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19 Indo-Canadians elected to Canadian parliament

The 1.25 million-strong Indo-Canadian community had much to cheer about on Tuesday as it doubled its representation in the new Parliament with the election of a record number of 19 MPs.

world Updated: Oct 20, 2015 14:34 IST
Anirudh Bhattacharyya
PM-elect Justin Trudeau waves while accompanied by his wife Sophie Gregoire as he arrives to give his victory speech after Canada's federal election in Montreal.
PM-elect Justin Trudeau waves while accompanied by his wife Sophie Gregoire as he arrives to give his victory speech after Canada's federal election in Montreal.(REUTERS)

The 1.25 million-strong Indo-Canadian community had much to cheer about on Tuesday as it doubled its representation in the new Parliament with the election of a record number of 19 MPs.

Though comprising only about 3% of the population of Canada, the community outperformed those numbers. The new number of Indo-Canadian lawmakers far outstripped the previous high of nine.

In 2011, almost all the Indo-Canadians MPs were Conservatives, with no Liberals elected, reflecting the overall mandate. The triumph of Justin Trudeau catapulted at least 15 Indo-Canadian Liberals to the Parliament in Ottawa.

Read | Who is Canadian Prime Minister-elect Justin Trudeau

There will also be an overhaul in the ranks of the community’s MPs, with only a couple of sitting members re-elected. Indo-Canadians won seats in four provinces – Ontario, Quebec, British Columbia and Alberta.

Canadians voted out the Conservative Party by handing a landslide to the Liberal Party on Monday.

If there were significant victors among these candidates, the biggest loser was minister of state for sports Bal Gosal, who lost by about 6,000 votes to Liberal Party candidate Ramesh Sangha in Brampton Centre constituency of Ontario.

Among the prominent winners was Harjit Sajjan of the Liberal Party, a Canadian Armed Forces veteran who served three operational deployments in Afghanistan.

The longest-serving Indo-Canadian MP, Deepak Obhrai, won for the seventh time from Calgary Forest Lawn, while four-time MP Nina Grewal lost the elections.

Watch | Meet Justin Trudeau, Canada’s new prime minister

Also a winner was Sukh Dhaliwal, another Liberal, who as an MP in 2010 had moved a resolution in the Canadian Parliament to have the 1984 riots in India declared a “genocide”. Dhaliwal lost in 2011 but he turned the tables on his opponent, sitting MP Jinny Sims of the New Democratic Party, this time.

Some candidates emerged victorious in ridings (as constituencies are called in Canada) where the Indo-Canadian vote wasn’t a major factor. Among them was Liberal candidate Chandra Arya, a former executive and chair of the Indo-Canada Ottawa Business Chamber, who won from Nepean that falls within the boundary of Ottawa, Canada’s capital.

His party colleague, Anju Dhillon, won from Dorval-Lachine-LaSalle, a constituency on Montreal island, becoming the first Indo-Canadian to win a seat in the French-speaking province of Quebec.

Most Indo-Canadian victories came in Canada’s biggest province of Ontario as many seats in Brampton and Mississauga cities went to candidates from the community.

Some Indo-Canadian MPs

Anju Dhillon: Liberal, won the Quebec constituency of Dorval-Lachine-LaSalle

Chandra Arya: Liberal, won from Nepean in Ontario

Ramesh Sangha: Liberal, won from Brampton Centre in Ontario, defeating minister of state Bal Gosal

Gagan Sikand: Liberal, won from Missauga-Streetsville in Ontario

Deepak Obhrai: Conservative, won from Calgary Forest Lawn in Alberta

Harjit Sajjan: Liberal, won from Vancouver South in British Columbia

Sukh Dhaliwal: Liberal, won from Surrey Newton in British Columbia

Raj Saini: Liberal, won from Kitchener Centre in Ontario

Bardish Chagger: Liberal, won from Waterloo in Ontario

Bob Saroya: Conservative, won from Markham-Unionville in Ontario