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Open Letter to the Mayor of Surrey From Pauline Greaves

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VIDEO: Interview with Langara Professor Pauline Greaves who sent a open letter to Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum about why he’s been very silent about a call to action from his constituents regarding the likely systematic discrimination and lack of diverse representation within Surrey’s city hall.

Mr. Mayor,

I have been reflecting for the last few of weeks on the worldwide demonstrations in reaction to the death of George Floyd. We are witnessing the veil being lifted on structural racism in our public and private institutions. The demonstrations have caused many countries, cities, and communities to reconsider the laws and policies that uphold the structural racism used in governance.

I am a person of colour. One reason for my involvement in local governance is the application and enforcement of policies with regards to minorities and ethic groups. It is evident that many municipal policies and regulations have been designed to discriminate against some in our society. This is reflected in who is elected to our local governments and who is hired to write and enforce local by-laws

So, it is with interest that I read an article on CBC’s Metro Matters that highlights the extent to which Metro Vancouver cities recognize diversity. The article highlights that, “every Mayor, 90 per cent of councillors, 90 percent of city managers, and all city planners are Caucasian”, and given that 49 per cent of Metro Vancouver’s population, based on the 2016 census are identified as persons of colour, this is sending a very disturbing message on our perception of equity and social justice.

There is clear evidence that there are individuals, be they elected or appointed, that do not recognize that structural racism exists. Consequently, they fail to recognize the need for strong policies and equity across all aspects of city governance. This recent information has made me realized that nothing has changed over the last 50+ years of my life.

In Canada we still fail to acknowledged that racism is not a only USA problem, but a problem that exist in our own backyard, it runs deep, and it is a silence that destroys cohesion, unity, equity, and social justice.

My message to you, Mr. Mayor, and to your City Councillors is that as leaders, you cannot remain silent when it comes to issues of social justice and equity. You have a responsibility to drive public dialogue. You have a responsibility to remedy the discrepancies in the management and enforcement of public policy. This responsibility includes addressing issues around diversity.

It is my opinion that this current Surrey Council does not care about the diverse voices of our citizens beyond tokenism. That this current Council does not care if diversity is reflected in City staffing, policies, or council representation.

Now is the moment for you, Mr. Mayor, to reinstate the Diversity Advisory Committee that you disbanded upon becoming Mayor. Now is the moment to provide this committee with a strong mandate to advise council and staff on issues relating to diversity, to remedy policies that are discriminatory and to ensure that procedures and strategies meet the needs of a truly diverse city.

Now is the time that this Diversity Advisory Committee be a fully integrated resource for the newly announced Surrey Police Board. Mr. Mayor, repeat after me, Black Lives Matter. You and your Council must represent all Surrey residents, regardless of their ethnicity, culture, or colour and must be included. This is a time of monumental change and the City of Surrey must not stand still.

Pauline Greaves, PhD
Surrey Resident

This article was submitted by a reader from the Surrey Community. You can submit your own community story, press release, event or public notice directly to our Community Board today! We also have advertising and promotional options for businesses.

Opinion

The Patient, The Protester, The Physician and The Press… Have We Learned Enough to Handle a Second Wave?

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“Anyone arguing that 1% or 2% of the population dying isn’t a big deal and is concerned about their freedom to get back to normal needs to identify one or two family members or close friends they are willing to offer up to death to save the economy and regain freedom. Name them! Say them aloud with the same ease you offer up and dismiss someone else’s friend or family member!”

A protestor: “Dr Bonny Henry is a Nazi”

A month and a half ago this is what people were saying online whenever they heard about, read about or saw people protesting or if they felt that the soft halted voice of the little blonde woman on TV was the voice of an oppressor.

Most wouldn’t go as far with shock messaging as those people above did but they did not hold back from expressing their extreme concern and fears of an outbreak or the results of the societal shutdown. Some did not give these protesters a platform out of genuine fear for the rest of the population.

