Eight Indian Canadians elected as Canada’s ruling party retains power(Second Lead)October 15th, 2008 - 9:58 pm ICT by IANS
Toronto, Oct 15 (IANS) Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s Conservative Party Tuesday returned to power with a larger tally but was still short of a simple majority, while the number of Indian Canadian MPs in the new House of Commons has gone up to eight.After Tuesday’s elections, the Conservative Party, which held 126 seats in the dissolved house, won 144 seats, 11 short of the majority mark at 155 in the 308-member parliament.
The main opposition Liberal Party, which held 95 seats last time, was set to get only 77 seats this time. However, the smaller New Democratic Party (NDP) made major gains, securing 37 seats.
The regional Bloc Quebecois won 48 out of the 75 seats in French-speaking Quebec.
Costing $300 million, it was the 40th election which was held one year ahead of the schedule by the prime minister with a view to securing a majority to implement his agenda.
All the sitting seven Indian Canadian MPs were returned. In fact, the new house will have one more Indian Canadian MP - Tim Uppal from Alberta province.
In the Toronto area, all the three sitting Indian Canadian MPs - Ruby Dhalla, Navdeep Bains and Gurbax Malhi (all of the opposition Liberal Party) - were returned with a comfortable majority.
Dhalla won the Brampton-Springdale seat for the third time, beating Parm Gill of the ruling Conservative Party and Mani Singh of the NDP.
Malhi, who in 1993 became the first turbaned MP in Canada, won for the sixth time from Bramalea-Gore-Malton.
Bains also won easily for the third time in Mississauga-Brampton South.
In British Columbia province, former Canadian health minister Ujjal Dosanjh won in Vancouver South.
Nina Grewal of the ruling party also retained Fleetwood-Port Kells seat for the third time.
The highest-ranking Indian Canadian in the current government, Deepak Obhrai, also won his East Calgary seat for the fifth time.
The sitting Liberal Party MP, Sukh Dhaliwal, was ahead of Sandeep Pandher in Newton-Delta in British Columbia.
Obhrai, who was a parliamentary secretary in the outgoing government, may be elevated to a minister this time.
“He deserves a higher position and we will urge the prime minister to elevate him,” top Conservative backer and business leader Hemant Shah, who campaigned with the prime minister and Obhrai, told IANS.
“The return of Stephen Harper augurs well for India as he wants to speed up trade ties with the country,” he said.