Candidate Profiles: Surrey Centre
Nicole Gonzalez Filos, Editor in Chief
Liberal candidate Randeep Sarai is the incumbent MP for this riding.
Liberal: Randeep Sarai
Sarai is a lawyer and real estate developer running again in this year’s election.
If re-elected, he will build a new medical school at the Simon Fraser University Surrey campus, expand access to federal services, develop the areas around Surrey Central station, improve and make mental health services and care accessible in Surrey, and improve prevention and intervention of gun and gang violence.
Randeep was born in Vancouver and raised in South Burnaby. He graduated from the University of British Columbia with a Bachelor of Arts and went on to complete his Bachelor of Laws at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario.
He currently sits on the International Trade Committee, Justice Committee, and Special Committee on the Economic Relationship between Canada and the United States. Sarai is committed to making Surrey the most transit-friendly, low-crime, metropolitan centre in Canada, reads his campaign website.
Sarai was unavailable for an interview.
Conservative: Tina Bains
Bains first began her career in the B.C. Public Service in 1997, and has been a resident of Surrey for 29 years, where she has been in roles like law enforcement and working as an advisor in the Ministry of Regional Economic and Skills Development.
She is advocating for the Conservative plan which includes lowering Canadians’ cell phone and Internet bills, the creation of Canada’s recovery plan, secure raises for working Canadians, and secure and safe neighbourhoods.
Bains was unavailable for an interview.
NDP: Sonia Andhi
Andhi is a social worker, community organizer, and mental health specialist. She advocates for working families and people who are struggling with homelessness, poverty, addictions, mental illness, intergenerational trauma, and relationship violence.
She is the founder of Shakti Society, a non-profit committed to empowering women, children, and families.
Andhi supports publicly-funded education and wants to provide Indigenous communities with equitable access to education, on or off reserves.
“So, some steps that we’re taking to support students from Surrey Centre is removing interest from federal student loans, because that is a huge burden for people when they graduate,” she says.
“We will work with the province to establish Indigenous history education programs for all Canadians … and we want to ensure that the development and implementation of these programs are led by Indigenous people.”
She is also advocating for access to mental health support for students.
Green: Felix Kongyuy
Kongyuy is a consultant to nonprofits and an arbitrator with experience in small businesses. He is the director of MoveOn Consulting and Arbitration. He is also the founder and chief executive officer of Baobab Inclusive Empowerment Society.
If elected, Kongyuy wants to increase funding for the National Research Council of Canada by 15 per cent annually for four years and to work with the provincial parties to reduce the rates that students have on their loans.
He also wants to work on ending the goods and services tax for any educational material students may need.
“I’m going to increase the payback time for students because what we’ve realized is that a lot of students after school struggle with the debt,” he says.
Kongyuy also wants to reduce waiting lists for university students in Surrey Centre by talking with the provincial government to create more seats in classes.
Candidate Profiles: Surrey-Newton
Nicole Gonzalez Filos, Editor in Chief
Liberal candidate Sukh Dhaliwal is the incumbent MP for this riding.
Liberal: Sukh Dhaliwal
Dhaliwal was elected as the Surrey-Newton MP in 2015 and 2019, and is running again for re-election. From 2006 to 2011, he served as the MP for Newton-North Delta.
Before his career in politics, Dhaliwal was a professional engineer and was part of the Engineers Canada Fellowship. He was also a land surveyor and small business owner.
Dhaliwal has been a resident of Surrey for the past 25 years. He participated on the Board of Directors for Self Employment and Entrepreneur Development Society, and sat as a member of the City of Surrey Parks and Community Services Committee. He has also volunteered with the Surrey Memorial Hospital Foundation’s Emergency Capital Campaign, according to his campaign website.
Dhaliwal was unavailable for an interview.
Conservative: Syed Mohsin
Mohsin is an entrepreneur with experience as an elected representative in Bangladesh. He has a Master of Arts and is currently pursuing a PhD in strategic leadership.
When he lived in Bangladesh, Mohsin was elected as a Member of Parliament.
His first job in Canada was working as an interpreter, where he primarily helped refugees settle down in Canada. According to an Instagram post from his page, he is running as the MP for Surrey-Newton to “provide a fresh approach and to make Surrey a better home for everyone.”
Mohsin was unavailable for an interview.
NDP: Avneet Johal
Johal is a first-time candidate who has been active with the Surrey-Newton NDP for over 15 years. Johal is serving as the Policy Director for the B.C. NDP’s Indigenous, Black, and People of Colour Committee, and is an advocate for mental health supports and affordable living. Asides from being a politician, Johal also works with undergraduate students at UBC.
