NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh and Veteran Cop Baltej Singh Dhillon Bring Down The House At NDP Convention





By Balwant Sanghera

VICTORIA – NDP leader Jagmeet Singh the political “Rock Star” and veteran RCMP cop Baltej Singh Dhillon were keynote guest speakers at the provincial NDP’s convention in Victoria and both made a significant impact with their speeches.

Political conventions are usually veryinformative, interesting and exciting. The wekend BC NDP Convention from November 22 to 24 was no exception. It enabled party activists to reconnect with their friends and fellow New Democrats they hadn’t seen for a long time. Furthermore, it provided grass roots members of the party to hob knob with the ministers and government officials and gives them very valuable feedback and input about the government’s performance.More than 900 active New Democrats from all around the province converged on Victoria for the three day biannual conference. They were joined by a large number of guests, observers and the media.

At the opening session on Friday evening, the delegates were welcomed by BC’s Finance Minister and MLA for Victoria Beacon Hill, Carole James. Party President Craig Keating gave an inspiring update about the party’s accomplishments during the past 28 months it has been in government. Saturday, November 23 was a very exciting and full of action. Premier John Horgan gave an excellent speech outlining some of the highlights of his government and a road map for the next two years. He received several standing ovations by the audience. Horgan’sspeech set in motion a heated discussion of a number of resolutions covering a variety of areas. These included free dental care, a school lunch program, free parking for patients and their relatives at hospitals, $10a- day childcare. The Horgan government was also urged by delegates to explore the feasibility of free post-secondary education for all students. We must keep in mind that these are recommendations by the party to the government. Now it is up to the government to deal with them as it deems fit.

At every convention of the NDP, the federal party leader is invited to speak. This time, it was Jagmeet Singh’s turn. This ‘Rock Star’ really got the audience rocking. He received several standing ovations with a very impressive speech covering a variety of topics. At the conclusion of his speech, Jagmeet invited Premier John Horgan on the stage for a  Bhangra dance.  It thrilled everyone. The overflowing conference hall was brimming with enthusiasm as both of these leaders danced on stage. The lunch for Honorary Life Members of the NDP with Premier John Horgan, a number of members of the cabinet and the party officials was another highlight of the convention.

Very productive discussion and passage of a number of resolutions about building sustainable economyand fighting the climate change were some of the major resolutions passed on Sunday, the last day of the convention .Also; delegates passed a number of resolutions including one relating to the forest industry. A highlight of the day was a very inspiring speech by prominent RCMP officer and a very well respected member of our community, featured speaker Inspector Baltej Singh Dhillon. Baltej shared his history making struggle when he decided to join the RCMP. He provided a number of motivational examples and strategies in fighting racism and hatred in society. Overall, it was avery enjoyable and productive convention.

Balwant Sanghera is an Honorary Life Member of the NDP. He was a delegate to the BC NDP Convention held in Victoria, BC.