It was recently brought to my attention that a provincial political party does not want any more South Asian candidates representing them in the May election.
I don't know how true this is, but it's nevertheless shocking to say the least. This brings us to a bigger question here at home: Is it time the voters of the Fraser Valley considered electing a South Asian to Victoria or Ottawa?
It would be historical to say the least, and it would bring diverse voices from various communities that are rapidly growing in the area.
Unfortunately, the Fraser Valley region has always struggled to get elected ethnic representation to public office.
One example of this would be Abbotsford Coun. Moe Gill, who ran unsuccessfully for a civic seat for decades, finally getting elected in the mid 1990s.
Until a city like Abbotsford, one of most diverse communities in Canada, elects someone from the South Asian community (the largest visible minority group in the area) to a senior level of government, the cultural divide will continue to exist in some shape or form.
Holding key leadership positions certainly changes the perception of how people view certain communities.
It would be historical to see one of the three South Asians vying for a political seat this year here in the central Fraser Valley actually capture a nod in the upcoming provincial election. Can Lakhvinder Jhaj, Sukhi Dhami or Preet Rai accomplish this enormous task?
Anything is possible when it comes to B.C. politics, and I believe they realize the task before them. In a nutshell, too many South Asian candidates have ran provincially and federally in the past, but were never in a position to win in the first place and this must also change.
I am not suggesting we strictly vote on someone's ethnicity, but if there is an opportunity to bring new voices and ethnic backgrounds into the political spectrum, the entire community benefits.
For this become a reality, there has to be stronger unity within the South Asian community.
Rai said: "I am excited about my chances in the upcoming elections and will have to work very hard. I am a true believer in diversity and want to represent the entire community, and I want to listen to all the voices in the community.
"If you find me in campaigning on the streets or in the community door knocking, feel free to speak with me about any concerns".
The closest the Valley has come to getting a South Asian candidate elected to Victoria was in 1956 when former Mission mayor Naranjan Grewall almost defeated former Socred labour minister Lyle Wicks for the Dewdney seat.
Some even say he won that election and lost it due to vote tampering. Six years earlier, he was first elected to Mission council, making him the first visible minority and Indo-Canadian elected to public office in this country.
He was later nominated as a provincial candidate for the Cooperative Commonwealth Federation, also making him the first visible minority to run as a candidate in Canada.
All told, it's a wonderful part of Canadian history we can all be proud of.
? Ken Herar is a freelance columnist with the Abbotsford-Mission Times. Contact him: firstname.lastname@example.org.