Some Canadians were oblivious to it all, they still had their jobs nothing had changed in their lives other than more hand washing, they hadn’t gotten sick and they hadn’t lost anything financially, there was nothing to gripe about…they were “essential workers”. More than a few doctors appreciated the concerns of the population who protested, though still they expressed caution.

While this was happening, Canadians’ attention shifted as 22 people died in Nova Scotia, shot and killed. An online memorial was held for the nation. Maybe you watched, perhaps it was too hard to watch.

From cheering front line workers to mourning the tragic loss of life by way of the gun. And then there was the knee, the video, the 8 minutes and 46 seconds of what some absolutely hope will remain the most important documented evidence of racism the world will ever see. Or will it just be another Tulsa…do you know what happened in Tulsa?

What a year…for me personally it all really started in my mind with the sudden loss of Kobé Bryant. As a father of 2 daughters myself, I kept replaying in my head what I felt might’ve been those final moments he had with his daughter, how he felt, how she felt and how he would’ve given everything not to have her be in the helicopter with him.

So here we are, we’ve just crossed the midway point, with phase 2 in full effect, Black Lives Matter protesters have impacted a great deal of North America, hundreds of thousands across the continent and beyond that in many parts of the world have marched in solidarity, and close proximity with those of us humans with the darkest of skin colors.

Which brings me to why this article feels so difficult to write. Because I don’t know how many more articles, whether they are printed here in Surrey604.com or the New York Times, it will take for humans, my fellow humans, to take note of the time frame we are living in.

I mean history continues to happen in massive leaps and steps every week, Elon Musk has fired up the exploration of space all over again and by 2022 we will most likely be on Mars. Are we running away and is that what we need to do? What is Greta feeling now? Where is her voice? Little Greta…

Did I mention Kenny Rogers?

You’ve got to know when to hold ’em
Know when to fold ’em
Know when to walk away
And know when to run…

Well, he also passed away March 20th, 2020. And the truth behind his lyrics might very well be the ace card we all need to keep. This brings me to the interviews of three individuals I conducted between March and May. Each interview I had hoped to write a solitary article in support of each video and audio rendering.

But as we started to post lead material on social media about each subject, it felt like the odds of someone who opposed said viewpoint would not only fail to hear the point of view of another but would go out of their way to shun even the platforms publishing views of the ones they disagreed with.

Protestors often wondered why YouTube or Facebook seemingly was going out of its way to sensor and remove postings each platform claimed were inappropriate. We couldn’t help wonder if those opposed to a view point weren’t aggressively reporting on each other fuelling the fire.

But with a relentless Black Lives Matter movement, producing huge crowds and little pockets of outbreaks being reported on at Walmart’s or at factories or with sports teams. One just has to wonder… Why were we or are we still afraid and should we continue to be? How will it be possible to really know how to defeat COVID-19 when so few have gotten it in Canada in comparison to other places throughout the world.

Summer Pervez.

Dr. Summer Pervez, University Professor and Presumptive COVID-19 Patient

Dr. Summer Pervez, University Professor and Presumptive COVID-19 Patient

I met Pervez, funnily enough last summer. She had been slated to work a wedding with me as the videographer, I the photographer. The couple getting married were very unique in their circle of friends and drew people to them with interesting journeys. Pervez was immediately intriguing to me. She was abrupt and to the point, yet a very understanding, even apologetic person.

She wasn’t able to make it however due to unexpected circumstances but somehow I felt I would hear from her again. We friended each other on Facebook and as one does, kind of forgot about it.

Till that is, COVID-19, and her announcing that she had been diagnosed with presumptive COVID-19. She updated her Facebook friends and in a way, well pretty much indirectly asked for prayers. She was really sick. That was evident in how she articulated her messages…but even more so after I reached out to her and spoke with her over the phone and suggested an interview.

