How many Indo-Canadians will be MPs?
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How many Indo-Canadians will be MPs?

The 2004 polls saw seven persons of Indian origin or NRIs who made it to the 308-member House of Commons, writes Gurmukh Singh

india Updated: Dec 23, 2005 14:46 IST

What surprises will the upcoming federal election throw up as far as the Indo-Canadian community is concerned, is anybody's guess.

In the last polls in 2004, as many as seven persons of Indian origin or NRIs had made it to the 308-member House of Commons. That was the largest number of MPs from any coloured ethnic group in this multicultural society.

In fact, the Indo-Canadians had made a record of sorts in 2004 by sending two youngest members to Parliament and the country's first MP couple.

The two youngest MPs represented ridings in the province of Ontario and both won on the ruling Liberal party ticket. Twenty seven-year-old Navdeep Bains romped home in the riding of Mississauga-Brampton South while Ruby Dhalla won in Brampton-Springdale. Both these ridings have a huge presence of visible minorities.

In fact, Mississauga is one of the few ridings in this country to have more coloured voters than white voters.

Not only were Mr Bains and Ms Dhalla youngest of the lot but they were also the most qualified among the contestants. While Bains, who is the second turbaned MP in Canada after Gurbax Malhi, is a qualified MBA and CA, Ms Dhalla is chiropractic with deep involvement in social issues.

Will these two under-30 Indo-Canadians be able to make it to the august house again?

Interestingly, it is from Ontario province that Gurbax Malhi had become the first Indo-Canadian to be elected as an MP in 1993.

Malhi has won ever since and become a permanent feature of the House where he has established quite a few traditions such as the celebration of Vaisakhi. And this man played a key role in the celebrations of the tercentenary of the Khalsa in the Parliament in 1999.

Again, will this turbaned MP be again in the House of Commons?

If Ontario sent three Indo-Canadians to the House in 2004, British Columbia too sent in three MPs. These included Ujjal Dosanjh who was pulled out of his 'retirement' by Prime Minister Paul Martin to have a few heavyweights from western Canada in his cabinet team.

First Published: Dec 23, 2005 14:36 IST