1.6 billion to the Surrey Rapid Transit Line to support the City of Surrey.
We have also fulfilled our promise to veterans by building the only new Veterans Affairs Canada office in the country, serving 7,500 veterans.
My number one priority is to make sure that Surrey gets its fair share. I have listened, represented and delivered for residents of Surrey Centre, and I hope to have the privilege to continue being their voice in Ottawa.”
Sarjit Saran (NDP): “Over the last 20 years, I’ve lived in every district in Surrey. I know the people, I know the businesses, I know the issues. I also know what it’s like to be brushed off by your Member of Parliament when you raise a concern. The people of Surrey deserve a representative who will hear them out and fight on their behalf.
Every single day, I talk with individuals and families about the increasing pressure of making ends meet. I talk to young people who have given up on being able to buy a home. I’ve spoken to couples, who despite having good paying jobs, aren’t able to save and get ahead because their rent continues to increase. I’ve spoken to pharmacists who’ve told me about the medicine sitting on their shelves because people can’t afford their prescriptions.
People are being left behind and politician after politician have put the interests of a few of the wealthiest over the interests of working people.
It doesn’t have to be this way. We can work together to build a community that puts people first. Working collaboratively to address housing, the opioid crisis and affordability. Building a Surrey where our elders on fixed incomes can get the medication they need and where our next generation can afford to put down roots and start a family.
As a Member of Parliament, you’re the voice for your community. You deserve a voice and I’m prepared to listen. This is why I’m running. I’m in it for you and I’m in it for Surrey. My name is Sarjit Saran and on October 21, I humbly ask for your support.”
John Werring (Green): “I want to be elected because I feel that the future of all of our children and grandchildren will ultimately rest with the decisions that will be made by this next government.
I am not in this race for myself. I am doing this for the sake of our kids and humanity itself.
I am a father of four. I recently became a grand-father. My biggest fear is that our youth face a world of economic and environmental chaos if something is not done soon to turn the tide on the global climate crisis (a threat we cannot ignore). On that issue, today’s political leadership is failing us all.
Things need to change NOW.
There are many other issues that are important to the citizens of this riding that also require immediate attention, such as: affordable housing; affordable childcare; better healthcare; improved transit; dealing with the growing opioid crisis; finding ways for new Canadians to work in the fields for which they are trained; and, we have to find a way for youth to get a sound education without incurring massive debt.
These are all things we have been talking about, and demanding action on for years.
We can just continue to muddle our way into the future, accept the status quo and hope things will change or, we can elect people who will actually fight for real action NOW on the issues that we all care about.
I believe I am that person and that the Green Party of Canada is the only political party with a realistic plan, and the intent. to try to deal with all of these issues.”