August 29, 2015 - 8:30 AM
KAMLOOPS – Bill Sundhu is running for parliament because he feels he owes it to his country.
“(Canada) gave somebody from my background a fair chance to get ahead. I had to work hard but I got help up the ladder when I needed it," he says. "I’m concerned that the choices and sacrifices of previous generations to build a country based on fairness and equality are in peril.”
Sundhu is the New Democratic Party candidate in the Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo riding. Although this is his first time running, he is very confident about his chances. Sundhu believes the real race is between himself and Conservative incumbent Cathy McLeod.
“I do believe the Conservatives are worried about my campaign. I think I’m a formidable candidate,” he says.
The 57-year-old married, father of two grew up in Williams Lake in humble circumstances. When he was ten-years-old his father became permanently disabled. His mother took on odd jobs cleaning floors and dishes to make ends meet.
Sundhu received his law degree from the University in Windsor. After articling in Kamloops, he returned to Williams Lake to set up his practice. He worked as an advocate for immigrants, women, first nations, and workers before receiving a provincial court judgeship at the age of 37. He was on the bench for 11 years before he resigned from the judiciary in less than auspicious fashion in 2007.
“I was an infrequent drinker, but when I did drink, in hindsight, I was a person who couldn’t handle it.”
The last drink he ever had was February 16, 2006 after an altercation in a hotel bar in Vancouver. Sundhu was arrested and charged with causing a disturbance and spent a night in the drunk tank. He says he was so intoxicated he doesn’t have any recollection of what happened.
Sundhu chose to see the humiliation as a positive. Without the incident he “wouldn’t have done the hard thinking.”
He left the judiciary and entered into a two year program studying International Human Rights at Oxford University. Sundhu is currently on the list of council in the International Criminal Court in The Hague.
“I love my work it’s very interesting, rewarding work… but I was compelled to run for political office because I’m very concerned about the direction of our country.”
Sundhu says the Harper Conservatives have eroded institutions and processes to the point where he doesn’t recognize his country anymore. He objects to “politicised” law making and vows as a MP to make choices based solely on evidence, not agenda.
He believes the issues in his riding as very similar to the country as a whole.
People in Kamloops need good jobs and they are concerned about the economy, the national debt and the struggling middle class. Sundhu thinks young people are becoming increasingly disillusioned by government, whether it be about issues of the environment or student debt. He also thinks people are very concerned about the erosion of democracy in Canada and the tactics of fear and division used by the Harper government.
Sundhu promises if elected he will represent the needs of the riding “as a person of conscience.” He understands a federal party’s need for discipline, but assures he’s no yes-man.
“What I would say is I’m very comfortable in the New Democratic Party, but ultimately anybody who knows Bill Sundhu knows he’s his own man.”
As “a person of conscience,” Sundhu says if his party would have supported Bill C-51 he would have resigned.
Sundhu is willing to fight for what he believes in and says he is ready to fight for a seat in parliament.
“I am prepared to debate Cathy McLeod wherever, whenever. I think she likes to avoid me.”
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2015