COLUMN: Grewall led the way for future politicians

Now that the election is over and the country has spoken, the ashes of Trudeaumania have risen again in the Fraser Valley.

  • Nov. 7, 2015 9:00 a.m.
(From left)  Tok Herar

(From left) Tok Herar

On the Spot by Ken Herar

Now that the election is over and the country has spoken, the ashes of Trudeaumania have risen again in the Fraser Valley. Pierre and his son Justin have a unique relationship here in the Central Fraser Valley. It was in 1968 that the federal Liberals last sent a person from the Fraser Valley to Ottawa under Pierre Trudeau’s red wave that swept the nation.

His name was Jerry Pringle, who did one term for the Abbotsford area. Forty-seven years later, Trudeau’s son Justin would carry the red flag again in the Valley and send Jati Sidhu, who recently captured the Mission-Matsqui-Fraser Canyon riding on Oct 19. You have to give credit to Sidhu, who ran in 2000 in the Dewdney–Alouette riding, which is part of the new riding. He also ran a few other times for political office and narrowly missed being elected. It is that perseverance and staying in the political game that makes winning a reality.

All of this shapes our future, just like when Naranjan Grewall became the first South Asian to be elected to public office in Canada in 1950. He was awarded with “The World” in the pioneer category at the 100 Year Journey at the South Asian Gala on Oct. 3 in Vancouver. He also became mayor of Mission City in 1954 and later ran for the CCF in 1956. The award will reside at the Centre of Indo-Canadian Studies.

Mark Evered, president of the University of the Fraser Valley, accepted the honour on his behalf, saying: “I am pleased to accept this honour on behalf of the communities served by the University of the Fraser Valley. Naranjan Singh Grewall’s pioneering leadership in Mission and his service to our province have been an inspiration to many. Tonight’s event is about remarkable journeys, but it is also about remarkable legacies. Mr. Grewall’s legacy includes those next-generation Indo-Canadian leaders who have continued to play such a vital role in the development of the Fraser Valley. It is those next-generation leaders who have also guided and supported the establishment of UFV’s internationally recognized Centre for Indo-Canadian Studies, our Chair in Canada-India Business and Economic Development, and our campus in the Punjab, linking Mr. Grewall’s birthplace and his adopted home.”

I remember doing all the research back in the mid 1990s and showcasing his life on many occasions and presentations during the past 20 years; otherwise, it was pretty much archived information. He played an important role in our community and country.

Naranjan Grewall, Moe Gill, Jati Sidhu and Kelly Chahal, who became the first South Asian female to be elected to Abbotsford council in 2014, have all become political game-changers in the Valley for the future generations.