VANCOUVER: The Times of India Film Awards being held in Vancouver next month have unleashed a political scandal in British Columbia province whose government is being accused of spending $11 million to $15 million to bring the event to Vancouver from April 4 to 6.
Critics and the Opposition allege that the ruling Liberal Party pf Premier Christy Clark is using government money to woo Indo-Canadian voters before the May provincial elections by bringing the Times Film show to Vancouver.
Demands are mounting for Premier Christy Clarke to resign as the opposition New Democratic Party (NDP) has released a leaked memo about the ruling Liberal Party’s alleged plans to use government resources to woo Indo-Canadian voters.
The Premier’s deputy chief of staff Kim Haakstad, who was the brain behind the leaked memo, resigned over the issue on Friday.
On Sunday, a group of 89 Indo-Canadian members of the ruling Liberal Party called upon their Premier Christy Clark to resign for making “the ethnic vote a joke in BC.” BC stands for British Columbia which is home to a huge population of south Asian descent, mostly Punjabis. And the post of a premier in Canada is equal to that of a chief minister in India.
The Indo-Canadian group slammed their party’s government for spending taxpayers’ money on the Times of India Film Awards show “which has no relevance in B.C (British Columbia) economy, culture or adaptation.”
A member of this Indo-Canadian group, Vikram Bajwa, who is also an office-bearer of the Indian Overseas Congress (wing of the All-India Congress Committee), said his contacts in India have told him that Premier Christy Clark bid for the Times of India event rather than the International Indian Film Awards (IIFA) because the latter would be held in June – a month after the British Columbian assembly elections.
“Why should an average B.C. resident pay through their tax dollars $11 million to $15 million for a bunch of Indian movie stars to come here for a day?” said Bajwa.
He said, “We felt as Liberal members that this is going to backlash on our Indo-Canadian community during the run-up to and after the election. Most of the Indo-Canadian candidates in the Lower Mainland (Vancouver area) feel that they would lose because of this issue.”
Bajwa said since “Premier Christy Clark made the deal for the Times of India Awards, she should be coming forward and show some leadership qualities and resign.’’