BC Liberals’ “Quick Win,” Sounds More Like “Quicky” – No Foreplay, No Emotions, Straight Boom! Bang! Done! Thank You – Ethnic Guy-Gal!.


By Suresh Kurl

1992 will remain a memorable year in my life. This was the year when some of my friends and acquaintances encouraged me to throw my hat in the ring to contest for the riding presidency of the Liberal Party of Canada. Until then, I had never contested for any office, not even for a dogcatcher.

I turned my zeal machine on; made hot and cold calls, and abracadabra, I won the election. But the victory was disheartening.  The desirable and unwelcome outcome of it was that I lost friends. There were a whole bunch of individuals on the opposition team, I used to admire, left me. When the results were announced some of them looked at me as though I was their arch enemy. From then on, nothing grew between us but bitterness.

One of the opponents commented, “Most of those people [I and my Indo-Canadian supporters] have no idea of Liberal principles. They did not even know how to fill out a ballot.”

Today, even after more than twenty years, I feel time has not changed the thinking of exclusivity. What karma! The only difference is that in 1992, we were intellectual dwarfs, cultural savages not versed in Liberal principles. Today, we are a vote bank for Quick Wins.

When I came across the phase, “Quick Win,” believe me, the first word that came to mind was, a “Quicky,” how about a quicky — no foreplay, no emotions, straight down to the business. Boom! Bang! Done! Feels revitalised, like a winner. Now, let’s move forward.

Another apology for the same shameful mistreatment, why? Was it going to boost the morale of the poor Chinese railroad labourers and make them forget the financial and emotional trauma they went through? They are dead.

Was it designed to comfort the families of the 376 Koma-gata-maru passengers after one hundred years?  Are you kidding? So, what was the purpose of this insincere apology?

What really burnt my Basmati rice pudding cooked with nuts, cardamom seeds and saffron, was when I read that the government has been engaged in identifying ethnic employees, or I should call them, “ethnic agents” to serve the government a Quick Win. How presumptuous!

This crude ethnics approach reminds me of a personal story. In the 1980s, when I had been managing a district office for the BC Government, I had a much larger complement of staff members for the office space I had been assigned to accommodate. Most of them shared their offices space with each other. That was not only inconvenient, but also inconvenient for their clients. They complained about the lack of privacy.

One day, I discovered some empty space sitting in the basement of the building. But the access to it was from outside.  I discussed the empty basement with my staff and wrote to my immediate supervisor suggesting that if access to the space down below could be provided from our floor directly, we could solve our space problem. He listened to our proposal and forwarded it to the individual responsible to help solve space problems.

One day, a gentleman from Victoria showed up unannounced. Let us name him, Mr. X.  Unfortunately, I was absent from the office that day. But he wasn’t going to waste anytime waiting for me. He approached my Office Manager and presented her his plan.  She advised him that she had no authority to discuss, approve or alter the plan I had submitted, as it had been developed by the entire team.

In response to her comments, Mr. X told her that our proposal was too costly to accept. During that conversation he also suggested that he would send me someone, who spoke my language to explain the cost implications.  She instantly sensed where Mr. X was going with his “someone who speaks my language”.

The next day, when I arrived I found an angry looking office manager awaiting me in my office.  That was a bit unusual. “Is everything all right” I asked. In response, she narrated her conversation with Mr. X, including his remark that he would send me someone who spoke my language. I asked her if she could put her conversation with Mr. X in writing for me, which she did, which she did and I sent that off to my superiors.

Mr. X was not kidding. He sent me a Punjabi speaking fellow to convey his financial concerns. But in view of his boss’s alleged comment, my staff was unwilling to discuss any space issues with anyone until we were given a clarification on my language skills.

Mr. X denied making any language-comment. My supervisor started pressuring me into withdrawing the complaint. However, he also assured me that if I withdrew my complaint my office would get every alteration we had proposed.

As the comfort of my staff and clients’ privacy issues were more important to me than a racial slight, I chose drop the complaint. His crude racial fiasco ended in us getting what we needed.

Let me assure you racism is not dead. It is still alive breathing and kicking. It has only changed it costume. Now it appears donned in ethnic garbs.

Richmond, BC