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Surrey’s Got Many Deserving Ministers But Jagrup Brar Deserves To Be In The inner Circle

By R. Paul Dhillon

SURREY – Premier John Horgan and the NDP won a landslide victory Saturday night and made history as one of BC NDP’s biggest victory with 55 seats before the mail-in ballots are counted and according to trends, NDP may actually end up even higher than 55.

But the big victory brings with it a burden on Horgan as to who he will choose to be in his inner circle around the cabinet with so many competent and diverse MLAs. There is already talk about who will get the privilege to serve in Horgan’s cabinet.

While returning incumbents like Jinny Sims and Harry Bains will certainly get consideration but the man who deserves to be in the inner circle is the veteran MLA Jagrup Brar, who again handily beat his opponent in Surrey-Fleetwood, earning one of the highest margins of victory among the many MLAs elected from Surrey.

“I will do my best to stand up for them in Victoria over the very pressing issues in Surrey,” Brar said following his win.

Brar said those issues include managing COVID-19 while keeping the economy going, building a new hospital in Surrey, building SkyTrain to Langley and the new Pattullo Bridge.

NDP had three ministers in cabinet back in 1996 when the city had five seats and two of those seats were won by the BC Liberals, meaning that all three NDP MLAs – Sue Hammel, Penny Priddy and Joan K. Smallwood – were all in cabinet.

Surrey now has nine seats and NDP won seven of those nine on Saturday night. Surrey has been the key to forming a government and Horgan’s minority government happened in 2017 because Surrey saved the day for the NDP.

And from the current bounty of MLAs, Surrey deserves to have at least four to five ministers from the winners and Jagrup Brar should be one of those from Surrey included in cabinet as he has truly paid his dues since first being elected in a byelection in 2004. Brar was elected in 2004, 2005, 2009 and 2017, in which year he received 52 per cent of the vote.

Brar, who has again won by a large margin in 2020, has always taken a leadership role to address issues facing Surrey including container trucking industry, housing on ALR and homelessness, including accepting a Welfare Challenge, where he didn’t spend one night like many taking on this experiment to feel what it is like to live on the streets like the homeless but a whole month.

Brar lived one month on $610, the current welfare rate for a single, employable adult in BC. And it wasn’t a publicity stunt as Brar lost over 30 pounds and found himself in situations many homeless people do and got the real experience as intended by local activists and meant to draw attention to issues of poverty and unemployment in BC. He received much praise from the ethnic and mainstream media for this reality lesson which would be a great asset for a Minister.

Aside from being a good party soldier, Brar has always fought fearlessly for the South Asian community issues including Five Ks, Komagata Maru and Indo-Canadian veterinarians’ racism and abuse battle against their College.

Very accessible and man of principle, Brar has been active in all sectors of the Surrey community including Small Business through his work as executive director of SEEDS.

And when making up his cabinet, Premier Horgan and NDP top brass shouldn’t forget that it was Brar’s effort and support that led to newcomer Mike Starchuk’s victory in Surrey-Cloverdale, dethroning the BC Liberal stalwart Marvin Hunt.

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