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Kashmir Dhaliwal defeat a difficult one for the team

November 16th, 2008 · 38 Comments

Many many Vision people, in the midst of celebrating last night, were talking about how disappointing it was  for them that the only one of their council candidates not to be elected was Ross Temple president Kashmir Dhaliwal.

Andrea Reimer called it a “heartache” that is a sign of a submerged problem in city politics. Mike Magee said the inability of Vancouver voters to elect someone who is a leader in his community is a sign that something is amiss in the political culture. And others just expressed general regret, saying that Kashmir had worked incredibly hard for all of them.

Kashmir, by the way, came in 11th, about 1,020 votes behind Ellen Woodsworth. Although he did better than any other Indo-Canadian council candidate in recent history, it still wasn’t enough to get him onto council. (On a cheerier note, Raj Hundal, on the park-board slate, did get elected)

Kashmir’s campaign manager, Jonathan Ross, posted this message in the comments section, but I’m putting it up here to make sure people see it.

Last night was a bittersweet moment for myself and many others that have worked tirelessly with Kashmir Dhaliwal for the past many months.

First, I would like to congraulate Gregor, and to say how happy I am to see new faces like Kerry, Andrea and Geoff as councillors…this is going to be a phenomenal team with veterans like Raymond, George, Tim and Heather.

That being said, once again, Vancouver voters have shut out the South Asian council candidate, and from my dozen years in politics, I have never seen the ugly overtones of division like I have in this particular civic race.

I am not sure if wards are necessarily the be all, end all answer, because at the end of the day, it seems to me that certain ethnicities can only get elected in Vancouver if they are relegated to certain sections of the city (a la Vancouver South federally or Vancouver Fraserview provincially). This is in stark contrast to cities like Burnaby or Surrey, where my good friend Barinder Rasode got elected last night for example.

There is much more to say, but the moment that will continue to stick out in my mind over this whole process is one that occurred at the Vision nomination that elected the slates of candidates back in September.

A caucasian, middle aged couple from the west side of the city came up to me and one of the candidates, and passionately and angrily stating that if people cannot speak “proper english,” they shouldn’t be able to vote. They also said how this was “our country.”

Seeing how I am an individual born of a mixed marriage who proudly represents both my South Asian and Jewish heritage, this was an incident, and an experience, that I will not soon forget.

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