Longtime RCMP officer to run for B.C. Liberals in Surrey-Tynehead on platform of prudent spending

LARISSA CAHUTE
VANCOUVER DESI

Amrik Virk

RCMP officer Amrik Virk has also spent six years on the board of directors of the Surrey Memorial Hospital Foundation and served as vice chairman of the board of Kwantlen Polytechnic University. Jennifer Saltman/PNG

After 26 years policing with the RCMP, Amrik Virk is stepping down to throw his hat into the political realm.

As of Wednesday, Virk had taken a three-month leave without pay from the RCMP to run as the B.C. Liberal candidate in Surrey-Tynehead. If elected, he will officially resign from the force.

“This is just another type of service,” Virk said of his venture into politics. “I see it as a sort of a natural osmosis from one occupation to another.”

He believes his wealth of experience working with local communities will be the key to his success.

“In B.C. my exposure has been far beyond policing,” he said. “It’s listening and working with the community … you hear people and you listen to people and you hear their lives.”

In his nearly 30 years with the RCMP he helped develop the Integrated Gang Task Force and was active in youth and gang violence prevention throughout the Lower Mainland.

He also spent six years on the board of directors of the Surrey Memorial Hospital Foundation where he helped raise “tens of millions of dollars” for the hospital.

“(Healthcare) was totally foreign to me as a police officer, but this was connecting me to the community,” he said.

He also served as the vice chairman on the board of Kwantlen Polytechnic University.

“From public safety to healthcare to advanced education I’ve been very lucky to learn and sit with very learned men and women,” said Virk. “I’ve learned from (them) beyond public safety, beyond policing.”

And as for his platform with the B.C. Liberal party: “I look at it the way I was raised,” he said.

Virk grew up in Williams Lake, worked in mills to put himself through school and always had the help of his family.

“My family always put a little away in their pocket for the future,” he said. “That’s where I am.”

“That’s why I’m attracted to the Liberal party.”

Alongside the party, Virk hopes to diversify trade and end Canada’s reliance on the U.S.

“We cannot shut down our mine and our pipelines and our exports,” he said. “We must responsibly extract from this province, we must export and then with those gains we must plan for the future.”

Virk chalks it up to spending “within our means.”

“I am where I am because my community, my parents always spent within their means and planned for the future — always.”

Virk will be replacing current Liberal MLA Dave Hayer, who has decided not to run again after holding the riding since 2001, and will be running against NDP candidate Avtar Bains.

lcahute@theprovince.com
twitter.com/larissacahute

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