The Lower Mainland’s multilingual ethnic media are shining a spotlight on Surrey’s upcoming municipal elections. The media is closely following and reporting on candidates and municipal hot-topics. Their reports and opinions are circulating among ethnic communities in their mother tongues from Punjabi to Chinese.
According to the 2016 Census, 106,100 people in Surrey speak Punjabi as their mother tongue, accounting for around 20 percent of the city’s population, while 32,780 people reported a Chinese language as their mother tongue (6.3 percent), and 17,540 indicated Tagalog (3.4 percent). Almost half of Surrey residents speak neither English nor French as their first language.
Media Waves, a 24/7 Surrey-based Internet radio station which caters to around 380,000 South Asians in Canada, recently broadcast a discussion about the upcoming Surrey elections on its morning talk show:
Important questions remain unanswered as B.C. municipal elections approach
Cross-culturally translated Summary: Media Waves hosts conducted an elaborate discussion into the many issues that they believe all three major parties - Surrey First (Tom Gill), Surrey Integrity Now (Bruce Hayne) and Surrey Safe Coalition (Doug McCallum) - have neglected. When the average person from Metro Vancouver is asked "who will you choose for mayor", they often respond by saying that they don't really have many choices, which shows that they don't see any substantive differences between these candidates. Even council candidates remain distant, and fail to examine the problems individual councils face. A major clarification into how these council candidates are linked to real estate developers and the truck parking industry (which was linked to Tom Gill) was called for.
Another very important question centered on the question of policing and optinos for reforming/replacing the RCMP. Doug McCallum, who has supported this proposal, has failed to "tell us why there is a need to bring in the municipal police, and where the RCMP have failed." Confusion surrounds how they will be trained and how simply introducing a municipal police force, which will replace the much better funded RCMP, would help in actual terms. Similarly, Bruce Hayne, who insists on finding out the cost of replacing the RCMP, was also criticized in the following terms: "Should this process not be the other way around - that we study how much the cost would be, and only then propose solutions?" Finally, Media Waves commented on the crime rates in Surrey and asked the candidates how, if at all, they were planning on working with the federal government on the issue of restricting access to handguns. (29/08218)
Showcasing the priority issue of public safety, Filipino newspaper Philippine Asian News Today published an article on ending gang violence in Surrey:
Mark Holland visits Surrey to support community efforts to end gang violence
Summary: “Parliamentary Secretary to the Public Safety Minister, Mark Holland, visited Surrey to hear community concerns and ideas from local experts on tackling gang and gun violence. Ensuring the safety of Surrey’s neighbourhoods is a top priority for Surrey’s Members of Parliament, John Aldag, Sukh Dhaliwal, Ken Hardie, Gordie Hogg and Randeep Sarai. This was the primary purpose of yesterday’s roundtable with Mark Holland, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Public Safety Minister. At this roundtable, the MP’s along with their provincial and municipal counterparts discussed the measures that have been taken to date, as well as new resources and supports that are required to boost prevention, intervention, and enforcement measures to tackle gun and gang violence in Surrey. Members from various community organizations, Surrey School Board, City of Surrey Gang Task Force, Surrey RCMP, CFSEU, and representatives from the Ministry of Children and Families were on hand to share the work that is being done to prevent children from entering gang life, and the tools and resources that are needed to support this work.” (06/08/2018)
On a different note, Swaraj Radio 96.1 FM mentioned the dark side of social media in relation to the municipal elections:
Social media, party switches, and the Surrey elections
Cross-culturally translated Summary: As the municipal elections for Surrey draw closer, matters are getting dirty, especially on social media. On Twitter and Facebook you can find tons of pages and groups that criticize and take potshots at the opposing parties. To top it all, developers have taken to Twitter to talk about shady financial and political transactions. They then discussed the erosion of party credibility of any kind with politicians switching between groups and candidates. After Tom Gill (Surrey First) voiced support for a handgun ban, Councillor Dave Woods decided to join Bruce Hayne’s Integrity Now slate for the upcoming Oct. 20 election. On the other hand, former minister of state Brenda Locke and prominent businessman Mandeep Nagra joined the Safe Surrey Coalition, with Doug McCallum, as council candidates. (30/08/2018)
Prominent Surrey-based South Asian radio station Red FM 93.1, which broadcasts primarily Punjabi and Hindi programming, frequently reports on local municipal politics and issues.
People First Surrey announces mayoral candidate, third council hopeful
Cross-culturally translated Summary: Rajesh Jayaprakash, a technologist with Telus, is seeking the mayor’s chair and Paul Rusan is joining the team as a council candidate. People First Surrey calls itself a non-traditional party and is the one party who in the beginning said was influenced by India's Aam Aadmi Party (common man's party) and its leader Arwind Kejriwal. The slate’s 16-point platform is outlined on its website, peoplefirstsurrey.ca. On the other hand, Proudly Surrey has also announced a school trustee candidate. Kapil Goyal is running for trustee under the party’s banner. (31/08/2018)
Proudly Surrey announces fourth school board candidate
Cross-culturally translated Summary: Businessman Kapil Goyal is seeking a seat on the Surrey Board of Education in the coming municipal election. Goyal said being in Proudly Surrey is an honour for him. Goyal came to Surrey in 2006 and is a member of some religious organizations. (31/08/2018)
Ethnic media sources are a direct line to immigrant populations, providing often ignored and marginalized communities with a connection and a voice. MIREMS monitors ethnic media sources in over 25 languages, removing linguistic and cultural barriers so that non-English speaking communities can be heard, and offering insight into how and what they think about a range of social and political issues.
Municipal government makes big decisions on issues that affect the daily lives of all British Columbians. Making sure that elected officials have access to diverse voices is essential to good and fair representation. Making language barriers transparent is part of MIREMS' mandate, which is why we're pleased to share our free newsletter, Diversity Empowers Cities, which showcases municipal matters from the ethnic media perspective like these.