Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, October 20
History was made in Canada in the 42nd federal elections, results of which were out today. As many as 18 Punjabis have been elected as Members of the House of Commons (Parliament) of Canada. The number exceeds the figure of those elected from Punjab for the Lok Sabha (13).
Of the 44 Indo-Canadian candidates, 20 are elected to that country’s Parliament. This is the maximum number of Indo-Canadians ever elected. In 2008, 10 and in 2011, 8 Indo-Canadians were elected. First time in 1993, three Indo-Canadians made to Parliament. One of them was Gurbax Singh Malhi, the first turbaned Sikh to be elected.
The 17 Indo-Canadians belong to the Liberal Party, which gained a clear majority in the 338-member House. The party has won 185 seats, the Conservative, the outgoing ruling party, 100 and the NDP, which is the main opposition party in the incumbent Government, is placed third with 42 seats.
Among the prominent Punjabi winners are Navdeep Bains, Harjit Sajjan, Deepak Obhrai and Sukh Dhaliwal. Navdeep Bains and Sukh Dhaliwal had lost the elections last time but won this time. Four Punjabi women – Sonia Sidhu, Kamal Khera, Anju Dhillon and Ruby Sahota have also been elected.
Prominent losers are Tim Uppal and Bal Gosal, Devinder Shorey, Param Gill, Jinny Sims and Nina Grewal. Tim Uppal lost the election to Amarjit Sohi of the Liberal Party with a thinn margin of 80 votes in Edmonton-Mill Woods in Alberta.
There are five turbaned Sikhs — Harjit Sajjan, Raj Grewal, Darshan Kang, Navdeep Bains and Randip Sarai – who have been elected. Harjit Sajjan, who has been elected from Vancouver South, an area dominated by people of Chinese origin, is a serving Lt Colonel in the Canadian Army. He contested the election after taking leave. He led the Canadian Army in Afghanistan war.
Traditionally, Punjabis have been close to the Liberal Party, the reason the party put up maximum number of candidates from the community. The Liberals had nominated 20 Indo-Canadians in the elections and most were Punjabis. Of these, 15 Punjabis have been elected. Only two Punjabis have been elected on the Conservative Party ticket. They are Deepak Obhrai and Jati Sidhu. The best win is for Anju Dhillon, who won in a French-speaking constituency where Punjabi population is negligible.
The Liberal Party has promised to revoke C-24 Bill, which empowered the Canadian government to divest any immigrant, found involved in anti-Canada or any terrorist activity, of citizenship. The party has also promised to soften the C-51 Bill authorising the government to make arrest without issuing an arrest warrant in a terror-related case.
Those who made it
The list of Indo-Canadians elected to the House of Commons: Raj Saini, Raj Grewal, Kamal Khera, Ruby Sahota, Sonia Sidhu, Rameshwar Sangha, Navdeep Bains, Gagan Sikand, Yasmin Ratansi, Sukh Dhaliwal, Darshan Kang, Harjit Sajjan, Amarjit Sohi, Anju Dhillon, Randip Sarai, Deepak Obhrai, Jati Sidhu and Chander Aryan, Bardish Chaggar and Bob Saroya.