At first Pervez though very much a person to speak up when and if ever being pushed around, refused and even evaded interviews. She was then approached by CBC, and a discovery interview proceeded but a follow up never materialized. And so she decided to speak with me. Only over the phone and I had an hour window, anything more, she just couldn’t handle it.


WATCH: Full first interview with Dr. Summer Pervez, Presumptive COVID-19 Patient

Pervez laboured through the interview, and I winced at every breath she took while relating to me her experience from diagnosis to several interactions with paramedics to a troubling hands off and dismissive visit to VGH.

But I should state that Pervez’s experience caused me some discomfort at the time of the interview in March and later in May. A key takeaway was that she had been met by paramedics who were nervous to deal with her and by an empty ER that essentially sent her home without shoes on a rainy Vancouver night, all the while sick and exhibiting symptoms of the Coronavirus.

I subsequently made trips past the ER at night and found waiting ambulances and a very quiet VGH, as is normal during the pandemic, though I can’t fully speak for every night.

Now of course, this doesn’t mean that deep inside the hospital people weren’t affected or dying, but the fact has long since been established that B.C. and certainly the lower mainland had much lower numbers of people in hospitals and were operating at times at lower staff capacities than usual. So her observations definitely now would appear to be consistent. But at first, they were shocking.

A Senior Citizen navigates past the #endthelockdown protest in vancouver bc May 3rd 2020.

So the strategy was to keep people isolated to stop the spread? That was more safe than putting people affected into quarantine areas so they could be treated and observed and the virus could be confronted? What if you lived alone? Several stories came out over the last couple months where people living alone would quarantine and quickly die alone.

With everyone clapping at 7pm for healthcare workers this strategy initially felt like cowardice.

I want to vocalize that, not to spurn any negative thoughts or unbalanced hateful comments towards health workers but to speak to those, who frankly in a time of war, albeit against a nearly invisible insurgent, need heros, such as our doctors and nurses in cool blue uniforms and white coats, not to show fear, but to willingly put themselves in between us, and the demons attacking our immune systems.


WATCH: Full follow-up interview with Dr. Summer Pervez, Presumptive COVID-19 Patient

I was shook by the interview. I did pray for her. I couldn’t listen to 7pm anymore. It didn’t bring comfort. It still doesn’t. I had to reflect on what I had been hearing and seeing in the media and how it was reported. In certain times in history more often than not, the free press plays a very real role of being the voice not always of the people and it’s own court but the directive and will of the government.

Before getting carried away with conspiracy and conjecture, please note, I didn’t say that this is always a bad thing, although yes it can be. Sometimes the need to let a nation know about imminent threats, about major changes and so forth cannot be simply done by a parliament TV channel…let’s face it, nobody would tune in. No, you need the popular press, the jester to catch people’s attention in the din of potential chaos.

So, impending pandemic, invoke CBC, CTV, Global…you name it.

But the side effect can sometimes show itself in the intoxication of media whose stakeholders can point to ratings and say in later publicity ads, “we reported it first, we are the trusted source to hear from doctors and politicians”. Yes it’s journalism, there is some genuine truth to the code of impartial and unbiased ethical reporting, in fact it’s considered a staple of democracy…but it is vital to remember it is part of the big tent, it is still show business…and the show must go on.

After my interview with Pervez, I felt I needed to follow up with a face to face interview, but before that could happen, protests in Vancouver, some of the first in North America commenced. They were protesting the lockdown (or heavily suggested restrictions) and vaccines, the fear of rushing to a vaccine in months or a year rather than years, as the world rushes towards a vaccine for COVID-19.

Well, how could I sit by now and not at least cover and document this uprising. The hate towards protestors on the street as I mentioned at the outset of this article was and has been visceral. My journey of discovery started in Chilliwack BC May 4th and ended in Vancouver BC, sometime in June.

