FORMER MLA Jagrup Brar, who lost to Liberal candidate, Langley Mayor Peter Fassbender, by around 260 votes, in Surrey-Fleetwood last May, announced on Thursday that he is running for president of the BC NDP to replace Moe Sihota.
He’s received endorsements from MLAs Katrine Conroy, Leonard Krog, Bill Routley, Norm MacDonald, Raj Chouhan, Harry Bains and Jenny Kwan, MP Jinny Sims, former MLA Corky Evans, Bill Tieleman, political commentator and former NDP executive member, and Louella Vincent, Second Vice President, Hospital Employee’s Union.
In a statement, Brar said: “The loss of May’s provincial election was a huge disappointment and a shock to NDP supporters and I am one of them. As a result, our party lost the trust of many New Democrats. I don’t blame them for losing trust; they were, and remain, angry and upset. Since the loss in May, many of those people have approached me and asked me to run for President of the BC NDP. I have been approached by party members and activists, as well as by people in business, labour and in our caucus. I continue to receive phone calls, visits and emails from supporters from across the province. Their faith in me and my abilities to help rebuild and steer our party onto a path of victory has been overwhelming.”
Brar added: “I have a passion for the BC NDP and I want to work to make our province a place where we all have quality of life. As president, I believe I will be able to put in place the building blocks that will bring back confidence and create excitement in the party. I am also committed to working with the next leader to lead the party to victory in the 2017.
“I believe the BC NDP is the best hope for a strong and vibrant British Columbia. Although the BC NDP was unsuccessful in winning the recent provincial election, I believe the party best represents the hopes and aspirations of most British Columbians.
“As President my goal would be to put in place an organization that would support the leader and caucus as they work to form government, along with making the party more inclusive, expanding the BC NDP tent, building stronger relationships with small business and viewing party policies through the Party’s Sustainable BC lens.
“Labour has played an important role as our partner in the party and I will continue to build on that relationship. It is also paramount that the party continue to advance the interests of women, youth, the disabled, Aboriginal people, and ethnic communities.
“In order to achieve these goals, it is necessary that the Party itself be strong and has the confidence of all members. To ensure this, it is critical that we upgrade the party’s technology and refocus its efforts on four main challenges.”
These are:
1. Restoring democracy and trust by valuing party members
2. Ensuring a fair and transparent leadership selection process
3. Strengthen and expand our party’s base
4. Organizing for victory in 2017: rebuilding our finances; upgrading technology; organizing with constituencies for election readiness; improve efficiencies in provincial office operations.
Brar said: “Since 2004, when I was one of three members in the Legislature, I have dedicated myself, and worked diligently, to rebuild our party from the loss in 2001. I am deeply committed to restoring democracy and building trust by handing back the decision making power to the membership and Provincial Council. As party president, i believe i can make a strong contribution to help us form government in 2017 and make BC a better place to live for everyone in all regions of our province.”
Brar has a Master’s in Philosophy and Public Administration. He was first elected MLA in a 2004 by-election and was re-elected in 2005 and 2009.