Canada , October 20: It is Punjabis all the way. They have done it.
The new parliament now has three turbaned Sikh MPs as Tim Uppal of the ruling Conservative Party joins Gurbax Malhi and Navdeep Bains of the opposition Liberal Party in the 308-member House of Commons.
Uppal, the 34-year-old Canadian-born property investor, has been elected from Edmonton Sherwood Park for the first time.
Another first-time Punjabi MP is Devinder Shory, who has been elected from Calgary Northeast, beating two fellow Indian-Canadians – Sanam Kang of the Liberal Party and Vinay Dey of the New Democratic Party (NDP).
Shory, who is a practicing lawyer in Calgary, previously tried his luck in the Alberta provincial elections.
Malhi, who was the first turbaned Sikh to become an MP in Canada in 1993, is back in parliament for the sixth time.
“The secret of my success are my diverse constituents – 50 per cent of whom are white. I listen to them, I am where they want me to be and I raise their concerns in parliament,” Malhi said after his record victory.
Expressing happiness over the election of another turbaned Sikh, he said, “It is good to have more of our people in positions of importance. Tim Uppal’s election is good news for us. He will help spread the message about ourselves – who we are.”
In his new term, Malhi said, his priority is to facilitate Canadian visas for visitors from Punjab.
“Right now, the Canadian office in Chandigarh does not issue visas to most people. I introduced a motion on the issue in parliament last year for a bond system and I will do it again now,” he said.
The six-time MP said he will also introduce a motion to check fraud marriages by Indian-Canadians in Punjab.
“The motion will make it mandatory that if someone goes to Punjab to get married and bring his or her spouse, he or she should not be allowed to remarry for five years if they divorce after coming to Canada,” he said.
Deepak Obhrai, who was a parliamentary secretary in the last government, recorded his fifth victory in Calgary East seat, securing 66.5 per cent of the vote.
Chandigarh-educated Obhrai, who is expected to be given a higher position when Prime Minister Stephen Harper announces his new team soon, said, “It is up to the prime minister to decide. I am not sure about anything because there are many contenders.”
Canada’s first Indian-origin MP Nina Grewal was elected for the third time from Fleetwood-Port Kells in British Columbia province, as was fellow Punjabi Ruby Dhalla from Brampton-Springdale on the outskirts of Toronto.
Navdeep Bains retained Mississauga Brampton South and Sukh Dhaliwal Newton-North Delta for the Liberal Party.
Former Canadian health minister Ujjal Dosanjh managed to win by only 779 votes in Vancouver South, securing 16,774 votes as against 15,995 by Wai Young of the ruling party.
“We (Punjabis) are more than half a million among 33 million Canadians. To have nine Punjabi-origin MPs in the 308-member parliament is our big achievement,” said Balwant Sanghera of the Punjabi Language Education Association (PLEA) in British Columbia.
Canadians voted for a sharp change in their government, returning a legendary name for liberals, Trudeau, to the Prime Minister’s Office and resoundingly ending Conservative Stephen Harper’s near-decade in office.
Justin Trudeau, the son of late Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, became Canada’s new Prime Minister after his Liberal Party won a majority of Parliament’s 338 seats. Trudeau’s Liberals had been favoured to win the most seats, but few expected the final margin of victory.
Trudeau, tall and trim at 43, channels the star power — if not quite the political heft of his father — who swept to power in 1968 on a wave of support dubbed “Trudeaumania.”
Pierre Trudeau, who was Prime Minister until 1984 with a short interruption, remains one of the few Canadian politicians known in America, his charisma often drawing comparisons to John F. Kennedy.
Justin Trudeau, a former school teacher and Member of Parliament since 2008, becomes the second youngest Prime Minister in Canadian history.
Trudeau has re-energised the Liberal Party since its worst electoral defeat four years ago, when they won just 34 seats and finished third behind the traditionally weaker New Democrat Party. Trudeau promises to raise taxes on the rich and run deficits for three years to boost government spending.
His late father, who took office in 1968 and led Canada for most of the next 16 years, is a storied name in Canadian history, responsible for the country’s version of the Bill of rights.
A bachelor when he became Prime Minister, Pierre Trudeau dated actresses Barbra Streisand and Kim Cattrall and married a 22-year-old while in office.
Canada has shifted to the center-right under Harper, who has lowered sales and corporate taxes, avoided climate change legislation and clashed with the Obama administration over the Keystone XL pipeline.
“The people are never wrong,” Harper said. “The disappointment is my responsibility and mine alone.” Harper said he called Trudeau to congratulate him. The Trudeau victory will ease tensions with the US.
Although Trudeau supports the Keystone pipeline, he argues relations should not hinge on the project. Harper has clashed with the Obama administration over other issues, including the recently reached Iran nuclear deal