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Indo-Canadian confident of victory in polls

Gurbax Malhi, considered close to PM Paul Martin, represents the Bramalea-Gore-Malton riding in Ontario that has a large Indo-Canadian population.

india Updated: Jan 12, 2006 11:39 IST
Indo-Asian News Service
Indo-Asian News Service

Gurbax Malhi is among several Indo-Canadians belonging to the Liberal, Conservative and New Democratic Parties who are all ranged against one another in the January 23 federal elections.

Malhi, considered close to Prime Minister Paul Martin, represents the Bramalea-Gore-Malton riding in Ontario that has a large Indo-Canadian population and is adjacent to Toronto.

The Liberal Party had to call a re-election midway into its term as a minority government when the opposition passed a no-confidence motion against the prime minister last month.

Malhi, who has been re-elected safely since 1993 when he was first sent to the House of Commons in Ottawa, says he is confident of being elected again.

"Only two more weeks to go. We are working hard. They (opposition) called the election. That was in the past. Now we are looking forward," Malhi told the agency.

He said the overriding issue in his riding was crime. "More and more, people are concerned about this and asking us to do something."

Toronto, once considered a relatively safe, residential city, unlike New York City, has become the place where several gangs, both ethnic and drug-related, operate and news of killings and shootings have become a daily affair.

"The Greater Toronto Area - GTA - this is the problem. When we go door to door, people express this."

But he is optimistic he will return. "It feels very good. We expect to get elected for the fifth time," he said.

Malhi had expected to be named to Martin's cabinet, but that did not happen. Asked whether that bothered him, Malhi said: "Well, there are so many reasons. Some regions want more representation from there. For example, they want more from the BC (British Columbia) region so that they can track appointments to the Liberal Party."

Even in Ontario, his province, he said there were myriad interests that had to be satisfied. Martin had appointed former BC Premier Ujjal Dosanjh as his health minister and Dosanjh was expected to pull in more Liberal support in his state.

"It's hard to please everybody. They have to think of so many things - male, female..."

Besides, he noted: "I have been parliamentary secretary since 2001. First, I was parliamentary secretary to the minister of labour, then the minister of human resources, then to the minister of industry, and now to the minister of revenue. So I am happy. I have all the time been able to help the ministers."

First Published: Jan 12, 2006 11:39 IST