In a clear indication of the growing influence of the Sikh community on the political landscape of Canada, at least six turbaned MPs came first in their ridings in the 2021 Canadian federal election.
Among them is Jagmeet Singh, leader of the New Democratic Party of Canada. He is the first person of Sikh heritage to become a national leader of any political party in a Eurocentric country.
Singh was reelected in Burnaby South on September 20. Not to be left behind, Harjit Singh Sajjan, who was Canada's first Sikh defence minister in the previous Liberal cabinet, was also re-elected in Vancouver South.
Likewise, Sajjan’s party colleague from Surrey Centre, Randeep Singh Sarai, has been elected for the third time.
Iqwinder Gaheer is a Liberal newcomer to the House of Commons from Mississauga-Malton.
Ironically, the Conservatives, who have been harsh in the past on head coverings worn by Muslim women, saw their two turbaned Sikh MPs, Tim Uppal and Jasraj Hallan, reelected in Edmonton Mill Woods and Calgary Forest Lawn, respectively.
Among others of Sikh heritage elected this time were Sukh Dhaliwal and Parm Bains from B.C., George Chahal from Alberta, Anju Dhillon from Quebec, and Maninder Sidhu, Sonia Sidhu, Kamal Khera, Ruby Sahota, and Bardish Chagger from Ontario.
Chagger was minister of diversity, inclusion and youth of Canada in the last Liberal cabinet.
It is pertinent to mention that Indian immigrants in Canada were disenfranchised under racist laws back in 1907. They obtained the right to vote after a long struggle in 1947. The Sikh community has made its mark in spite of many barriers and outright racism in the country.
The election of so many MPs of Sikh heritage came five days in advance of the anniversary of the death of Comrade Darshan Singh Canadian. He was assassinated by the Sikh separatists in India on September 25, 1986.
Canadian lived in Canada for 10 years before moving back to India in 1947, and had been involved in the struggle for the right to vote in Canada.
Upon returning to Punjab, he became a prominent Communist leader, a member of the Punjab legislative assembly, and a staunch critic of Hindu and Sikh religious fundamentalism.