He has spent the past 25 years in Kamloops but Bill Sundhu still has deep roots in the Cariboo.
The lawyer and former provincial court judge grew up in Williams Lake, where he also practiced law, and spent much of his youth in Lac La Hache and 100 Mile House, working in lumber mills to pay for his university education.
“I’m a son of the Cariboo, it runs in my blood,” Sundhu said, adding his father came from India to settle in the Cariboo in the 1950s.
Sundhu is hoping his background, education and his time in the Cariboo and Kamloops areas will bode well as he seeks the federal NDP nomination for the Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo riding in the next federal election.
It’s not his first foray into politics: he previously ran in the riding in 2015, coming in second to Conservative MP Cathy McLeod with 21,466 votes.
McLeod, a four-term MP, recently announced she won’t run in the next election, opening the door to a fresh slate of candidates for every party. While no date has been set for the next election, Sundhu said there are rumblings that Trudeau’s Liberals could call it as early as this spring and “we need to be prepared.”
“I believe we’re at a crucial crossroads in our country,” Sundhu said, noting the pandemic has led to inequities across the region in terms of the economy, healthcare and environment.
“We feel there’s a good base here but it requires a good candidate and a good team. The decisions we make today will affect us for decades.”
Sundhu noted prior to the pandemic, half of Canadians were $200 away from being able to pay their bills. Privatizations and cutbacks over the years mean children are going hungry, while women are struggling to care for their families and elderly parents.
In 100 Mile House and Clinton, he said, some seniors having to decide whether to pay their rent and hydro or get their medications.
With the NDP, he said “we can reimagine Canada. We have the opportunity to begin that change here in Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo.”
“It’s about who’s going to be a strong advocate for our communities,” Sundhsaid. “I will fight for a fairer future for everybody.”