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HomeBusinessSOGI foe promotes campaign to recall NDP education minister Rachna Singh

SOGI foe promotes campaign to recall NDP education minister Rachna Singh


Bob Mackin

Elections BC has given the green light to the 30th recall petition in B.C. history. 

On Nov. 24, it announced proponent Gurdeep Jassal of Surrey will need signatures of at least 11,811 voters between Nov. 30 and Jan. 29 to unseat NDP Surrey-Green Timbers MLA Rachna Singh.

NDP MLA Rachna Singh and Seattle socialist councillor Khama Sawant (X/Singh)

The “” website includes a statement critical of Singh for allowing the teaching of sexual orientation and gender identity in B.C. classrooms. 

“Education Minister Rachna Singh has been approached via email and phone calls to her office by various people and organizations, but there simply has been no response,” the website states. “This isn’t acceptable. Education minister must be accountable to parents as is the intent of the education in British Columbia.”

The Recall and Initiative Act states that any registered voter can pay $50 and provide a statement of 200 words or less explaining the reasons why the MLA should be ousted. Once approved, registered canvassers must collect signatures from at least 40% of registered voters who were also registered to vote in the riding’s previous election. 

In 2020, Singh beat BC Liberal challenger Dilraj Atwal by 8,171 to 5,540 votes. 

The recall petition’s financial agent is Amrit Singh Birring, who finished sixth last year for the Surrey mayoralty, with 2,270 votes. Birring ran in 2021’s federal election for the People’s Party of Canada in Fleetwood-Port Kells. His 1,284 votes were more than 20,000 less than victorious incumbent Ken Hardie of the Liberal Party. 

Elections BC set $31,633.94 as the spending limit for both the petitioner and Singh, should she want to run a counter-campaign.

It is the third recall petition of 2023, after petitions against BC United MLA Dan Davies (Peace River-North) and NDP Premier David Eby (Vancouver-Point Grey) both failed. 

The campaign to unseat Davies received only 485 of the required 10,487 signatures in April. Eby opponents needed 16,449 signatures, but garnered only 2,737 by the March deadline.  

Recall petitions have officially failed all 29 times since the NDP government of Premier Mike Harcourt passed the direct democracy law in February 1995. 

Prince George North NDP MLA Paul Ramsey, the Minister of Education, Skills and Training, was the first recall target in 1997. The petition fell 585 signatures shy of forcing Ramsey out of of office and triggering a by-election. 

Petition organizer Pertti Harkonen cried foul after forensic accountant Ron Parks delivered a report that found Ramsey’s anti-recall campaign overspent by $3,288 and benefitted from union-funded phone canvassers. 

The 1998 petition to recall Parksville-Qualicum BC Liberal MLA Paul Reitsma needed 17,020 signatures, but ended up with 24,530. However, the official count was never completed because Reitsma resigned instead of becoming the first recalled MLA in B.C. history.

The Parksville Qualicum Beach News had caught Reitsma writing letters to the editor in praise of himself, under the pseudonym “Warren Betanko.” 

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