SURREY — One of the parties that intends to challenge Surrey First in the upcoming civic election has announced its first two candidates.
The People First Surrey party announced Kuldip Pelia and Thampy Rajan are going to run under its banner as council candidates.
According to a release, Pelia is a longtime Surrey resident and professor who has taught accounting and finance in Toronto and Vancouver colleges for the past decade, including George Brown College and Surrey Career College.
Pelia is described as an activist who “got to know the struggles of common man as he built up his career in Canada as he worked in security and retail positions in his earlier years.”
“The last four years, he researched on LRT Vs Skytrain and was bringing out the facts,” a People First Surrey release notes. “A staunch opponent of LRT, he wrote to politicians of all levels about issues with LRT and the need for SkyTrain in these years. Having realized being part of politics is the only way to do something about it, he joined People First Surrey.”
Rajan is described as a “lifelong educator, avid community volunteer, parish elder (and) publisher.
“His experience as an educator across four countries over the decades gives him a clear perspective on how to support future generations. He was the publisher of a business news magazine in Surrey (called Biz News from 2003 to 2004),” a release notes, adding his resume also includes work as an education officer in Ethiopia as far back as the 1970s, and more recently, he taught sales and marketing at Vancouver Career College.
“He also served in many community associations as director and helped hundreds of new families settle their lives in Canada. Having his grown up kids moved away and settled, he want to take his community service to next level by serving in the city council,” a release states.
Rajan is currently an agency manager for an AVIS rent-a-car franchise and lives in Fleetwood with his wife.
People First Surrey says it will be announcing more candidates in the coming weeks. Rajesh Jayaprakash, with the People First Surrey party, says the team promises “positive, radical” changes to the city and to city hall, if elected.
“We want to inform the public about open houses and panel discussions we are organizing, in partnership with independent organizations,” he told the Now-Leader in an email.
“We had one event last Saturday about housing affordability and homeless in Surrey, in Fleetwood library. It mostly focused on comparison of proposals by municipal teams running for elections in October and suggestions by non-political groups to refine such platforms.”
Other slates that aim to challenge Surrey First in the election, including Proudly Surrey and Surrey Community Alliance, participated in last weekend’s event, as did other non-partisan groups, he added.
The weekend event was the third in a series after similar panel discussions on LRT and crime, noted Jayaprakash.
“These open houses and panel discussions is the way People First team is doing their campaigns,” Jayaprakash wrote. “We believe this is a better way than placing campaign signs all over the city causing environmental damage and waste of money. Such expenses create dependency for political organizations on large money donors.”
The next event is about “Environment and Greenspaces in Surrey” and is set to run from 2 to 4 p.m. at Semiahmoo Library (1815 152nd St.) on Aug. 26.
Surrey voters head to the polls on Oct. 20.