Politics:  Now Jinny Sims wants to be Mayor of Surrey

Her appetite to serve her people has not satiated yet. She has already served as a Member of Parliament as well as Member of Provincial Parliament or Assembly. And now wants to be Mayor.

She is none other than Jinny Sims, one of most successful Canadian politicians of Punjabi descent. In case she succeeds in wearing the robe of  a Mayor, she will become the first Punjabi woman to have played all three roles, of an MP, of an MLA and a Mayor.

Normally, those getting into politics plan their growth by starting from their towns as Councillors and then Mayor before graduating into the provincial assembly as an MLA and finally reaching their ultimate destination, a place in the federal Parliament, the House of Commons.

But in case, it is going to be the other way.

Only other politician of Punjab origin to have done this is Amarjit Sohi, the incumbent Mayor of Edmonton. After serving on the Cabinet of Justin Trudeau as an MP, Amarjit Sohi returned to roots to serve as a Mayor of his home town Edmonton.

Now former NDP politician Jinny Sims  has announced  her decision that  she will enter the mayor’s race in Surrey. She has become  a notable new candidate to a civic-election campaign already filled with drama because of controversies surrounding the current mayor.

Ms  Sims, who has represented ridings in Surrey as a federal and provincial NDP member since 2011, said the problems surrounding Mayor Doug McCallum and his team are  the provocations  for her to make this decision. To serve her people and solve the problems facing them, she has decided to be in the running to represent the second-most-populous city in B.C. The town has a fairly large population of South Asian migrants, especially those of Punjabi descent.

“I’m doing this because city hall is broken. It lacks transparency. I’m running to bring fairness,”  Ms Sims said while making her decision known. She is  currently the MLA for Surrey-Panorama. Jinny Sims  started her political graph  as  president of the B.C. Teachers Federation in the 2000s when teachers were locked  in a protracted battle with the B.C. Liberal government.

Mayoral election is scheduled for October 15.

“It’s time to take Surrey forward. It’s a city that has so much to offer,” she says.

Her entry  in tumultuous, crowded campaigns in both Vancouver and Surrey ahead of the October Mayoral elections has added a new dimension. Various parties  are coming together  to challenge mayors  who, like councils, are perceived to be vulnerable and fractured.

 While announcing her decision to run for Mayor, Jinny Sims has floated Surrey Forward, a new party that, she says, plans to run a half dozen council candidates. Her party will be one of four parties competing in the run for Mayor and Council members. Her campaign manager, Stephen Carter, recently ran the successful mayoral bid of Jyoti Gondek, another South Asian migrant of Punjabi descent, in Calgary.

Interestingly, Alberta is the only province that has two incumbent South Asian migrants as Mayors. And Jinny Sims will be only second woman of Punjabi descent to run for Mayor.

Naranjan Singh Grewal was the first migrant of Punjabi descent to become Mayor in Canada. He was first elected to Council in Mission in 1950 and four years later became the Mayor of Mission.

Besides Amarjit Sohi and Jinny Sims, who remained MPs, before contesting the Mayoral elections, Bal Gosal, too, had tried to run for Mayor of Brampton. From 2011 to 2015 Bal Gosal  was  Member of Parliament for Bramalea-Gore-Malton, and as Minister of State for Sport in the Harper government. He claimed to remain  the longest serving Minister in that portfolio in Canadian history. While joining  the run for Mayor in Brampton he held that  he understood very well how to get results from the federal and provincial governments.

He was unsuccessful in the 2018 election  as he finished third while the incumbent Patrick Brown won and Linda Jaffrey was close second.

Ms. Sims is the third mayoral candidate to enter the fray in Surrey. Mr. McCallum will run again with his Safe Surrey Coalition party. Councillor Brenda Locke, a former B.C. Liberal MLA who broke away from Mr. McCallum’s party shortly after being elected, is also running for mayor and has formed Surrey Connect.