Susan Sanfield-Spooner, Activist and Civil Rights Movement Leader

Susan Sanfield-Spooner, Activist and Civil Rights Movement Leader

It was while covering these protests that I was introduced to Susan Stanfield-Spooner, a human rights activist. Like Bonnie Henry, she’s a little blonde lady, but with a voice that carries blocks. Though that fits in the midst of a protest I hoped it wouldn’t be the same in a FaceTime interview. Sure enough it wasn’t.

So much caution was expressed to me from friends who knew I was going to do the interview, the encouragement was to not let “them” have a platform to build on, it could really hurt us.

As a journalist, and in my personal time as a philanthropist (through donation of time rather than funds mind you) I feel strongly in the right and power of free speech. Absolutely, I do believe that even free speech has decency as it’s boundary, but ultimately I can keep that to myself and uphold the rights of free speech at all times. If I don’t like something for whatever reason I feel that I am perfectly able to keep that to myself if I wish or speak up if it is the right thing.

So for those of you who’ve stated your case and spoken up to me, thank you, and those of you who may watch the interview, I only ask you to do the piece at least one favour, attempt to see if you can identify the intent. The intent of each person I speak to, in my estimation, is of key importance to being able to hear, accept or dismiss with peacekeeping in mind, the thoughts, statements and recounting by each interviewee.


WATCH: Full interview with Susan Sanfield-Spooner, Activist and Civil Rights Movement Leader

Finally, Dr Lawrence Loh. I had actually tried to get a hold of someone from the health ministry, someone from Fraser Valley health to speak to us in regards to contact tracing and vaccines and their effectiveness and so forth. But I was very quickly told that no one was available. To be honest I find that a little bit troublesome. Granted I don’t have all the facts as to why nobody was available, but I really was sort of disappointed that I couldn’t speak to anyone in BC.

Dr. Lawrence Loh, Health Minister, Peel Region, Ontario

Dr. Lawrence Loh, Health Minister, Peel Region, Ontario

Dr Lawrence Loh happens to be a friend of a friend by the name of Dr. Yvette Lu. We had interviewed Lu previously in March and it is a point of Surrey604.com when possible to forward her practical suggestions to our readers. Questions on masks, transmissions and so forth.

Susan Stanfield-Spooner, centre, leads the #endthelockdown may 3rd protest in vancouver. A masked photographer gets ahead of the March, wearing a full hepa mask.

When I put out the word that I was interested in speaking to someone about contact tracing, Dr. Loh who is the acting health minister for the Peel Region of Ontario let me know if I couldn’t find anybody he’d be willing to speak with me. So we will have to call it a team effort from Health Canada. Thank you Lawrence…


WATCH: Full interview with Dr. Lawrence Loh, Health Minister of Peel Region, Ontario

This was a really cool interview with Dr. Loh. He really has a relaxed way about him, yet he’s precise and he gave me clear answers. You know, we really want healthcare personnel to be like him and at that particular point I was losing some faith I had concerns. I think a lot of people have gone through the ups and downs of whether to believe COVID-19 is as bad as predicted or did we jump the gun?

Yes, we’ve been at home suffering depression, solitude, anxiousness over how we would make our daily bread, over how we’d grow our families. We’ve seen the movies, we watched Armageddon, we watched Contagion over and over on Netflix…we are an educated movie going bunch of humans in the age of documentaries.

The quality of misinformation media and the self professed or publicly acclaimed quality of critical thinking presented in any given media platform and that which has been curated by big media conglomerates such as the CBC and so on, from doctors, physicians, who aren’t discredited, who are held with high regard now is very marginal.

This tool of the Internet, the ease and convenience of technology to record and pen our thoughts and feelings and our suspicions and our conspiracies has never been so pervasive…it’s the ultimate deep fake.

When you watch the interview with Dr. Loh he discusses how he’s worked hard to train investigators to better complete the job of contact tracing and to go after the disease. It does feel like, although some would argue while breaching our freedoms rightfully so, like at least one method of attack to head out and find and face the Demon.

