47 Punjab-origin candidates in fray for Canada polls

Liberal Party fields 17, Conservative 13 | Expats in face-off on several seats | Voting on September 20

47 Punjab-origin candidates in fray for Canada polls

(L-R) Harjit Sajjan, Anita Anand, Bardish Chagger and Jagmeet Singh

Sukhmeet Bhasin

Tribune News Service

Bathinda, September 7

As many as 47 Punjabis are trying their luck in the Canadian Federal General Elections for which the polling is scheduled to be held on September 20.

Prominent faces

  • Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan from Vancouver South
  • Minister Anita Anand from Oakvilla in Ontario
  • Minister Bardish Chagger from Waterloo
  • Jagmeet Singh, leader of New Democratic Party who provided support to the minority government of Justice Trudeau, from Burnaby South

In the final list of candidates, the maximum Punjabi candidates (17) have been fielded by the Liberal Party, followed by Conservative Party (13), New Democratic Party (10), People’s Party of Canada (5), Green (1) and one will contest as an Independent.

The 2019 polls also saw the same number of candidates, 19 of whom made it to the House of Commons. With 16 of the sitting MPs and a Punjabi-versus-Punjabi contest on several seats, their relatives back home are keeping fingers crossed. The prominent Punjabi NRI faces in the poll fray are: Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan from Vancouver South, minister Anita Anand from Oakvilla in Ontario, minister Bardish Chaggar from Waterloo and Jagmeet Singh, leader of New Democratic Party (NDP) who provided support to the minority government of Justice Trudeau, is seeking reelection from Burnaby South.

The Liberals have fielded Ruby Sahota (Brampton North), Sonia Sidhu (Brampton South), Kamal Khera (Brampton West), Anju Dhillon (Dorval-Lachine-LaSalle), Randeep S Sarai (Surrey Centre), Maninder Sidhu (Brampton East) and Sukh Dhaliwal (Surrey Newton) for reelection. The other candidates fielded by the Liberals are Lakhwinder Jhaj, Parm Bains and Sabrina Grover. Raj Saini was fielded from Kitchender Centre, but he withdrew his candidature on Saturday after facing allegations of inappropriate behaviour towards staffers.

The NDP has fielded Tejinder Singh form Brampton South, Gurprit Gill from Brampton West, Avneet Johal from Surrey Newton and Gurinder Singh Gill from Calgary Skyview. The candidates fielded by the Conservatives include sitting MPs Tim Uppal, Jag Sahota and Jasraj Singh. Other candidates are Indira Bains, Priti Lamba, Naval Bajaj, Medha Joshi, Ramandeep Brar, Jagdeep Singh, Tina Bains and Sukhbir Singh Gill.

Navdeep Bains (Mississauga-Malton), who was earlier a minister in the Trudeau cabinet, has reportedly quit politics and is not re-contesting. Along with him, Liberal MP Gagan Sikand (Mississauga-Streetsville) and Independent Ramesh Sangha (Brampton Centre) are also not seeking re-election this time.

Even Parveen Hundal is contesting as an Independent from Surrey Newton and Devyani Singh from Green party is in fray from Vancouver Quadra. The power of the Sikh community has been gauged from the fact that in last House, it had 18 Sikh MPs in Canada.

The Sikh community comprises just 1 per cent of the country’s population, but they have come to wield more power than most of their immigrant counterparts. The credit goes to a robust culture of grassroots politics, organisational skills and fundraising capabilities, and a particular feature of Canada’s electoral system that requires each candidate to bring in a certain number of signatures and party members in order to get nominated.

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