Not many politicos would want to be in David Basi's shoes. He's the ministerial assistant who was fired for allegedly passing confidential government information to lobbyist Erik Bornman. But insiders say at least three provincial Liberals are aspiring to take on Mr. Basi's job as the party's principle Indo-Canadian go-to-man, including Vancouver-Fraserview backbencher Ken Johnston's constituency assistant Barinder Sall. But before he moves into that position, Mr. Sall (who has also been spotted doing similar organizational work for the federal Conservatives) might want to practice his diplomatic skills.
In an email sent to Vancouver Sun columnist Vaughn Palmer, Mr. Sall took issue with reports that the Liberals have ignored the concerns of Indo-Canadians. According to the would-be ethnic boss, "I think there is a generation clash here between the older and younger indo-Canadians (sic). As these older guys want to be recognized, want fame, and I think maybe a sovereign society...lol...while the younger guys rather operate discretely, spend time golfing and enjoy life with their families." Hmmm...one wonders how the old guys will feel about that, not to mention Indo-Canadian women? The following is an edited copy of that email and others which were leaked to Public Eye. We have been unable to reach Mr. Sall for comment.
November 8, 2004 Dear Jim Beatty & Vaughn Palmer,
Please see my personal comments attached in response to your story. I ask that you give my comments consideration and publish them.
Re: "our ethnic communities"
I had a chance to read your article in the Monday edition of the Vancouver SUN. I would say I have issue with some of the comments published. I too attended the BC Liberal Convention, and was impressed with a good turnout of the 'young professional' Indo-Canadians, which your story failed to provide. As one of these 'young professional' Indo-Canadians, my friends and I are not interested in any type of special treatment, but a better economy, better health care, and an improved education system--which the BC
Liberal government has delivered on.
Being a part of the BC Liberals, I have had the opportunity to meet many people from "our ethnic communities" at various events that I have attended. What I know for a fact is that the BC Liberal MLAs and Ministers have been accessible to anyone with a concern. They have set up numerous community meetings in their offices; constantly attend various community functions, and organized forums at local community centres.
I know I cannot read a person's mind and doubt the MLAs can, so I would urge anyone if they have a provincial problem, contact your local MLA, as I know their doors are open to help conjure a solution.
Assistant to the MLA for Vancouver-Fraserview
Thank you for taking the time to write. I appreciate your comments but they
conflict with what a large number of other people were saying at the convention, including the premier and several MLAs. Your experience also conflicts with the message from the Surrey byelection in which Indo-Canadian voters, in large measure, abandoned the Liberals. If there is evidence that Indo-Canadians, Chinese-Canadians and other ethnic voters are returning to the Liberal fold, I would be happy to report that. I have forwarded your letter to the Sun's letters editor. Thank you again for your comments. Write anytime.
Jim Beatty, Vancouver Sun,
c/o The Press Gallery,
From: Vaughn Palmer
To: BARINDER SALL
Date: Tue, 09 Nov 2004 12:02:13 -0800
thank you for the note and comments. I've spoken to a number of representatives of the indo-Canadian community - including several who spoke to me at the convention - who'd disagree with your assessment. but i do appreciate hearing your side as well.
Vancouver Sun Victoria Columnist
Thanks for your return email, but for Vancouver-Fraserview we had 25 Indo-Canadian delegates, they were all mid 20s-early 30s and when these guys met the Premier, they said "we don't care about board appointments, we just want a good economy for our businesses, a good health care system for our families." I think there is a generation clash here between the older and younger indo-Canadians. As these older guys want to be recognized, want fame, and I think maybe a sovereign society...lol...while the younger guys rather operate discretely, spend time golfing and enjoy life with their families.
Vaughn the funny part is the people doing the negative talking are the same people talking when Herb Dhaliwal was in office - he wasn't doing enough for the community, and Ujjal Dosanjh as Premier - he wasn't doing enough for the community. Give it some time and you will hear the same about Paul Martin
I will give you an example, when our 'community leaders' meet the Premier they say what you doing for the Indo Community? What I say is give us some ideas what you want us to do, and not one person has an idea to go with. We have some great organizations such as Virsa, and United, the reason they are doing well is because its young people at the helm, looking to make a positive change with solutions.