High moment for Indian community in Canada: 19 newly-elected MPs of Indian origin

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In a historic moment for the Indian community in Canada, 19 candidates, who recently won the parliamentary elections in Canada, were of Indian origin. It was historic as this was the highest number of Indian candidates ever elected to the Canadian parliament.

The October 19 elections witnessed the incumbent Conservative government under Stephen Harper being voted out, with Canada electing a Liberal government making Justin Trudeau the second youngest Prime Minister in the country’s history.

The Liberals won 184 seats, a clear majority which silenced all speculation about a fractured coalition government which was expected before the results.

Of the 19 Indian origin candidates, three from the Conservative Party got elected in the general elections, one from the New Democratic Party (NDP) and 15 from the victorious Liberal party in a Parliament of 338 seats.

For most of the immigrants from Punjab, the painful memories of the Komagatu Maru episode in 1914 where only 24 of 376 people who went from India were allowed to disembark in Canada, continue to liner in their consciousness. The others were sent back to India, where the British fired at them killing 19 of them. In a striking reversal of fortunes, now 19 MPs of Indian origin are set to enrich the political life of Canada.

Canada is home to 1.2 million Indian origin people who make up 3 percent of the population. Of the 1.2 million strong community nearly two-thirds are from Punjab, followed by Gujarati-speaking population. Deepak Obhrai, a Conservative lawmaker, won for the seventh consecutive time. The Punjabi-dominated Brampton district of Ontario resulted in a new record where all five seats were won by the candidates from the community. Another leading candidate, Sukh Dhaliwal of the Liberals, defeated sitting MP Jinny Sims of NDP to get elected from Surrey-Newton riding. Other Liberal Indo-Canadians who won included, Navdeep Bains from Mississauga-Malton in Toronto, Gagan Sikand from Mississauga Streetville, Raj Saini from Kitchener Centre, Bardish Chagger from Waterloo and Bob Saroya of Conservative from Markham- Unionville.

In the 2011 elections there were eight Indian origin lawmakers in the Parliament.

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