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Dosanjh says Ripudaman Singh Malik supports Conservative Wai Young

Vancouver South Liberal candidate Ujjal Dosanjh today lodged a complaint about his Conservative opponent, Wai Young, and the support she has allegedly received from Ripudaman Singh Malik, a businessman who was acquitted in the Air India bombing trial.

The complaint, signed by campaign director Braeden Caley, went to Canada Revenue Agency, the B.C. Ministry of Education, and Elections Canada. It read:

It has come to our attention that on Wednesday, April 6, 2011 the BC Khalsa School at 5987 Prince Albert Street in Vancouver held a meeting with teachers and school parents to support the campaign of Wai Young, Conservative Candidate in Vancouver South.

It is also our understanding that Rapudaman [sic] Singh Malik and Wai Young both attended this meeting and urged attendees to support her candidacy. Mr. Malik happens to be a director on the board of the school's governing society.

This meeting is of great concern to Mr. Dosanjh's campaign because it would appear that a school in receipt of taxpayer funding from the British Columbia government was and is being deliberately used to support one particular candidate, Wai Young, in this 2011 general election. It is our understanding that in 2009/10 Khalsa Schools run by the Satnam Education Society of BC received over $8 million in public funds.

In addition, Canada Revenue Agency rules prohibit registered charities from engaging in activities which "can reasonably be construed as intending to influence the outcome of the election."

According to its own website, the Khalsa School of British Columbia is sponsored by the Satnam Education Society of BC. The Canada Revenue Agency has the Satnam Education Society of BC listed as a registered charity, with a registration number of 107957805RR0001.

There are also reports that the BC Khalsa School is being used to call Vancouver South voters for advance polls for, and on behalf of Wai Young, on Friday, April 22.

We ask that this meeting, and the subsequent use of the school for active campaigning, be investigated immediately with all resources available to you.

The website of Khalsa School of British Columbia does not mention its board of directors or Mr. Malik, though it does state that "Khalsa School is a magnificent place for the beginning of a nation of Sikhs."

Ripudaman Singh Malik, a prominent businessman, and Ajaib Singh Bagri, were charged in 2000 with 329 counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of the passengers of Air India Flight 182 on June 23, 1985. On March 16, 2005, they were found not guilty.

Stories on the complaint have appeared in The Vancouver Sun, CBC News, The Star, and The Canadian Press.

Through her campaign, Wai Young issued her own news release, stating:

"I was invited to visit the Khalsa School by the school's Principal, not Ripudaman Singh Malik. Had I known he would have been present or was involved with the school I never would have attended. No one involved with this school or Ripudaman Singh Malik is involved in my campaign nor have I ever asked for his support. I strongly stand against terrorism and support the strong leadership by Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his government to fight terrorism.

"Throughout my campaign, I have met with as many constituents as possible so they can meet and learn about me in order to make an informed choice in this election. The Khalsa School was one of several schools which I toured and spoke at, both private and public. These have been excellent opportunities for the students and parents to engage in the democratic process and to learn more about myself, as the Candidate for the Conservative Party in Vancouver South."

Crawford Kilian is a contributing editor of The Tyee.

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