A Kamloops businessman who served a short time as a city councillor is making a bid for the mayor’s chair as part of a rarely seen slate, one called Action 22 Kamloops.
Ray Dhaliwal, a 65-year-old third-generation Kamloopsian who owns Ray’s Lock and Key Service and who served on council from 2017 to 2018, said he registered Action 22 Kamoops as an electoral organization (civic political party) with Elections BC in advance of the Oct. 15 municipal election, which also happens to be his 66th birthday.
Elections BC confirmed to KTW it is reviewing the application to have Action 22 recognized as an electoral organization. Once approved, Action 22 Kamloops will be the 22nd such civic political party in B.C. and the only one outside of Metro Vancouver. The civic parties in Vancouver, Surrey, Burnaby, New Westminster, Burnaby, Richmond and Delta run candidates in city council, school board and regional district elections.
Dhaliwal said his right-hand man in business, Jamie Allen, has committed to running for council as part of Action 22. Dhaliwal said five Action 22 Kamloops candidates are solid and others are interested. He is looking for others to come forward — he stressed desire for women to put throw in their names — to complete a full, nine-member slate.
Action 22 is named after Phil Gaglardi’s Action 88 slate, the 1988 political party that saw Gaglardi elected mayor and the last such electoral organization to be registered in Kamloops.
In the 2014 election, five council candidates ran under a loosely affiliated Vision Kamloops campaign, but it was not officially registered with Elections BC, meaning candidates’ names on the ballot were not connected to a party name. Two of the five Vision Kamloops members are current councillors Dieter Dudy and Denis Walsh.
Asked his reason for running a slate, Dhaliwal said: “Because I know, for one, with the council that’s in there and I know, even if I am mayor, I’ll be an island if I get in there and the rest of council is there. If I want to make change, I have to bring the people that are like-minded, community-minded. None of us are going in for money, not even for fame. We just need to know we need to step up to do something for this community.”
Dhaliwal said the slate will have common priorities of accountability, communication and transparency. Dhaliwal criticized the city’s handling of selecting homeless shelter locations, specifically pointing to a lack of consultation around the Kingston Avenue shelter. He pledged to consult with the public prior to such decisions.
“One hundred per cent,” Dhaliwal said. “I’m a boots-on-the-ground guy, so I see a lot of regular people and that’s all they want. If there’s nothing you can do, fine, but at least come and tell them you’ve done everything you can and at least give them a little input. Be honest with them.”
Dhaliwal also noted to KTW concern around taxpayer spending. He pointed to $250,000 for scaffolding to install a mosaic display on the city’s Lansdowne Street parkade when he was on council.
Dhaliwal was, however, criticized for not speaking up when he served on council. Dhaliwal was elected in a Sept. 30, 2017, byelection, but lost in the Oct. 29, 2018, civic election after running a $200, self-funded campaign. Dhaliwal said this fall’s campaign will be better funded. He added that he would step aside from his business should he become the next mayor (which is a full-time job).
In addressing his quiet nature during his year on council, Dhaliwal said he was still learning and was told by another councillor that elected representatives rarely went against staff recommendations. Dhaliwal also said he reported to Kamloops RCMP an incident in which a well-known Kamloops resident allegedly assaulted him prior to him being sworn in to office.
More information on Action 22 Kamloops can be found on its Facebook page.
Dhaliwal and Kamloops Coun. Arjun Singh are, thus far, the only two mayoral candidates. Kamloops Mayor Ken Christian announced on Family Day he would not be seeking re-election.