It was a long-held Liberal seat.

Then the NDP stole it in 2017 by less than 2,200 votes.

And now, there's a battle between the two parties to claim Surrey-Panorama in the Oct. 24 provincial election.

"This election is going to be very competitive," says Liberal candidate Gulzar Cheema.

He is running against the NDP's Jinny Sims.

Both have extensive political experience and both think health care is the top issue in their riding.

"We have a growing population and Surrey needs a new hospital," says Sims, who adds that Surrey Memorial is considered one of the busiest hospitals in Canada.

"You could spend three days lying in the hallways with a senior waiting for a bed," she told CTV News.

She says the NDP is committed to fulfilling its promise for a new hospital in Surrey and she hopes construction will begin by the end of 2021.

"The architects have been hired. They're doing their blueprints," she says.

But Cheema thinks the NDP's promise is hollow.

"They said we will have a hospital. They don't have a plan. They don't have money as part of the budget," he says.

For his part, Cheema thinks better and more timely access to mental health and addictions services is the top issue for people in Surrey.

"As a family physician, I see on a daily basis the destruction it has caused for many families in many communities," says Cheema.

"I believe we should have a centre of excellence where we can develop these services," he says.

But while health care is top-of-mind for the candidates, it could be policing that swings votes during this election.

The Liberals are promising a referendum on policing as Surrey moves from the RCMP to a municipal force.

"Every person who has a voting right in Surrey should have the final say," says Cheema.

But Sims says the provincial government's job in the matter is to ensure the transition is done safely and doesn't put the public at risk.

"Mr. Wilkinson is once again playing games with people of Surrey," she says.

Sims says she hopes people will look at her track record when they vote.

"When I first came here, people felt they were the poor cousins who didn't get the investments that Surrey deserves, and now it's exciting to drive around Surrey and see all the development that's going on," she says.

But Cheema sees things much differently.

"I think Surrey has been totally ignored," he says.

Cheema was a B.C. MLA from 2001 to 2004 and also served as a Member of the Legislative Assembly of Manitoba before that.

Sims was elected in 2011 as the MP for Newton-North Delta, then in 2017 becoming the MLA for Surrey-Panorama. She served as the minister of citizens' services but resigned from her cabinet post in 2019 after allegations of criminal wrongdoing.

She was accused of using personal devices for government business which is not allowed. An investigation found no evidence to support the accusations and no charges were ever laid.