Again, as you watch the interview I ask you to reflect upon what you see or hear as the intent of the interviewee.

What I heard from every single one of them was truth, deep belief in what they were saying. An interest in making sure our world is better and that our neighbours can learn from the things they’ve experienced.

As a second wave looms upon us whether you believe it to be real part of a greater conspiracy or you are indifferent but still wishing to be cautious, it is apparent, in my mind, maybe in yours, we need to find a way to make a true change in the system with which we, at least in North America, have become accustomed to.

We need to find out why after so much loss of life in the last century and it’s continuation now, why we are still so shocked and afraid at the loss of life now.

Why do we cling to eternity yet live only for the moment? Are we asking the big questions? And have we found out answers that provide us with calmness and peace?

What happens to us when we die?
Why do we die?
Why if we are all human can we not get along?
What is the purpose of life?

Perhaps if anything the overwhelming sea of information can give all of us, the impetus to ask and maybe truly find for ourselves these answers…to these big questions.

Or else, what was it all worth?

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Opinion

Experiencing Christmas as a Non Christian

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“Jingle Bell Vibes” can not be ignored in North America

If you live in North America it’s difficult to ignore Christmas- the mall decorations, Christmas carols, events, gift buying and many more. But being a person from a different culture, where Christmas is never celebrated, this festive season seems full of excitement and happiness. The tradition of decorating trees and homes, family gatherings and exchanging gifts looks very overwhelming. But what exactly is the meaning of Christmas rather than decorations and celebrations for a person with no Christmas background? So, the answer is love and happiness.

Everyone from western culture eagerly waits for Christmas and during this particular period people can be observed as more giving, cheerful, caring and kind. The Christmas vibes are full of joy even the thought of Christmas celebrations seems beautiful- the candles, the presents under trees, cozy fireplaces, the sparkly decorations, the home cooked food, the gathering of people, and the festive ambiance itself. Hence, nobody can stay away from all these jingle bell vibes.

Christmas is big- very big. This can be explained as huge craziness over Black Friday Sales that can be seen among people of every age- kids, teens, adults and seniors. Everybody in the family starts making lists and creating a budget. However, feeling of Christmas shopping seems full of excitement and stressful at the same time. The pressure of buying according to the budget saddens the joyous feeling to some extent but there’s a lot more stuff to do rather than just shopping.

For people who have never celebrated Christmas, Christmas seems like a festival of spending time with loved ones and exchanging presents in the spirit of giving. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with this, fundamentally. And for many people, Christmas is a ritualistic time to feel connected with others, which I think is valuable. That’s why other cultures have started celebrating Christmas. All this begins with traditional family dinner on Christmas ewe, baking cookies for Santa and of course eagerly waiting for Santa. And, finally opening the presents and thanking each other.

For many people, Christmas is a time of sorrow. Many are not able to afford gifts for their family and friends. But apart from money, there are cultural reasons as well for not being a part of Christmas celebrations. For instance, in Sikh culture, from December 21-28, these seven days are known as the days of sacrifice. These are the holiest days in Sikh history. They are full of unparalleled sacrifice.

The four Sahibzade (sons) of Guru Gobind Singh, the tenth guru of Sikhs, were martyred during these days before the age of 19. During this period, Sikh people celebrates nothing but sorrow. Thus, belonging to Sikh religion, Christmas holds no meaning. It seems nothing but just fascinating decorations. Moreover, roots being attached to Sikh religion and living in Western countries like Canada, it’s complicated to decide whether it’s a good idea to involve into Christmas spirit or not.

Yet, Christmas is a season of great joy and people should feel free to celebrate in their own way and do whatever makes them happy.

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Opinion

Being gay and brown and middle-aged!

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It is not easy being gay and brown and middle-aged! I still feel like an outsider, and relatively marginalized from the mainstream queer community. This is especially the case if I am at a party or club in Vancouver and there are groups of people socializing. The white gay men, who society seems to think is the cream of the crop of desirability, usually, hang out together.

