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On October 24th , Get out and Vote.


On October 24th British Columbians will decide who will form the government – every vote matters, every vote counts. As always, we cannot stress enough the importance of participation in this election by our community members, may it be volunteering with your local candidate or  supporting them financially. Running an election campaign is not cheap. Sandra Day O’Connor said, “As a citizen, you need to know how to be a part of it, how to express yourself – and not just by voting. Nonetheless, the least we could do is go out and VOTE!

It is unfortunate, when we examine the list of candidates by four main parties in the running thus far, it seems as if our community once again will most probably not have a voice in the provincial legislature. Another election, another abysmal failure in the part of our community and leadership in failing to engage senior party politicians to pave the way for a Muslim community voice in the legislature. 

It is not to say that there are no Muslim candidates in the running. There are, and we support them all unequivocally and wish them all the best. 

However, elections are not simply about getting the name of a candidate on the ballot. It’s a science. A science which each party and party’s leadership are keenly aware of as to which candidate to run from which riding. Although, we may have a distorted understanding of democracy where power is in the hands of the people and people at the end decide who will govern them. The fact is, most of the elections are pretty much decided before they are even announced. Each party is aware of their stronghold ridings, and their weak ridings, all based on history of voting patterns, and the demographics of each constituency. An example of this in recent years is when the current Vancouver Mayor, Mr. Stewart Kennedy resigning as an MP to make way for Mr. Jagmeet Singh, Federal NDP leader, who is originally from Ontario to run. Even though Mr. Singh was a newcomer to the riding, the NDP vote was strong enough to get him elected in place of Mr. Kennedy. 

Each party needs to nominate 87 candidates for each of the riding in BC, of which a certain percentage of the seats they know they will, regardless of who the candidate might be. They run their best candidates whom they wish to see on the legislature floor. The rest are just provided with an opportunity to have their names on the ballot, which in political lingo often referred to as “Sacrificial lambs.” Meaning, meeting the requirement by Elections BC of running a “Full Slate.” 

The only time this this science is proven wrong is when there is an overwhelming desire for change by the people, or massive change in voter demographics. 

The examples of such events we have witnessed in past is when Prime Minister, Jean Chretian overwhelming won a majority in the nineties, after the Conservatives had introduced a new sales tax, GST. Reducing the Conservatives presence to merely two MP’s. This was a desire for change. 

More recent examples would be BC Liberals reducing the NDP to also two MLA’s in the legislature at the turn of the century. None can forget the Truduemania 2.0 in 2015 where the slogan was ABC – Anyone But Conservatives.  A tsunami that engulfed the nation and subsided four years later to a Liberal minority. 

Federal Liberal Minister, Ahmed Hussen is yet another example of both change in desire as well as change in demographics. The 2015 change in desire knocked off the largely NDP held riding into a Liberal riding, and subsequently change in demographics proven the elimination of NDP base to a strong Liberal base riding. Another such example was mass Hong Kong immigration in late eighties resulting in converting the largely Conservatives held ridings in Richmond, Centre, BC into Liberals ridings lead by Mr. Raymond Chan. However, the change has not been permanently implanted or proven. 

Why are we talking about this? How does it relate to the current BC elections? And what does it have to do with Muslim community? 

We are raising this issue because it is a proven fact now that Muslim community and leadership is clueless about how to get a Muslim voice in the provincial legislature. Islam being the second largest religion of the country, yet we do not have a single MLA in the provincial legislature to represent us. 

Yes, we have, so far, Six Muslim candidates in the running, Mr. Tariq Malik, BC Liberal, against an NDP stronghold incumbent, Ms. Katrina Chen in Burnaby Lougheed. Then we have Mr. Shaukat Khan, BC Liberal, against yet another NDP stalwart incumbent Minister, Mr. Bruce Ralston in Surrey Whalley. Aisha Rehana Bali, Conservatives, against BC Liberal stronghold, incumbent, Marvin Hunt. Ms. Nazanin Moghadani, Green Party, against another NDP stalwart, Ms. Mable Elmore, in Vancouver Kensington riding. Mehreen Chaudry is running against MLA Anne Kang  in the Burnaby-Deer Lake riding and finally Rasoul Narimani Green Candidate in another BC Liberal strong riding of West Vancouver-Capilano.

It has been proven once again, the provincial political parties, including NDP, do not consider Muslim community’s representation in the legislature to be of serious nature, and to demonstrate “inclusivity” among their ranks by offering “token representation” to Muslim candidates that is limited to the ballot paper participation only to garner Muslim votes and Fundraising Dollars in order to gain political mileage and gains in other ridings. Unfortunately, the Muslim voters fall for it. Eventually, causing more harm by eliminating Muslim-friendly candidate elsewhere. 

Unless and until Muslim voters realize and learn the politics behind appointing or nominating Muslim candidates in their weaker ridings – “Sacrificial Lambs” – we will continue to be without representation in the provincial legislature. 

We do not want to be sounding like pessimist even before the campaign has gone in full gear. However, facts are facts. There is no change in demographics. There is certainly no overwhelming desire for change in BC. Otherwise, the NDP would not have call the elections. In fact, if anything NDP is riding high in the polls. Premier John Horgan is not only liked in BC, rather currently ranked as the best Premier in Canada because of his handling during the pandemic. 

We wish all the candidates good luck and may the force be with you. 

We encourage all our community members to roll-up their sleeves and get involved.