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“I am a Canadian, free to speak without fear, free to worship in my own way, free to stand for what I think right, free to oppose what I believe wrong, or free to choose those who shall govern my country. This heritage of freedom I pledge to uphold for myself and all mankind.” ~~ John G. Diefenbaker

FORSETH – What the hell happened with Jas Johal last night?


 

In what can only be described as a series of questionable, and incendiary, comments last night, former radio personality, former BC Liberal MLA, and now again radio personally, Jas Johal post 25 Tweets slamming 6 BC Liberal leadership candidates for having concerns around a large number of problematic memberships.

Just in case they ended up being taken down, I copied all of them, and present them here unedited, and in the order he posted them:


Referencing a January 7th article in Business in Vancouver Johal stated:


What stupidity is this BC Liberals?”

It amazes me when South Asians sign up as members there always seems to be a problem for BC Liberals?

When Justin Trudeau signed up South Asians for his leadership run, did you hear any carping? When Jagmeet Singh signed up members in Brampton and Surrey, did New Democrats lose their minds?

When Erin O’Toole signed up members in the South Asian community, even a bunch of Conservatives didn’t flip out. When the BC NDP sign up South Asians do you think people are complaining?

The reality is South Asians – like many minority communities, have never been let in the through front door. Hence, they’ve created a role for themselves in leadership races since the 1980’s.

My experience in politics and media over the past 3 decades, tells me the front door or a seat at the table is not available to members of visible minorities in any meaningful way.

The only way for these communities, is to get involved in leadership races because it’s the only place for a level playing field in politics.

What’s happening here is what you call structural and institutional racism. Do you think this would have been an issue if 20,000 British Columbians of European descent had been signed up?

This party lives off the colour and culture of a 5000-year old civilization, but just enough. You wouldn’t want too many of these of people of colour around or having influence.

But somehow, a bunch of leadership hopefuls have now signed a letter expressing their concerns about membership.

Here’s what really happening. They’re panicking. They’ve realized Falcon and co have signed up around 60 percent of the new members. Granted, you still have to get these people out to vote, not an easy task, but this is significant.

So what if you have to throw POC
(people of colour) under the bus. Cost of doing business. Remember, about 50% of the new members are South Asian, about 20% are Chinese. Without minority communities this party is cooked.

While there are exceptions, South Asians generally have played a moderating role in Canadian politics. The DNA of the community never strays too far to the right or left.

But you don’t understand Jas, some of these homes have 20 people and one phone number. It’s referred to as multi-generational living, or as we Asians call it, living.

Here’s what the party should be concerned about. In 2011, had a membership list of 80,000. In 2018 it stood at 60,000, and currently it sits around 45,000. See a trend here?

With the release of census figures this year, the visible minority population in Metro Vancouver will hit 50% plus, yet institutions of power and authority don’t remotely come close to reflecting that reality. 

For a party that has continuously lost appeal in the lower mainland, with its diverse population, it’s not surprising that the candidates have struggled to attract visible minorities that make up such a significant part of Metro Vancouver’s population.

Kevin Falcon should push back hard at these allegations. At the very least he can do to support minority communities, or maybe he prefers to sit on his hands. The political ground underneath him has changed. It’s not 2008. He better figure that out.

Kevin Falcon is a former Surrey MLA, where he has built long relationships with South Asian organizers and the community. That’s what helping him now.

Is this your biggest issue as a party during this leadership run? It’s not the fact Ellis Ross’ campaign co-chair still can’t admit climate change is real?
(In this comment, Johal was referencing https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/john-rustad-carbon-dioxide-pollution-1.5990021)

It’s not the fact Ross advocated for a Facebook clown to enter a leadership race, whose content can at best be described as white nationalism lite?

Michael Lee agreed to this letter? The sheer hypocrisy is breath taking. The very people he’s complaining about, organized for him and signed up South Asians for him in 2018.

