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November 11, 1999
He Fights to keep His Father's Legacy Alive
A P Kamath in Vancouver
Dave Hayer, the son of slain newspaper publisher Tara Singh Hayer, has announced his bid for the Liberal Party nomination for the new assembly district of Surrey-Tynehead.
Dave (Sukhdev) Hayer, a Surrey businessman and former head of the Surrey Chamber of Commerce, who is in his late 30s, said he is seeking the nomination because he wants to be part of a change in government in British Columbia.
An agenda close to his heart is that of introducing and enforcing tough anti-terrorist laws.
Tara Singh Hayer, 64, publisher of the Punjabi weekly Indo-Canadian Times, was murdered last November 18 in his garage as he was moving from his car to the wheelchair he had used since a 1998 attempt left him paralyzed.
Once a supporter of the Khalistan movement, the older Hayer had turned his back on fundamentalists, backed the liberals who wanted to use chairs and tables in gurdwaras, and, in the process, invoked the wrath of then Akal Takht jathedar Bhai Ranjit Singh, who excommunicated him.
"My father knew they would come to get him," Dave Hayer, whose life has also been threatened, said. "But he believed in doing the right thing."
Hayer said when the Canadian laws were enacted they had no idea "vicious men and women" from abroad will find means to escape them, he added.
While no one has been charged with the killing, last July the Surrey Royal Canadian Mounted Police identified an Edmonton member of the International Sikh Youth Federation as a suspect. But the suspect says he was shoveling snow in Edmonton, several hours drive from Surrey, the night Hayer was killed.
Hayer's son believes many people, who know details of the murder, are afraid to co-operate with the police because the extremists threaten them not only in Canada but also remind them that their families in India could be in danger.
He is behind a movement to send back convicted terrorists to their home countries.
"We want to go in there and make a difference,'' said Hayer, a long-time Liberal.
While Hayer is the only declared Liberal vying for the nomination, it is expected he will face a challenge for the nomination from lawyer Tarsem (Tony) Bhullar.
Dave Hayer's friends believe he is a shoo-in candidate.
"He is good for the Indo-Canadian community and he is good for the Canadian community," said an admirer who sought to remain anonymous.
"He has guts, he fights against fundamentalists, and he wants to show Sikh youth that you can be a good Sikh and still be part of the mainstream."
Dave Hayer said his father would have been thrilled with his decision to run for public office.
"My dad would have been very proud. He talked to me so many times about this in the two years before he was killed,'' Hayer said.
"He said newer immigrants, in particular, have to get involved to make a difference."
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