Top Indo-Canadian MPs lost in Canadian electionsMay 4th, 2011 - 3:31 pm ICT by IANS
Toronto, May 4 (IANS) Top Indo-Canadian MPs, including Ujjal Dosanjh, Ruby Dhalla, Gurbax Malhi, Navdeep Bains and Sukh Dhaliwal, lost in Monday’s parliamentary elections which returned the ruling Conservative Party to power with 167 seats in the 308-member House of Commons.
All these defeated Indo-Canadian MPs represented the opposition Liberal Party, which was reduced to just 34 seats - a historic low for Canada’s ‘natural governing party’, whose leader Michael Ignatieff lost his own seat in Toronto.
Former Canadian health minister Dosanjh, who won by about 20 votes in 2008, lost by over 1,000 votes this time to his old rival Wai Young of the ruling party in Vancouver South.
Ruby Dhalla, who in 2004 became the first Sikh woman MP in Canada, lost to fellow Indo-Canadian Parm Gill of the ruling party in Brampton-Springdale on the outskirts of Toronto.
Thirty-seven-year-old Dhalla, who had squeezed through by a margin of just 700 votes in 2008, was hammered by more than 7,000 votes this time.
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney had made it their mission to wrest this seat from Dhalla, with the prime minister visiting the constituency four times and even roping in Bollywood star Akshay Kumar for campaigning.
Three-time Sikh MP Navdeep Bains, who had held the Mississauga-Brampton South seat since 2004, was also routed this time.
Six-time MP Gurbax Malhi, who created history by becoming the first turbaned Sikh MP in Canada in 1993, lost by just 500 votes to fellow Indo-Canadian Bal Gosal of the ruling party in Bramalea-Gore-Malton here.
Former Canada-India Business Council (CIBC) president Sarkar Rana came a poor third in the Toronto suburb of Scarborough Rouge.
Sitting MP Sukh Dhaliwal was also beaten by Jinny Sims (Joginder Kaur) of the New Democratic Party (NDP) in Newton-North Delta on the suburbs of Vancouver. Sims becomes the first Indo-Canadian MP for the NDP.
And the NDP got another Indo-Canadian MP when its candidate Jasbir Sandhu beat Shinder Purewal of the Liberal Party in the Vancouver suburb of Surrey North.
But from the ruling Conservative Party, all sitting Indo-Canadian MPs - Deepak Obhrai (Calgary East), Devinder Shory (Calgary Northeast), Tim Uppal (Edmonton-Sherwood) and Nina Grewal (Fleetwood-Port Kells) - retained their seats.
Twenty-three Indo-Canadian candidates were in the fray this time. But the 41st parliament will have eight Indo-Canadian MPs against nine in the outgoing House.
Canada also made history Monday when the Left-leaning NDP became the official opposition party for the first time by winning 102 seats, replacing the Liberal Party.
More importantly, Canada’s French-speaking Quebec province rejected separatist Bloc Quebecois party and instead voted for the nationalist NDP for the first time.
In fact, Bloc Quebecois was reduced to just four seats from 48 last time, with its leader Gilles Duceppe losing his own seat.
The Green Party also made its entry into parliament with its leader Elizabeth May winning her seat. Canadian Foreign Minister Lawrence Cannon was among those who lost Monday.
(Gurmukh Singh can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)
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