Infighting in B.C. Liberal Party highlighted by election for Regional Director for Region 9 – riding associations of Surrey, Delta and Richmond

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THE bitter infighting in the B.C. Liberal Party between the Liberals and Conservatives that form the provincial party’s alliance was clearly exposed by last Saturday’s election for the party’s Regional Director for Region 9 in which incumbent Jagmohan Singh, a Surrey realtor, won comfortably against his opponent Kelly Guichon, a Delta resident who is self-employed and assists businesses in leadership development and organizational performance.

Region 9 comprises of the following BC Liberal Riding Associations: Delta North, Delta South, Surrey-Green Timbers, Surrey-Newton, Surrey-Panorama, Surrey-Tynehead, Surrey-Whalley, Surrey-Cloverdale, Surrey-White Rock, Surrey-Fleetwood, Richmond Centre, Richmond East and Richmond-Steveston.

Jagmohan Singh and his Liberal supporters went out of their way to make it into a Liberals vs. Conservatives battle.

One angry South Asian sent me a recording of an appeal that Jagmohan Singh made in a mix of Punjabi and English that goes: “Tomorrow is election day. I’m working hard. I’m requesting you whatever you can do for me to help me. Do a favour to me AGAINST CONSERVATIVES. Use full force. Whatever the results, we will see. Please help me out. Jagmohan.” [Capitalization mine for emphasis.]

There were also allegations of South Asian racism: some made it into an issue of us vs. the white candidate! “We always accuse the white guys of racism, what about our own racism!” said an angry South Asian, who like others did not want to be named for fear of reprisals from the party bosses.

Sources also alleged that booze flowed freely in the parking lot of the Eaglequest Golf Course (its Surrey East Banquet Room was one of the three polling places).

“These guys behaved like they do when there is an election for an MLA or MP. They brought in our guys in vehicles from all over,” one disgusted South Asian told me.

As it is, candidates were dissuaded from running against the incumbent because party bosses like Bruce Burley reportedly wanted to reappoint Jagmohan Singh. A few weeks ago when a source informed me that a non-South Asian candidate was being given the runaround for filing his nomination papers, I emailed the party to demand an explanation. The party was then forced to go ahead with an election. That candidate backed out, but Guichon decided to run. I was also told that much pressure was put on Guichon to withdraw, but she refused. Guichon did not return my call when I phoned her to verify this a few weeks ago, apparently fearing reprisals from the party bosses.