The spectacular win of Liberals in the recent federal elections wasn’t only a jolt for the Conservatives but the results have also come down as a big shock to the moderate group within the local Sikh community.
A section of moderates openly supported the Conservatives in the Vancouver South riding which has a sizable Sikh population. Instead of supporting Harjit Singh Sajjan, the newly elected Liberal MP, they supported the outgoing Conservative MP Wai Young. This is despite the fact that Sajjan is a practicing Sikh, whereas Young is of Chinese origin. Sajjan is the son of a former World Sikh Organization (WSO) leader.
WSO is a lobby group that once supported the demand for a Sikh homeland.
The moderates were upset over the nomination of Sajjan as a Liberal candidate. They were rallying behind Barj Dhahan, a prominent business tycoon whose nomination was rejected. After accusing the Liberal Party of favouring Sajjan under WSO pressure, they publicly announced their disassociation with the Liberals. However, both the Liberal Party and WSO denied these allegations. Ironically, the Sikh fundamentalists had supported Young in the 2011 election to defeat the then Liberal MP Ujjal Dosanjh- who is a known critic of religious extremism.
In Surrey Newton too, a section of moderates supported the outgoing New Democrat MP Jinny Sims over Liberal candidate Sukh Dhailwal, who was defeated by Sims in the previous election But Dhaliwal defeated Sims with a big margin.
The moderates had turned against Dhaliwal before the previous election for supporting a petition seeking justice for the victims of anti Sikh pogrom of 1984. The moderate group had accused Dhaliwal of pandering Sikh fundamentalists, an allegation Dhaliwal had vehemently denied.
Vancouver, Liberals, federal elections, Justin Trudeau, Conservatives, Sikh community, Harjit Singh Sajjan, Wai Young