If Rasode enters the race situation would be dramatically changed and the course of future of this city will be decided, either with or without her winning a race, but her voice will be highly important and valued. She will find herself faced with many struggles, obstacles and problems which will require solution if she wants to lead this city over the next term. Election campaign of 2014 will be of especially significance for Barinder Rasode because she will be first South Asian women with fair chances to become a mayor of a North American city in the history.
It is well known that she left Surrey First coalition in early 2014 due to numerous reasons but many are related to the current security situation in the city and the state of our democracy processes. Also her departure mean that fight for new mayor of Surrey will be placed in different environment then it was up to now. Rasode will come in the race as very engaged councillor, speaker, avid community worker, tireless activist, never stopping user of social media and someone who’s not afraid to break a ranks to be on the side of the community.
Behind herself at the moment she has some of the most successful community projects including one-time series of town halls which for the first time in a decade involved community in consultation with municipal government. She also helped creation and implementation of Community Summits which engaged more than 30 different local organizations. Councillor Rasode is also creator of unique program, Rakhi project, which fights against domestic abuse. She’s also known as politician who’s not afraid to face people and to discuss all important issues but also as someone who has friends and collaborators among other municipal and provincial leaders on all political sides. Unfortunately that’s not case at the moment and that created numerous problems to this city over the last three or four terms which is more than a decade in calendar years.
What else Rasode will bring to the race and to the city if she’s elected is openness and accountability. Once she saw that her Council will try and hide from community in moments when public safety was one of key concerns she stepped out and spoke. As someone who spent years covering politics on two continents I was absolutely stunned when on CKNW radio, in conversation with Jill Bennett and myself, Rasode accepted her fair share of responsibility for what happened(s) in Newton. She also acknowledged that as chairwoman of Police committee she didn’t have enough power to bring changes to our current policing situation, and that was one if the reasons why she was demoted. Rasode was not only demoted but she was also silenced by the city, avoided even when she was acting mayor to be placed on any official duty.
Recently she stepped even more in the community with creation of a unique place called Surrey Community Hub. This place, until it is transformed into her campaign office, will be gathering place of all people who care about Surrey and who want to have their voice heard. Already opened it’s doors to GLGBT youth community, organized first ever Organized Crime Dialogue in front of 150 people. Organized Crime Dialogue brought together representatives of law-enforcement, ex-gang members and representatives of all community branches to discuss all aspects and effects of crime on our society. Rasode and her small team of very dedicated individuals, mostly volunteers are in the fact are doing what our city hall was supposed to do when ti comes to consultation process with citizens of this city.
Challenges to Rasode in this race will be such as being single mother of three coming from very patriarchal community. Running as an independent and not being funded through a well-established party system often plays very significant challenge when you’re running for office. In fact being a women from South Asian community will play significance on Election Day and will certainly draw some of people away from her and her campaign.Leaving Dianne Watts’ party might play against her, given Dianne’s former popularity, but also will play role in brining her face and words much far than those of her counterparts in this race. Attacks on her, not for the first time, will be exceptionally dirty and vicious from all political sides especially from her former colleagues at the Surrey First coalition. First round of those was already deployed on the day when she announced her resignation from Surrey First and came from her once close friend and ally now mayoral candidate Linda Hepner.
If she’s elected Rasode will be second successive female mayor of the city and will bring in different way of dealing with city issues. If elected on November 15 will have a great chance to bring all unfinished project to completion to start new ones and to keep city on the right track in transformation from suburb to great metropolitan area.