I remember one of my friends asked me why are most of my friends’ people of colour? I said it’s because they’re the only ones who want to be friends with me and who like me. I have tried to hang out with people of all backgrounds, but the ones that stick around are usually those that I have something in common with and that includes our shared cultural upbringing, heritage, and skin colour.

I have experienced oppression in subtle ways. I met a cute Italian guy when I was 30 and doing my post-graduate in England. Let’s call him Frederico. He was from Rome. We ended up dating for a few months. Of course, I had to ask him out. It’s been rare in my life to be actually asked out by a good looking white guy.

He said to me “you’re quite handsome for an Indian guy.” I did not know if I should take this as a compliment? Nonetheless, I didn’t feel comfortable being the token person of colour in his social circle and soon we ended our relationship. At the end of the day, most people want to feel like they fit in.

I arrived at my student housing at the London School of Economics which is probably one of the most ethnically diverse schools in the world. To my surprise, the students made friends and even sat in the cafeteria based largely on nationality and ethnicity. The Latinos sat together, the Europeans sat together, and the Asians sat together.

As a gay male with family history from India and born in England and raised in Canada, I didn’t know who to sit with. Fortunately, I made some friends from Canada and the USA and with a few closeted gay students.

I even experienced explicit ageism in the gay world while in London. I went to a gay bar, as I turned 30 in the city, and an older white Englishman asked me about my age. When I told him, he stated “your past the expiry date.”

Now I am 47 years old. My life is getting better in some ways. I have a nice house and car, I have a successful business, and I have good friends and family. On the downside, I am not as toned, getting bald, with grey hair. I have joint pain. I can still swim for an hour virtually non-stop which I am proud of, nonetheless. I wonder sometimes, am I still desirable enough for the gay world? The gay world is still so obsessed with youth and beauty.

I grew up with media images of white, smooth, muscular young men and “twinks”, both of which I look nothing alike. I am currently focused on self-care and supporting and making a difference in the lives of others who are struggling especially queer youth.

In my counselling practice, I have helped many young brown men who have internalized racism and internalized homophobia. This means they do not like themselves for being brown or gay. Can you imagine? They have to come out and accept their ethnicity and sexuality. Talk about trying to deal with double the societal oppression and self-esteem and self-identity issues.

I am writing this article to let the next generation of queer youth, especially queer brown and queer people of colour, know that there is hope. You can love yourself. You can be loved. You can find your place in our queer family.

If you are youth between 16 and 30 demonstrating involvement, commitment and leadership in the queer community feel free to apply for the Sher Vancouver January Marie Lapuz Youth Leadership Award which has cash prizes of $1000, $600, $400, and $200. For more information check out: shervancouver.com/youth-award.html

Alex Sangha is the Founder of Sher Vancouver and a Recipient of the Meritorious Service Medal from the Governor General of Canada. You can contact Alex at: alexsangha@gmail.com

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Opinion

A Community Perspective on the Christchurch Terror Attack

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As this very moment, the number of dead from the Christchurch terror attack remains unknown. Authorities say 49 dead, but a snuff video posted by the perpetrator gives an indication as to a much higher body count. The victims undoubtedly woke up with plans, dreams, and worries like the rest of us, not knowing that they would not live to see the evening.

This, in a country known for its majestic scenery. Carnage, in a country that could teach my country a thing or two about how to properly go about truth and reconciliation with our indigenous population. This, in a country, that in many ways resembles our own. The parallels between New Zealand and Canada are not imaginary. A Terror Expert on Christchurch’s channel 7 news said, in his own words, “New Zealand is kind of like Canada. Nothing like this ever happens in Canada.” Except he’s wrong, something like this did happen in Canada. Two years ago, one of our terrorists walked into a mosque in Quebec City, killing six and injuring nineteen. The parallels between our two nations, once thought to be flattering, now feel unnerving. Should I be worried about the next attack? Surrey, after all, is home to a sizeable Muslim community, with at least seven mosques that I can count off the top of my head. Should I now worry about taking my children with me to the mosque, out of fear that we may be the next international headline?

