Aman Singh becomes first turbaned Sikh to be elected to British Columbia assembly
Singh, who was born in Hong Kong, came close to attaining the feat of being elected an MLA in 2017, but lost by just 134 votes to Jas Johal of the Liberal Party. The latter is also Sikh but does not wear a turban.Updated: Oct 25, 2020, 13:40 IST
Despite having elected Harjit Sajjan to the House of Commons leading to him becoming Canada’s defence minister, the province of British Columbia had never elected a turbaned Sikh to its own legislative assembly.
That changed on Saturday night, with human rights lawyer Aman Singh making history as he was projected to win the riding (as constituencies are called in Canada) of Richmond-Queensborough.
Singh, who was born in Hong Kong, came close to attaining the feat of being elected an MLA in 2017, but lost by just 134 votes to Jas Johal of the Liberal Party. The latter is also Sikh but does not wear a turban.
In fact, the province has even had a Sikh premier (equivalent of chief minister in India) in Ujjal Dosanjh, but he also did not sport a turban.
Singh was projected to win with about 47% of the vote and with a margin of less than 600 ballots.
The snap elections were called by BC Premier John Horgan, the leader of the New Democratic Party (NDP) provincial government, as he sought to turn a minority into a majority. He succeeded in that objective as the NDP captured 55 seats, a gain of 14, while the Liberals lost 12 to total 29 seats.
The legislature has a strength of 87 members.
The outgoing government had two ministers of Sikh heritage in Jinny Sims and Harry Bains, both of whom were also re-elected.
Overall, eight MLAs of Indian-origin were elected to the assembly this time, as against seven previously.
Among other prominent winners was Nikki Sharma, a Hindu with roots in Punjab, who emerged victorious from the riding of Vancouver-Hastings and Ravi Kahlon from Delta North, who was a Parliamentary Secretary.