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Jinny Sims, Sukh Dhaliwal and Harpreet Singh in for tight race in Surrey-Newton federal election

02/04/2015 11:03 EST | Updated 04/06/2015 05:59 EDT
It’s still anyone’s guess when the next federal election will be called, but it’s becoming increasingly clear the race in the new riding of Surrey-Newton will be one of the tightest battles in all of Metro Vancouver.

Incumbent NDP MP Jinny Sims is facing off against former Liberal MP Sukh Dhaliwal and Conservative candidate Harpreet Singh

Over the past decade, the current riding of Newton-North Delta has been held by the Conservatives, Liberals and New Democrats, with the winner decided by a thousand votes or less in three of the last four elections.​

In 2011, Sims edged Dhaliwal by fewer than a thousand votes, and Dhaliwal only finished 73 votes ahead of the third place candidate, Conservative Mani Fallon.

But this this time around the candidates will be competing in a brand new riding called Surrey-Newton.

“There’s a huge change, we’ve lost North Delta,” said Sims.

“Delta is going to become a riding on its own. So, my riding has expanded into Surrey more. But I find it doesn’t really matter whether I do door knocking in one part of the riding or another. The issues are the same.”

Liberal candidate says tax scandal behind him

Dhaliwal was supposed to run for the B.C. Liberals in the last provincial election, but his candidacy died in 2013 when he was accused of failing to submit completed tax returns for one of his companies.

SFU marketing professor Lindsay Meredith expects Sims and Singh will press Dhaliwal hard on his legal history.

“One thing we do in politics is individuals always position the other guy,” Meredith said.

“You get votes two ways. You tell people you’re the nice guy — that’s called positive positioning — and they’ll vote for you. You also tell people don’t vote for the other guy. You scare them. That’s called negative positioning. That’s what could happen to [Dhaliwal] regarding his guilty plea.”

Dhaliwal doesn’t expect the case to have much of an impact on the election. He says he has moved on, and he believes voters have too.

“This was simply a late-filing issue,” Dhaliwal said.

“I admitted I made a mistake. As a director, I admitted I should have paid more attention to that company. I admitted that mistake, I corrected it and it’s all up to date. It’s time time to move forward.”

Long resumes, community experience asset for all 3 candidates

Name recognition shouldn’t be a problem for any of the candidates.

Sims is the former president of the B.C. Teachers Federation and Dhaliwal is a former two-term MP.

Singh is a rookie politician, but he is a well-known journalist and political commentator who hosts the Harpreet Singh Show on Joytv.

“I have been in the media for the last 23 years,” Singh said.

“I came back to Canada 12 years ago, and in India I was also in the media. Having worked closely with the politicians, bureaucrats and everybody else, I feel that my vision is much broader compared to the other candidates.”

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