No. I refuse to live in fear. And here is why.

I have the privilege of working with children on a daily basis. When asked about the difficulties of adulthood, I confess to these pre-teens that the saddest part of becoming an adult is discovering that super-heroes are imaginary, and monsters are real. Except I no longer believe that to be true. For every genocidal Islamophobe, for every keyboard crusader, for every hijab-hating psychopath, for every monster, I have met dozens of heroes. I have worked with the Imams of Surrey’s mosques, some of whom are survivors of wars and destruction, who happily open their doors to their community. I have enjoyed the company of SFU’s Christian chaplain, who never missed an opportunity to make me and my co-faithful feel at home on campus. I have received emails from friends of no obvious faith background who, upon hearing about these all-too-frequent tragedies, remind me that I do not walk alone. I have had the privilege of working for employers who go above and beyond their legal responsibilities in providing me with a space to worship. I refuse to live in fear, because Surrey is my home, and it is my family, and it is filled with heroes.

I refuse to live in fear because this is my city. I am reminded of this fact when I am greeted by the smiling faces at the McDonald’s where I get my coffee in the morning. I am reminded of this at my Jujitsu gym, where there is no discrimination based on skin or belt colour. Despite what the monsters would have us believe, this is my city. This is our city. I own it. We own it. And no one can ever take it away from us.

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Community Board

OPINION: Reflections on Surrey’s 2018 Municipal Election

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By Cindy Dalglish

This campaign was eye-opening, enthralling, difficult, and fun. It was exhausting, disgusting, invigorating, and disappointing. Many times, over the past several months, I heard from people that they ‘aren’t into politics’, or ‘I don’t get political’. My, what a privileged stance. I know many that just didn’t bother to vote, too.

Not only did many die for the privilege, here is what you need to know.

Unless you are a hobbit living in the forest, completely off the grid and eating food you catch yourself, you are political. Have a bank account? Political. Eat food from a store or a restaurant? Political. Walk on sidewalks? Did you go to school? Kids in school? Drive a car? Take a bus? Go to a movie? Play a sport? Have your kids in sports? Are you older and needing medical care? Are you younger and broke a bone? Do I need to go on? POLITICAL. Every.single.thing we have in this world is gained through some form of politics.

I’m tired of the term “politics” getting a bad rap.

I’m tired of the title “politicians” getting such negative press.

And I’m also getting fed up with “taxes” being considered a bad thing.

Without politics, politicians, and taxes, you would not be able to afford to live. Period.

There would be exorbitant costs to going to school, your basic healthcare, your cars, your food. The system we have, like it or not, is better than the alternative. Fundamental rights would not be protected. There would be no judicial system (we can argue the effectiveness of ours later). No mental health (again, later). No police. No one to see us when we are sick, give us chemo for cancer, heck we wouldn’t even know we are dying of cancer. And no leaders. No one willing to put themselves on the line for everyone else that didn’t bother going to vote.

There are so many good people trying to make positive change for the greater good (agree with their ways or not), and 67.45% of Surrey stayed home when it was time to do the one thing they need to do while the rest of the candidates work their tails off trying to garner your vote. There is not a political vote that you should stay home for. Not one. There are advanced voting opportunities and election day. Heck, if you can’t make it to one of those, you can go to City hall and they will accept your vote in person.

But this isn’t just a Surrey issue. This is a Province-wide issue. Do we need to move to the Australian model of voter engagement where it is compulsory with fines for not? What is it going to take?

We take so much for granted. And it’s sad, really. Just sad.

We need our citizens, just as much as they need us.

VOTE. Signed, was a candidate and now back to being “just” a parent advocate.

Cindy Dalglish

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