Punjabi Canadians won 18 seats in the recent election in Canada
October 26, 2015
By Ishani Duttagupta, The Economic Times |
In Canada’s newly elected Liberal government, under prime minister designate Justin Trudeau, Indian Canadians have notched up a record number of 19 seats. That’s more than double the seats they held in the previous government of eight. Of those 19, 18 are of Punjabi origin — five more than the 13 MPs elected from Punjab in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.
While many of these seats have been won in Canada’s largest province of Ontario, a hub for the Indian immigrant community, five of the winners are women. These include Anju Dhillon, a lawyer who contested for the Liberal Party from Dorval-Lachine-La-Salle and became the first Indian-Canadian to win a seat in the French-speaking province of Quebec. Fellow Liberal candidate Ruby Sahota, also a lawyer, won from Brampton North, a riding (constituency in Indian parlance) in Ontario, which has a large immigrant population.
Longest-serving south Asian MP Deepak Obhrai, who won for the seventh term from Calgary Forest Lawn as a Conservative Party candidate, believes that no government in Canada — Conservative or Liberal — can ignore the Indian community any more. “There were a large number of candidates of Indian origin in the fray across party lines [44 Indian Canadians contested of which 36 are Punjabi].
Those who have been elected come from diverse backgrounds and I hope they will all bring some unique value to parliament,” Obhrai said. He is, however, somewhat concerned that some of the candidates are freshers with no experience and may have rode a Liberal wave that swept the Canadian elections.
Sukh Dhaliwal, the newly elected Liberal MP from Surrey-Newton in British Columbia, of course, has no such concerns.
“Canada has always had one of the most diverse parliaments in the world. There is a long history of MPs who were born outside of Canada, and the Liberal Party was the first to appoint an Indo-Canadian as a Cabinet minister in 1997,” Dhaliwal said. He added that Indo-Canadians are prominent in public life across Canada with a large number of candidates for the recent elections from Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia.