Photo by Lorraine Graves
Cheers erupted from the less than two dozen Jas Johal workers assembled at Original Joe’s to await the election results.
Cheers every time a BC Liberal candidate pulled ahead in the polls according to eight of the pub’s TVs tuned to election results.
Cheers, reminiscent of a high school pep rally but this time, the stakes are much higher than a teen-aged basket ball game; it’s a provincial election and the winners decide the priorities for our province for the next four years.
Will it be more money for education? More money for jobs creation? A way to make homes affordable for ordinary families? Or the go-ahead for a bridge, a hydro dam, or other mega-projects?
Jas Johal held a small 175 vote margin over NDP's Aman Singh in Richmond-Queensborough after all ballot boxes were counted. According to Elections BC, the final result of the election won't be known until May 22, until the conclusion of the final count. CBC shortly after midnight declared Johal the winner.
If the election results hold, his first priorities as an MLA are going to be determined after he, “Gets the lay of the land provincially and I’ll go from there.”
When asked what he heard as he knocked on doors, listening to his future constituents’ concerns, Johal said: “Affordable housing, transportation, the hospital, transit and the ALR [Agricultural Land Reserve.]”
He added: “We must have a farming sector. Yes, yes, we have to have farmland,” he said.
When asked if he was in favour of the new Massey Tunnel replacement bridge even though it will mean sacrificing farmland he said, “The bridge plan is a good one but there has to be further discussion with the community.”
He also mentioned the need to consult with the First Nations affected by the plan as there are many conflicting court judgements about their rights.
When asked what word he would use to describe his feeling on winning tonight, Johal said, “Humble.”
Johal came to Canada as an immigrant, as the only child in his class who didn’t speak English; the government teacher taught him the language so well that he could earn his living from words. As he went off to greet other supporters, his weariness erased, the smile never left his face.