In the upcoming Canadian general federal elections on September 20, 47 Indian-origin candidates, mostly Punjabis, are contesting from several constituencies. Some are even going up against each other in a few places. The number, which has been a constant since 2019, reflects the prominence of the Indians in the Canadian population even if they form only 4% of the country.
The Canadian House of Commons currently has 22 Indian-origin members of the parliament of the total strength of 338. All of the five major political parties have Indo-Canadians contesting. While Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberal Party has 17 candidates contesting, the Conservative Party has 13, the New Democratic Party has 10, the People’s Party of Canada, which supports the cap on immigration, has five and the Green Party has one candidate.
Anita Anand, Minister of Public services and Procurement, who was referred to by Trudeau as his “minister of vaccines”, is contesting from Oakville, Ontario. Minister of Youth and Inclusion Bardish Chagger is running from Waterloo again. Harjit Sajjan, Defence Minister, is also contesting again this time from Vancouver South.
From the New Democratic Party (NDP), party leader Jagmeet Singh MP from Burnaby South, British Columbia since 2019, is said to play an important role in the election. As Trudeau’s Liberal Party formed the minority government with NDP’s support, Singh could again become a powerful force after elections, according to a Times of India report.
Other candidates from NDP include Gurprit Gill from Brampton West, Avneet Johal from Surrey Newton, and Gurinder Singh Gill from Calgary Skyview.
Defence Minister Sajjan will face the Conservative Party’s Sukhbir Singh Gill in Vancouver South. The Erin O’Toole-led Conservative Party is also fielding Indo-Canadian candidates from Brampton. Naval Bajaj, the youngest elected President to the Indo-Canada chamber of Commerce and an Indian-born entrepreneur is set to contest from Brampton East. Meanwhile Medha Joshi, who moved to Canada in her early youth, is another candidate from Brampton.
With regions such as Toronto, Vancouver, Ottawa, Hamilton, and Montreal having dense Indo-Canadian populations, many having opposing candidates of the same Indian ethnicity, September 20 is expected to be an interesting day for the Indian population in Canada.