NDP supporters will protest at the Surrey-Green Timbers NDP nomination on Sunday.
The protest is against what the protestors say is a “bogus” nomination process designed to acclaim Rachna Singh as the NDP candidate in Surrey-Green Timbers and exclude everyone else.
The protest follows phone calls, letters and meetings with party leaders, including Opposition Leader, John Horgan, by heavy weight South Asian supporters of NDP over the past two weeks.
They asked the party hierarchy to call a new and fair nomination meeting in Surrey Green Timbers. Alternatively, they have threatened to withdraw their financial support from party candidates in Surrey, Delta and Langley areas.
The nomination meeting is scheduled for Sunday afternoon at the Bear Creek Hall.
The protestors say that not only was Rachna Singh, a CUPE employee and wife of broadcaster Gurpreet Singh, given an unfair advantage in the nomination process but she is not a strong nor a popular candidate.
They are upset because they feel every party supporter and member was not given fair opportunity to seek nomination.
“BC NDP should hold a free and fair nomination process in Surrey Green Timbers or stop claiming it is a party committed to fairness and equality. The current method ensured that only one person’s name would be on the nomination ballot and it is undemocratic and u fair,” one of the protest organizers told The Asian Star.
BC NDP’s Surrey Green Timbers riding association sent out a notice to its members in early December, 2016, announcing January 29, 2017, as the nomination date with the deadline for prospective candidates to file their nomination papers with the party by December 30, 2016. This notice was only sent to current members of the NDP Surrey Green Timbers and Rachna lives in Delta and is no a member of the Surrey Green Timbers NDP and should not have received this notice.
However, according to party sources, she filed her nomination papers with the party before the deadline. The question is how?
Hammell announced her intent to retire to on January 3 and the news was published on January 4.
Hammell told The Asian Star that she does not “recall” if she had “tipped off” Rachna about her plans to retire before the December 30 deadline for filing nominations.
Rachna Singh had earlier told The Asian Star that Sue Hammell started talking to her in mid December about her plans to retire. She said therefore she sent a letter of intent to NDP before Christmas (December 25) to say she would be interested in seeking nomination if Sue Hammell indeed retired.
Rachna said Hammell’s announcement came on January 4 and she submitted her nomination papers to the party on January 5. When reminded that her January 5 filing would have missed the deadline of December 30, Rachna said: “But I sent my letter of intent before Christmas.”
When reminded that a “letter of intent” is not actually filing of nomination papers, Rachna referred The Asian Star to the party headquarters for comments.
BC NDP director, Raj Sahota, has not returned The Asian Star’s call but a party source said that the party leaders will maintain that the nomination process was a fair one.
The party will maintain that despite what Rachna told The Asian Star, she had in fact filed her nomination papers before the December 30,2016, deadline and she was the only person to do so. No proof or documentary evidence has been provided to support this claim. Critics say even if Rachna filed her nomination before December 30 deadline, it proves their claim that she was given an unfair advantage with Rachna getting insider information that Sue Hammell was retiring and she should file her nomination – well before anyone else had the opportunity to do so.
They are also sharply critical of Rachna’s ability to win the Surrey Green Timbers due to what they say is her lack of name recognition or community work within the South Asian community and Surrey Green Timbers.