The Green Party candidate in Langley-Aldergrove has a family history that goes back four generations in the area.
Simmi Dhillon’s great-grandfather came to Canada to work building the railroads, and stayed to help establish a temple in Abbotsford.
Dhillon herself grew up in Surrey, and moved to Langley Township nine years ago to raise her son, she said.
After schooling, Dhillon became a legal assistant for the Department of Justice, where she worked on, among other things, Indian Residential School claims.
It was while working on those files that she first felt she needed to be an advocate for marginalized communities, Dhillon said.
A 2003 auto accident left Dhillon unable to work full time. She took a medical retirement and concentrated on raising her family.
Dhillon also said she has become a medical marijuana patient and advocate following her injury.
She said she has been involved in the issues around the shutdown of a Langley marijuana dispensary; it was created in 2008 and raided in 2011, though charges against the owner were dropped.
Although she has a passion for the local area and environment, Dhillon said she hasn’t been a Green all her life.
In fact, she was a Liberal for most of that time, and was even seriously considering running for that party in the Langley-Aldergrove riding.
She has since left the party, partly over local issues, and partly because of the Liberal stance on Bill C-51 and on the Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion.
The controversial proposed pipeline expansion is opposed by many local environmentalists, and by Dhillon.
“It was a lot of issues, but I think that was the iceberg,” she said.
Dhillon broke with the Liberals and moved over to the Green Party, where she said is a better fit for her.
Other issues of concern are seniors housing and making sure that students can get a university education while keeping tuition affordable, Dhillon said.
She also wants to ensure that First Nations people are treated as “real Canadians,” including the local Kwantlen First Nation.
The federal election takes place on Oct. 19.