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Former MP to seek Conservative nomination in new riding

Former Surrey MP Gurmant Grewal is one of the candidates for the Conservative nomination in  the new Cloverdale-Langley City riding. - Contributed photo
Former Surrey MP Gurmant Grewal is one of the candidates for the Conservative nomination in the new Cloverdale-Langley City riding.
— image credit: Contributed photo

Three-term former MP Gurmant Grewal  is seeking the Conservative nomination in the new riding of Cloverdale-Langley City.

While word of Grewal’s interest in the nomination came out several months ago, he hasn’t been actively campaigning for the nomination. He said in a recent interview that he is waiting until the House of Commons formally adopts the Electoral Boundaries Commission report that creates the new seat.

That is expected to take place sometime soon, in the parliamentary session which began in October.

Other declared candidates for the nomination are Dave Hayer, who served as BC Liberal MLA in Surrey-Tynehead from 2001 to 2013,  businessman Paul Brar and longtime Cloverdale resident and community activist Mike Garisto.

All four candidates are Surrey residents. Grewal said he expects at least one Langley resident to also enter the nomination race.

Grewal was first elected to the House of Commons as a Reform MP in 1997 in the Surrey Central riding, which included Cloverdale. He was re-elected in 2000 with the Canadian Alliance, and again in 2004, this time as a Conservative, in the new riding of Newton-North Delta. His wife Nina was elected the same year as Conservative MP for Fleetwood-Port Kells, a position she still holds. Gurmant Grewal did not run in the 2006 election.

In his years as MP, he took a special interest in foreign affairs and government regulations. Gurmant Grewal was born and grew up in India, and the Grewals lived in Liberia in West Africa before coming to Canada in 1991. Both have a special interest in Canada’s place in the global economy. He was senior foreign affairs critic with the Alliance, and deputy opposition house leader. In his time as an MP, he met with 55 different presidents and prime ministers.

He worked together with Progressive Conservative MPs on a committee to create the new Conservative Party.

He also chaired a parliamentary committee which looked at regulations drafted by government departments after the passage of bills in Parliament — the actual way that laws are applied to citizens in their day-to-day dealings with the federal government.

Grewal plans to begin a membership drive once the new riding is formally created and a Conservative Party riding association in the riding is set up. He expects a vigorous race for the nomination. A nomination meeting will probably take place in early 2015, he expects, with the federal election scheduled for October, 2015.

He says his strengths as a candidate are his expertise in foreign affairs and his interest in keeping the regulatory burden on businesses and individuals manageable.

“The world is becoming more of a global village every day,” he says. “We need experienced people. Canada can play a significant role in the world.”

He has worked for multinational companies, been a university professor in Liberia, run a small business and been a consultant. He believes his wide-ranging experience, including his past parliamentary experience, gives him an advantage in the nomination race.

The new riding will include Langley City and a sliver of Langley Township west of 200 Street, from the City border north to Highway 1.

It also includes Cloverdale and Clayton in Surrey, and stretches as far west as 144 Street.

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