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Surrey MP Sarai’s appointment to veteran affairs, national defence ‘very personal’

Surrey MP’s father fought in World War II and the veterans affairs centre was the first thing Sarai lobbied for, in Surrey
Surrey Centre MP Randeep Sarai speaks at the ribbon cutting ceremony in Whalley. (File photo by Anna Burns)

Surrey Centre Liberal MP Randeep Sarai has been appointed parliamentary secretary to the minister of veterans affairs and associate minister of national defence, honours particularly dear to him.

It’s “very personal to me,” he told the Now-Leader, considering his father fought in World War II and the veterans affairs centre was the first thing Sarai lobbied for, in Surrey.

Veterans Village is the reason I went to lobby for the veterans affairs, they had met me literally days after I got elected. It was their vision to create this beautiful Veterans Village.”

His father fought in the Middle East for the British Indian Army, which after 1947 became the Indian Army and then he moved to Canada in 1959. Sarai’s uncle was a prisoner of war, captured by the Germans. “So the two brothers served in World War II and luckily both made it back alive.”

Sarai noted that sometimes people forget that RCMP veterans are also considered veterans under this “and having E Division headquarters in Surrey, that’s even more important because the veteran’s office serves not only military veterans but also RCMP veterans and Surrey was the only new veteran office opened in decades.”

In other news, he laments that the “average person” who wants to visit India can’t get visas now from India on account of that country’s diplomatic troubles with Canada after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told Parliament there is “credible” intelligence linking Indian government agents to the June 18 fatal shooting of Surrey Sikh temple president Hardeep Singh Nijjar, 45.

“I’ve urged our country not to do reciprocal action against any Indians trying to seek visa access because I don’t think the average citizen should be punished for the action of the government of another country or the actions of a few, but it’s going to be very difficult, you know in Surrey the diaspora is quite big,” Sarai said.

“In the winter particularly they like going back to India and attend weddings, visit their family and loved ones and good friends. It’s going to be very challenging, especially for the funerals and weddings and those type of events. So I’m hoping India reconsiders this position and opens visa centres again.”

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About the Author: Tom Zytaruk

I write unvarnished opinion columns and unbiased news reports for the Surrey Now-Leader.
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