Two old Surrey political rivals are trading blows in a new ring, this time over who’s pulling down pay as an MLA or MP while campaigning to be the next Surrey mayor.
Surrey Forward mayoral candidate Jinny Sims, also the NDP MLA for Surrey-Panorama, accuses Sukh Dhaliwal – mayoral candidate for United Surrey and also Liberal MP for Surrey-Newton – of continuing to collect his MP’s pay while stumping for the city job.
Dhaliwal was Liberal MP for Newton-North Delta from 2006 to 2011, when Sims defeated him during the NDP’s so-called “orange crush.” Sims was then defeated by Dhaliwal in 2015 during the so-called Liberal “red tide.”
Sims says she took a leave of absence without pay as MLA on June 8 to run for mayor.
“We have an MP who is still collecting his salary and nobody is saying, thinking anything is wrong with it,” Sims said.
“I took a leave without pay because I thought as long as I was getting paid, I wouldn’t be able to differentiate, ‘am I here as an MLA?’ Because no matter how clean you try to be, there is the murkiness of the lines, right?”
Sims said her staff, “that works off their feet,” are running her constituency office in the meantime.
“It’s being supervised by Victoria, so anything they can’t deal with is being dealt with in Victoria, and I have been on leave since the 8th of June. And you’ve got all these turkeys running around, you know, without any ethical considerations at all.”
Sims reiterated she has “taken a leave without pay and without benefits. I deliberately on that day (June 8) handed in my computer, my technology, everything is at my constituency office and I’ve never walked into my constituency office since then.
“I have no regrets. It’s an ethical decision I made because I can live with it myself and I did not want my constituents to feel that I was using government resources to do that.”
But Dhaliwal says Sims has got it wrong.
“I’m going to put 0-0-0” for his attendance as MP on roll call, he told the Now-Leader, “so it will take the money off, otherwise I’m going to donate my salary to one of the organizations. Charity.”
Win or lose on Oct. 15?
“It doesn’t matter,” Dhaliwal said. “I will put 0-0-0 that I was not present, so if I’m not present for a certain time I’ll tell them to take my salary off. If they could not take the salary off, right, then I will be donating that salary to the charity.”
Dhaliwal says Sims’ criticisms are “hollow.”
“She does not know what I’m doing.”
“On top of it,” Dhaliwal continued, “I’m still working as an MP, I’m not going to abandon my constituents as she did, right. She abandoned her constituents not to perform her duties but I’m serving my constituents as I go but at the same time I’m not taking the benefit that an MP should take in service.”