We asked candidates to provide a 300 word (or less) response to the following question: What are the hallmarks of an excellent public servant and how do you epitomize that description? Here are their answers, in alphabetical order. Please note we have not edited or corrected any of the candidates’ responses.
Surrey Centre embraces a large part of the city’s north end, including Royal Heights, Bridgeview, Whalley and parts of Guildford. This replaces Surrey North, currently held by NDP MP Jasbir Sandhu. It shares boundaries with the Delta riding at 120th Street and 96th Avenue down to the Fraser River, with Surrey Newton to the south, along 88th Avenue east to 148th, where its eastern border shared with Fleetwood-Port Kells jogs north to 100th Avenue, then east to 152nd Street up to Highway 1, and along the highway to the northerly limit of the city. In Surrey Centre, Conservative candidate and businessman Sucha Thind will attempt to unseat incumbent NDP MP Jasbir Sandhu, as will Liberal Randeep Sarai. Also seeking the seat is the Green Party’s Jeremiah Veneault, the Communist Party’s Iqbal Kahlon and the Christian Heritage Party’s Kevin Pielak.
Iqbal Kahlon, Communist Party
For me, “an excellent public servant” serves the working people and the poor of our community. Canada has many politicians who defend big business and the “one percent” elite. Such politicians work hard for so-called “free trade” deals which increase the profits of the corporations, and they are eloquent about the need for “austerity in these difficult times.” They are the first to speak about the sacrifices of our courageous troops, before cutting the rights and benefits of veterans.
A real servant of the working people opposes multilateral investment negotiated behind closed doors by the corporations and the political elite, at the expense of the 99% who do all the real work. Such a politician would speak out against Canadian involvement in US/NATO wars of occupation and destruction, as in Yugoslavia, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, and Syria. A true public servant would defend the rights of the Palestinian people against Israel’s apartheid policies, and condemn the fascist-backed right-wing regime in Ukraine.
An excellent public servant for our city would call to nationalize Canada’s energy resources, to build free public transit and one million new low-income housing units, and to expand social programs, Medicare, and public education. Genuine public service means rejecting racist campaigns against immigrants, refugees, and minority groups. It means defending civil rights and democratic freedoms, and demanding to scrap police state legislation Bill C-51.
I have spent my life as a consistent defender of world peace, human rights, social equality and economic justice. I am proud of my record as an active member of the trade union movement. If elected as your Member of Parliament, I will protect the working class and poor people of Surrey from the agenda of the corporations and right-wing governments. To me, this is the meaning of an excellent public servant.
Kevin Pielak, Christian Heritage Party
A public servants duty is to serve and protect the people he is responsible for; to the best of his ability.
A politician needs to be an upstanding citizen guided by universal truths. A moral and ethical man, charitable, forgiving and kind. You can judge this by observing how he lives. How he is with his family and children.
I am human so I make mistakes and will not perfectly Meet these standards. I will do my best to strive for and meet the needs of my constituents.
I believe in God and go to church so all my life I have been taught universal truths and how to be a moral and ethical person.
Also, I have a desire to help people in need, especially those in most need. I have tried and have been successful at times in protecting the innocent and helpless unborn children and I teach children with special needs.
Jasbir Sandhu, NDP
A public servant has a duty to be transparent and accountable, as well as accessible and committed to serving the needs of the community. I believe that I displayed all of these characteristics during my first term as a Member of Parliament and will continue to do so if I am re-elected.
As a public servant, entrusted with a budget paid for by public tax dollars, it was my priority to spend responsibly and ensure transparency. Reports of my expenses for every fiscal year as a Member of Parliament were posted on my parliamentary website for my constituents to view and I am committed to continuing to make my expenses easily available during my next term as well.
When it comes to accessibility, I have always been readily available to my constituents. Speaking with my constituents about the issues that are important to them always been a priority and, whether by phone or in person, I have made it a point to be accessible to them. Many residents of Surrey Centre will tell you that they have my cell phone number and are able to reach me almost instantaneously. I take pride in ensuring that the people who I represent are able to reach me and I believe that my accessibility over the last four years exemplifies my commitment to the people of Surrey.
Being able to hear the concerns of the residents of this riding informs my ability to serve the needs of my community. I have always believed that is a Member of Parliament’s responsibility to be the voice of their community in Ottawa rather than the other way around and the only way to accomplish this is by meeting with organizations and community members and understanding the issues that are important to them.
Randeep Sarai, Liberal
Liberals believe in the ability of government to be a force for good in society. Our plan will deliver better public services for Canadians. Canada’s public service is a cornerstone of our democracy and essential to good government.
We believe that government and the public service should base its policies on facts. Without evidence, government makes arbitrary decisions that have the potential to negatively affect the daily lives of Canadians. We need reliable economic indicators and data for sound economic policy as well as to provide other governments, businesses, and civil society with the tools to enrich our national life.
The Liberal Party of Canada understands that public servants have specific competencies and a sophisticated understanding of their programs. A Liberal government will make good use of the public service’s competencies and restore the trust that must exist between politicians and public servants if the best interests of all Canadians are to be served. We believe that in order to have a public service that is valued by Canadians, and a source of pride for its members, it must be valued by its government. That begins with – and necessitates – respecting the rights of public servants, and trusting in their ability to provide effective, independent, and professional services for Canadians.
Unfortunately, Stephen Harper’s Conservatives have allowed ideology to trump common sense and good policy. A Liberal government will ensure the federal government rebuilds its capacity to deliver on evidence-based decision-making.
Our Member of Parliament must listen to Surrey Centre’s communities and their concerns to ensure that our voice is heard in Parliament. As a lawyer, I am a dedicated advocate for my clients. I will use those skills and the knowledge of our communities gained from the thousands of conversations with Surrey Centre citizens, organizations, other levels of government and businesses to ensure that our communities’ concerns are heard in Ottawa.
Sucha Thind, Conservative
As an elected public servant, my primary goal would be to serve my constituents to the best of my ability, and to represent all my constituents in an effective manner within the framework of government.
Here are some of the qualities that I feel to be important for a public servant. I believe that these are the same qualities I can bring to the position, should I be elected on October 19:
- Integrity – I have been running my own business for over twenty years, and I am well known for my integrity in all my business dealings. I grew my aluminum business from a start up to one of the largest aluminum businesses in Surrey by always keeping my word and delivering high value for my clients. My customers trusted me because I had their best interest at heart. As a public servant I would take the necessary measures to meet my constituents’ needs and make their concerns a priority in Ottawa regardless of partisanship and politics.
- Accountability – as a businessman, I am continually accountable for the success or failure of my businesses. I understand that as a Member of Parliament you are accountable to the tax payers who elect you and that your responsibility is to put their needs first and foremost.
- Building relationships – One of my greatest strengths has always been my ability to build strong relationships within my community and to connect with individuals from all walks of life. As a Member of Parliament one of my key responsibilities would be to work as a bridge between Ottawa, Victoria and my local community. Tough local issues need all levels of government working together and I am confident I am the right person to connect key individuals at different levels to achieve the solutions my community needs.
I am well aware that the role of a public servant is not an easy one, but I am eager to accept this challenge, and I promise to do my best to represent the people of Surrey Centre.