I could go on with the rest of the leadership hopefuls, but what’s the point. The BC Liberals are a rural rump of a party, with the demographics of 1970’s Canada. They shold ask themelves how they got here.

Whether it's the NDP, BC Liberals, or Greens or any other party, British Columbians need a strong opposition party to hold government to account. This is not how you get there.

As a person of South Asian descent, I think the BC Liberals should do minority communities a favour and just shut up now.

Where is Kevin Falcon? He needs to speak out or he’s part of the problem.

 

There’s a number of points which should be made, concerning what Johal had to say. Chief among them is that he himself was, and I’ll use the term he himself stated, a POC (Person of Color) candidate – and he wasn’t the only one running.

The fact that he and those other candidates weren’t elected comes down to two things, I believe, which had nothing to do with their ethnic background.  One, the voters didn’t see them as reflecting their values ... and two, perhaps the BC Liberal Party had in fact drifted too far Centre-Left and there were already the NDP and Greens over there. After all, why pick NDP lite, when you can get the real thing.

Additionally ... while it should make NO difference in who is selected, out of the seven candidates running, two candidates happen to represent a distinct part of the fabric of our province.  Michael Lee who is the son of immigrant Hong Kong parents ... and Ellis Ross, a member of the Haisla First Nation.

In his rant last night, Johal attacked both of these candidates by name.

He went on to target Ellis Ross for supporting the right of BC Liberal members to decide who they wanted to support, after a prospective candidate was refused entry into the race. I guess a question that should be asked of Johal is this ... "Should not rank and file members have the choice of deciding who they want to lead them?  Does Johal not believe they are smart enough, or intelligent enough, to make a sound choice?"

I guess for me the most important point is this.

SIX of the candidates all had concerns about ‘possible’ irregularities with membership sign-ups. With that in mind, should it not be incumbent on the party to ensure that all individuals voting in the leadership race should be properly vetted as legitimate members?

NO, it seems instead that Johal believes everyone is out to get Falcon, and it’s all part of some racist plot.

The BC Liberal Party has seen it’s share of seats in the BC Legislature decline over the past two elections; and there are many reasons for that. However, if the party wishes to have its best shot at returning to government, it won’t happen if British Columbians start off their relationship with a new party leader by questioning the legitimacy of their win.



What the hell happened with Jas Johal last night – why did he seemingly go off the deep end with his tirade.

I for one certainly would like to know – but better yet, I believe he owes the people of BC -- and the six leadership campaigns of Val Litwin, Stan Sipos, Michael Lee, Gavin Dew, Ellis Ross, and Rene Merrifield -- a sincere apology for what he had to say last night.

It was not, in my opinion, Johal’s best moment.

In Kamloops, I’m Alan Forseth

 


PS ... just in case you’re wondering what others had to say, and thought, about Johal’s tirade, here is just a sampling of what was shared online last night:

So you're accusing the first Indigenous person to come close to becoming Premier of white nationalism, eh? I've seen better takes.

You mean the guy who has way more influence than a washed up mla who spits hate at those he doesn’t understand. Oh not to mention you then act as a racist by calling someone you don’t agree with a racist. Liberals are brutal but you just embarrassed yourself.

After his race baiting tirade, @JasJohalBC proves once again that the #BCLP old guard holds such disdain for the lawful, honest membership who just want a genuine, above board leadership race. The establishment will do/say anything to sully the legitimate voice of members

I enjoyed your thread here Jas but you cherry pick the easy to refute points and ignore the more problematic points. Also the "just shut up" and look the other way position you advocate for does not instill legitimacy in ANY democratic process. Scrutiny should always be welcome.

This thread accuses Kevin Falcon's opponents of being white nationalists for questioning suspicious BC Liberal memberships without evidence. Absolutely unhinged.


Are you seriously calling @AaronGunn “white nationalism lite”? Are you willing to substantiate this? or are you just casually defaming others to tarnish not only their life but the reputation of the only indigenous candidate in the race. Hope Kevin’s promises to you is worth it.

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