“We have to think about how we are supporting our young people, [they] have the grades, they have the drive, they have the determination to get an education … and if we are saddling and restricting our young people with this amount of debt, I don’t think that we are appropriately investing in our future generation,” says Johal.
“One of the things that we would love to do longer-term is think about how to incorporate our post-secondary education into our overall education system. And so students, again, with the grades and the drive, go from kindergarten and early education all the way through to post-secondary without the barrier,” he says.
Johal says he thinks that it is wrong for students to be used as a revenue source, which is why he supports the NDP’s goals to eliminate interest from federal loans.
“So we would also introduce a targeted debt forgiveness program. This would be for graduates and this would forgive up to $20,000 in student debt. And this was in the first year of NDP government, this would wipe out 20 per cent of all student debt, and help over 300,000 borrowers save money every month.”
Candidate Profiles: Richmond Centre
Esther Amankop Udoh, Staff Writer
Conservative candidate Alice Wong is the incumbent MP for this riding.
Liberal: Wilson Miao
Miao immigrated to Canada from Hong Kong and has lived in Richmond for over 25 years. He studied at Simon Fraser University and previously worked in real estate. If Miao is elected as an MP for the Richmond Centre riding, he says he would like to promote “Canadian values” and address the rise in hate crimes in the community. He would also like to support youth with furthering their career paths.
“I know our government has created several platforms to support our students with regards to their education into post secondary, especially with the Canada student loan,” he says.
“We are planning to eliminate all the interest moving forward so that we can allow our students to focus on what is more important, such as saving for a home or starting their career, so that they won’t be burdened by the student debt.”
Miao wants to address the insecurity residents feel due to the rise in hate crimes, as well as promoting more engagements with youths in the community.
Conservative: Alice Wong
Wong is running again in this year’s election, and has held the seat for over 10 years. She immigrated to Canada from Hong Kong in 1980. Since becoming an MP, she has worked as the parliamentary secretary for multiculturalism and has been a shadow cabinet minister for small businesses and seniors. She was also a member of cabinet as a minister of state seniors.
Her Facebook campaign page includes promises from the Conservative government, like the proposing of a “new health accord with the provinces and territories within the first 100 days,” and working to “increase the Canada health transfer rate to at least 6 per cent, more than double the current rate,” and “inject[ing] nearly $60 billion into our health care system over the next 10 years.”
Wong believes in working to “harness human ingenuity and creativity to solve our environmental problems.”
Wong was not available for an interview.
NDP: Sandra Nixon
Nixon is a chair for the Richmond school board as well as a minister for the United Church of Canada. She has lived in Richmond for over 20 years. Some of her campaign promises include supporting the groups of people who have been impacted by the pandemic, and bringing attention to the “affordability crisis and the climate emergency.”
She supports forgiving student loan debts, increasing bursaries, and eliminating interests on federal loans. She also supports the five-year waiting period that was suggested by Jagmeet Singh. The gap is expected to allow graduates to start working and not have to pay student loans right out of post-secondary.
Nixon wants the residents of Richmond to feel connected with the community, and she plans to have the “tough conversations” and listen to the people who don’t feel included, accepted, or safe in the city.
“We’re a diverse community and one of the things that’s really important to me is that we honor that. We all thrive when we’re all taking care of each other,” Nixon says.
Green: Laura Gillanders
Gillanders is a Richmond resident. If elected, she says she would like to focus on the natural assets of the city, strongly advocate for increased market rental housing and government incentives that can help municipalities fund affordable housing like co-ops.
She says housing is one of the best ways to support university students. She supports free tuition, forgiving student loan debts, and addressing climate change.
“The Greens and myself believe in investing in the new green economy. There is huge economic opportunity there to transition into creating clean energy,” Gillanders says, adding that she feels that this approach can be a way to provide opportunity for young Canadians in the new Green apprentice program. She says the program will provide jobs for the future.
“I will continue to keep using my voice to help fight for what we need in Richmond, which is more housing, better housing options so that families can stay here, good economic opportunities and tackling climate change,” Gillanders says.
Candidate Profiles: Cloverdale-Langley City
Breanna Himmelright, Contributor
Conservative candidate Tamara Jansen is the incumbent MP for this riding.
Liberal: John Aldag
Aldag was the previous MP for this riding elected in 2015 and lost to Tamara Jansen in the 2019 federal election.
“In Cloverdale-Langley City, the reality is that, although it’s a new riding, this part of the Fraser Valley has always been conservative, and I took it and demonstrated that there is a progressive community within this area,” Aldag says.
