3 ministers among 49 Indo-Canadians in election fray


TORONTO: As many as 49 Indian-origin candidates are in the fray as Canadians will got to the polls on September 20 to elect a new Parliament.

In the last elections in 2019, 20 Indo-Canadians, including 19 Punjabis, were elected as MPs and four of them became Cabinet ministers. Among the 49 Indo-Canadian candidates this time, 16 are from the Conservative Party, 15 from Trudeau’s Liberal Party, 12 from Jagmeet Singh’s New Democratic Party (NDP) and six from the far right-wing People’s Party of Canada.

Three Cabinet ministers Harjit Sajjan, Bardish Chagger and Anita Anand are among the Indo-Canadian candidates. As in the past, it is the Punjabi versus Punjabi in many constituencies (ridings) around Toronto and Vancouver.

In four out of the five constituencies in Punjabi-dominated Brampton city outside Toronto, outgoing MPs Maninder Sidhu, Ruby Sahota, Sonia Sidhu and Kamal Khera are pitted against fellow Indo-Canadians Naval Bajaj, Medha Joshi, Ramandeep Brar and Gurprit Gill, respectively.

In Alberta, the Calgary Skyview constituency is also witnessing a multi-cornered fight among Jag Sahota (Conservative Party), Gurinder Gill (NDP) and George Chahal (Liberal Party). The Punjabi-dominated city of Surrey near Vancouver is also witnessing multi-cornered fights among Indo-Canadians in the Surrey Centre and Surrey-Newton constituencies.

Incumbent Defence Minister Harjit Singh Sajjan (Liberal) faces fellow Punjabi Sukhbir Gill (Conservative Party) in Vancouver-South. NDP leader Jagmeet Singh is also seeking re-election from Burnaby South in the Vancouver area.

Interestingly, six Indo-Canadians are also contesting for the extreme right-wing People’s Party of Canada which has become the fourth largest party in terms of national support. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called a snap election last month to seek a majority in the 338-member House of Commons as his Liberal Party was 13 short of the majority mark of 170. The latest opinion polls put Trudeau’s Liberal Party and the opposition Conservative Party almost neck and neck, raising the possibility of yet another minority government.

The Jagmeet Singh-led NDP is placed third in opinion polls and is likely to improve on its current tally of 24 MPs. The Maverick Party, the Marijuana Party and the Animal Protection Party of Canada are other fringe parties in the fray.

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