Eight Indian-Canadians become MPs as Canada re-elects ruling party (Lead)October 15th, 2008 - 1:42 pm ICT by IANS
Toronto, Oct 15 (IANS) Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s Conservative Party has returned to power with a larger tally but short of the 155-mark for a simple majority in the 308-member parliament, which will have eight Indian-Canadian MPs this time.The party, which held 126 seats in the dissolved House of Commons, Tuesday won 144 seats, still 12 short of the majority mark.
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 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. The new house will have another Indian-Canadian MP this time - 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 comfortable majorities.
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.
Tim Uppal is the new Indian-Canadian MP in the Canadian parliament, winning the Edmonton-Sherwood Park seat.
Interestingly for the Indian-Canadian community, Deepak 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 PM 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.