As an MP, Aldag introduced the Canada Child Benefit, was a member of the Medical Assisted Dying Committee, contributed to improvements made to transit and the SkyTrain, and pushed for strong environmental policies.
He says he decided to run again because he believes there is “unfinished business,” including helping eliminate federal interest on student loans, increasing access to mental health supports, and creating a pathway to homeownership for students.
Conservative: Tamara Jansen
Jansen was elected in 2019. Her priorities include securing the economy and the environment, free speech, and supporting small businesses affected by the pandemic lockdowns, according to her website. She was born in Burnaby to Dutch immigrant parents and raised by her single mother. Jansen is a co-founder of Darvonda Nurseries in Langley. She also supports improvements to palliative care and opposes legislation that improves access to medically assisted dying.
In 2020, she faced controversy for abstaining on a vote to pass Bill C-6 to ban conversion therapy and later voted against passing it in June. In 2019, she also received criticism for an event she attended featuring performers wearing blackface.
Jansen was unavailable for an interview.
NDP: Rajesh Jayaprakash
“I was an engineer in the robotics field, and I was looking at the [light-rail transit] system and I was interested in green transportation. I did quite a bit of study on that and found out [they were] missing many of the numbers … I think turning that activism into political debate was my biggest contribution,” he says.
If elected, Jayaprakash’s priorities include forgiving student debt and increasing job opportunities at a time when “more jobs are currently being lost due to the automation of industries.”
“I understand the problems [with technology] but I’m also [seeing] … what kind of opportunities it is creating for the next generation.”
Candidate Profiles: Langley-Aldergrove
Abby Luciano, Community Reporter
Conservative candidate Tako van Popta is the incumbent MP for this riding.
Liberal: Kim Richter
Richter has been a Township of Langley councillor for seven consecutive terms and is a full-time instructor in the Business Management Faculty at Kwantlen Polytechnic University. She is also a Metro Vancouver Board Director and has three degrees from the University of Ottawa, including a masters in Health Administration.
“Our rapidly growing community needs help like it never has before. We have an opportunity with a stable government to reach our full economic and environmental potential,” Richter said in a press release.
Richter said her key reasons for running are delivering a real plan to address climate change that includes federal financing of rapid transit to Langley and the Fraser Valley, ensuring affordable childcare for $10-a-day for all parents in Langley, Aldergrove, and Abbotsford, and building a financial sustainability plan after the pandemic is over.
“As a Langley Township Councillor for the past 22 years, I have fought for the residents of this community, and I will continue to do so,” she said in her campaign video.
Ritcher was unavailable for an interview.
Conservative: Tako van Popta
van Popta is running again in this year’s election. He studied at Trinity Western University and the University of British Columbia to obtain his law degree. He also worked with McQuarrie Hunter LLP for over 30 years, and volunteered as a board member with the Langley Memorial Hospital and the Elim Housing Society.
If re-elected, van Popta plans to support affordable housing by increasing the supply of purpose-built rental housing and banning foreign buyers from purchasing homes in the country.
Accountability ethics, a post-pandemic economic recovery, and protecting the environment are other initiatives van Popta will fight for. He is also in favour of the Langley SkyTrain extension and the widening of Hwy. 1 past the 264th St. exchange.
van Popta was unavailable for an interview.
NDP: Michael Chang
Chang has previously worked as an assistant for B.C. NDP MLA Jane Shin when she was elected in the 2013 provincial election. He is a business consultant for the Seoul Metropolitan Council, who organized donations of 8,000 masks to Langley during the pandemic. Before immigrating to Canada in 2006, Chang was involved in political campaigns in Korea. This is Chang’s first year running for a federal election.
He promises to help those more vulnerable to financial hardship, such as post-secondary students and seniors. Chang says if elected, he plans to wipe away $20,000 worth of debt for each student.
“The young generation is our future,” says Chang. “When you have debt in the bank or any kind of financial institution, it’s always going to hunt you down. We can ease some of the burden they have.”
Chang also promises to build more affordable housing, universal dental care and prescription drugs, and a detailed climate action plan that creates well-paid jobs.
“It’s all about the people,” says Chang.
Green: Kaija Farstad
Farstad is running for the second time in this riding. She describes herself as a single mom, librarian, and activist.
She volunteers with the Derby park and Brae Island Park Society, and coaches Ultimate for her school. She advocates for “science-based decision making,” collaboration between parties, and moving away from the first-past-the-post electoral system.
“You’ll be glad to hear we’re re-using the signs from two years ago,” Farstad said on a campaign post two days after the election was announced.
In an email to The Runner, Farstad said she supports a guaranteed livable income, forgiving all federal student loans, and free post-secondary education.