Surrey: Despite being democratically elected – the new Sikh Youth slate at the Guru Nanak Sikh temple was not allowed to take power after the losing slate led by “I-want-to-be-President-forever” Balwant Gill and his cronies brought out some technicality in an attempt to subvert the results.
“The Sikh Youth Slate is disappointed to announce that despite their best efforts, they have been unable to convince the outgoing executive of the Guru Nanak Sikh Gurdwara Society to give them an opportunity to take over as the Executive of the Surrey Gurdwara and bring about positive change in the community,” said a press release from the election winners. “
After failing to convince the “Sore Losers”, president-elect Amandeep Singh Deol and his slate have agreed to another election to determine the final outcome despite the fact that a British Columbia Supreme Court judge found that the election was conducted fairly. It’s ploy by Gill and gang to win now that the so-called two moderate slates have joined hands. But progressive Sikhs should back the Sikh Youths once again to send these dinosaurs packing!
The Sikh Youth Slate was elected to the Executive of the Surrey Gurdwara on November 23, 2008. The election was fair and no issues were raised with respect to the fairness of the election or the election results.
In the hearing that took place Justice Smart of the British Columbia Supreme Court on January 14-16, 2009, Justice Smart stated that there was no evidence before him to suggest that the election was conducted unfairly.
However, despite the fact that the Sikh Youth Slate was fairly elected, Gill, the outgoing President of the Gurdwara, as well as the entire outgoing Executive of the Society, have challenged the election of the Sikh Youth Slate on the basis that the Youth Slate was not duly nominated.
This challenge was brought by Gill two weeks after the election results were announced and has resulted in numerous hearings before Justice Smart in the British Columbia Supreme Court. Ultimately, Justice Smart found on February 3, 2009, that there was an irregularity in the way in which the Sikh Youth Slate was nominated Justice Smart did not make any findings of wrongdoing against the members of the Youth Slate. He stated that before he could come to any conclusion about the allegations made by Gill and the Society that there was any wrongdoing by members of the Sikh Youth Slate in connection with the nomination process, there would have to be a full trial. A trial of this matter could take eight months to a year to complete. Justice Smart encouraged the Sikh Youth Slate to consider consenting to a new election as a trial would be extremely costly and very lengthy.
“After carefully considering the best interests of the members of the Society, the Sikh community and the community at large, the Youth Slate advised Mr. Justice Smart on Friday, February 27, 2009, that it had decided not to proceed to trial on the understanding that there would be a new election,” Deol said in a release.
‘The Sikh Youth Slate ran in the November 23, 2008 election on a platform of ending conflicts at the Surrey Gurdwara and uniting the Sikh community. None of these goals were going to be achieved by continuing to litigate with Mr. Balwant Singh Gill and the outgoing executive of the Gurdwara. When the Sikh Youth Slate was elected to the Executive of the Gurdwara, Sikhs from around the world celebrated the election of young people dedicated to the faith and the community. Sadly, the Sikh Youth Slate was blocked from taking office by the outgoing Executive of the Society based on a problems that solely concerns the way the Nomination Forms were completed.
“The Gurdwara has already endured almost two years of litigation before the November 23, 2008 election. The Sikh Youth Slate believes it is wrong to ask the community to donate money to fund more litigation in these circumstances. The Sikh Youth Slate is mindful of the harmful effects of ongoing litigation on the members of the Society and the Sikh community. It did it's absolute best to take office without protracted litigation, but it is now apparent that short of protracted litigation, it will not be able to assume office.
“The community voted for the Sikh Youth Slate because it believes in the values and the platform that the Sikh Youth Slate ran on. The Sikh community knows that we only want what is best for the children in our community. We want the chance to make a difference.” The Sikh Youth slate ran on a platform of positive change for a positive future, with a commitment to avoiding petty politics of the past as those demonstrated by the outgoing Executive.
"I find it an absolute waste of the community's money litigating religious matters in court," said Ranj Dhaliwal, former Vice President-elect of the youth slate. "This shows how badly a change is needed. I guess this is our first test on the message we ran on during the campaign - we said we won't drag on lengthy court matters."
Deol echoed this message. "Our commitment is to the wellbeing of the community," said Singh. "We are concerned about the effect of gangs, drugs, crime and other dangers to our youth and we want to develop solutions for them as honest volunteers, not have petty squabbles" with people that have been running the Surrey Gurdwara for the last ten years.
The next court proceeding will take place on March 13, 2009. At this hearing, submissions will be made before Justice Smart about the Society's membership list and steps that need to be taken to ensure that the membership list for the next election is accurate and everyone that wants or wanted to become a member of the Society has the opportunity to become a member before the next election.