"if you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen
the side of the oppressor." - Desmond Tutu.

Chretien calls upon voters in Surrey to save diversity by keeping Conservatives out of power Featured

 

Veteran Liberal leader and former Prime Minister Jean Chretien called upon the voters in Surrey not to vote Conservative in the upcoming federal election to save Canada from divisive politics.  

Chretien, who served as Prime Minister for three successive terms from 1993 to 2003, was speaking at an election rally on Thursday afternoon in Surrey-Newton riding which has a sizable South Asian population.

Chretien said that Canada remains an example to the world. “When I see the narrowed mentality that is developing in Europe and United States and so on I want more Canada around the world where we have the diversity that we have today.”

Emphasizing unity in the diversity of Canada he categorically stated, “I don’t want Tories to be elected”. This was received with a huge round of applause from the audience that comprised of Sikhs and Muslims who had come out in big numbers to listen to the former Prime Minister.

Chretien remains popular within the minority communities for his liberal immigration policies. His government had been vocal against repression of Sikhs in India and had recognized the contributions made by the community to Canada, apart from refusing to participate in the Iraq war. One of his trusted friends and a cofounder of World Sikh Organization, Prem Singh Vinning, was the Master of Ceremonies on the occasion.

Chretien also said that immigrants are not a burden and have done a lot for the country. He added that he had told different world leaders as Prime Minister that Canada has no problem with immigrants as they are assets.   

He was given a standing ovation once he concluded his speech.

Chretien’s visit gave a major boost to Liberal MP Sukh Dhaliwal, who is seeking re-election in Surrey-Newton. Among other Surrey area MPs present were Randeep Singh Sarai, Ken Hardie and Gordie Hogg, besides two federal ministers Harjit Singh Sajjan and Carla Qualtrough.

Sajjan is the first turbaned Sikh defence minister to be appointed by the current Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau.

Later, Chretien joined Spice Radio’s campaign #HandsAgainstRacism by leaving his handprint on a piece of paper alongside his autographs on the sidelines of the event. The campaign was started by Spice Radio CEO Shushma Datt in 2015. A Pakistani Liberal supporter while taking the picture of his handprint remarked, “This handprint is important for all of us as he had signed the charter of rights from this hand”. The Canadian Charter of Rights gives freedom to all its citizens, including immigrants and remains an important legacy of the Liberal Party.

 

 

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