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New faces, backgrounds, voices, perspectives on Delta council

Newcomers say the mayor sought different perspectives and experiences
Jessie Dosanjh and Jennifer Johal are among the four new members of Delta Council.

"We're all community, one Delta, and this council represents that unity."

That's what newly-elected Councillor Jessie Dosanjh told the Optimist this week, following Achieving for Delta's sweep of the mayoralty and council seats in last Saturday's municipal election.

Dosanjh, who had been a Delta School Board trustee the previous term, is one of four new faces on council, along with Jennifer Johal and Rod Binder, as well as Daniel Boisvert, who also served on the school board the past four years.

They join re-elected Mayor George Harvie, Dylan Kruger and Alicia Guichon on a new-look council that Dosanjh says not only represents both North and South Delta but also diverse backgrounds and experiences.

What's more, Dosanjh and Johal represent a significant milestone in Delta municipal politics as the first people of South Asian decent to be elected to council.

"I'm very honoured to be part of Delta history. But again, I strongly say we are one and represent one Delta. I like to say the power in each of us comes from all of us," said Dosanjh.

He said the new council has a lot of different expertise and experience, bringing different voices to the table.

Noting he's honoured to have been asked by Harvie to be part of their team, and that Delta residents have put their trust in them, Dosanjh said he believes increasing the housing supply and providing police the necessary resources to maintain public safety are top priorities. He said those are issues which he heard most often come up as they knocked on thousands of doors over the past few months.

An enthusiastic Johal agreed, saying she's also proud being among the first two people of South Asian decent getting onto council, adding the new group is very well-rounded.  

She said Harvie carefully selected individuals who had different perspectives and come from different walks of life.

"When you have all of those components, voices are brought to the table and that's reflective of our diverse community of Delta, and so this is an opportunity I'm excited to be a part of. Our council should be reflective of Delta and that's what's happened here," she said.

"Thanks to all of Delta and we know we are representing everyone. This is an accomplishment for Delta all together, and it's a stepping stone for our youth and future generations to move forward and move upward...when it comes to the council, to have a diverse perspective allows for well-rounded decisions," added Johal.

Binder also said he's excited to be part of a council that has a wide range of backgrounds, experiences and diverse points of view.

"I guess the voters looked at the individuals and saw them as individuals, and not so much as a team, and the distinct faces and experiences and perspectives that were up there on that stage is something that Delta has never seen," said Binder.

"It wasn't about building a solid slate, it was really about building a group of people that brought diverse points of view and I think it somehow resonated with Delta," Binder added.

Saying they took nothing for granted and had been working hard over the past several months to hear from residents, Binder noted people appreciated being heard, another factor in the results at the polls.

Boisvert agreed that having different voices is important when it comes collaboration and decision-making.

“It’s not about a group that will toe the line. It’s about bringing different viewpoints and we might not agree,” said Boisvert.

The inaugural meeting of the new council takes place Nov. 7.