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Thursday, Nov 14, 2019

Record 23 Indo-Canadians make it to House of Commons, 18 have Punjab connection

A majority of the Indo-Canadians elected to the House of Commons have roots in Punjab, while a record half-a-dozen turbaned Sikhs will now sit in the House.

indians-abroad Updated: Oct 23, 2019 10:40 IST
Anirudh Bhattacharyya
Anirudh Bhattacharyya
Hindustan Times, Toronto
Canada’s minister of national defence Harjit Sajjan won from Vancouver South with a narrow margin in the country’s federal elections. He is among the 23 Indo-Canadians elected to the House of Commons.
Canada’s minister of national defence Harjit Sajjan won from Vancouver South with a narrow margin in the country’s federal elections. He is among the 23 Indo-Canadians elected to the House of Commons.
         

A record number of Indo-Canadians were elected to Canada’s House of Commons on Monday night, when the results of the federal elections were declared. As many as 23 Indo-Canadians were elected as MPs against the 21 elected in 2015, of which 18 had a Punjab connect.

Among the winners was minister of national defence Harjit Sajjan, who won from Vancouver South with a narrow margin. He will be joined in the new house by two of his Indo-Canadian cabinet colleagues — Navdeep Bains and Bardish Chagger, who secured more comfortable victories in their ridings of Mississauga-Malton and Waterloo, respectively, both of which are in the province of Ontario.

New Democratic Party (NDP) leader Jagmeet Singh also eked out a win in Burnaby South, in British Columbia. However, it may have been a bittersweet night for him since he led his party to an underwhelming performance, garnering just 24 seats, 20 less than four years ago.

The fourth Indo-Canadian minister in Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s cabinet, Amarjeet Sohi, however, will not be among those returning to the Parliament, as he was soundly defeated by his conservative opponent Tim Uppal, in Edmonton-Mill Woods, Alberta. Uppal was a minister of state in the government of former PM Stephen Harper, and had narrowly lost to Sohi in 2015, but turned the tables four years later.

All the Indo-Canadian members of Trudeau’s ruling caucus were re-elected, as the Liberal Party held on to its seats in the suburbs around Toronto and Vancouver. A majority of those elected have roots in Punjab, while a record half-a-dozen turbaned Sikhs will now sit in the House.

While most familiar faces will be returning to Ottawa, there are also some newcomers, such as Liberal Anita Anand, who was elected for the first time from Oakville, Ontario.