It’s been raining South Asian MPs as 15 of them from the Liberal Party got elected on Monday.
As The VOICE reported back in August, South Asian candidates who ran for the Conservative Party, the NDP and the Liberal Party in Ontario came from diverse backgrounds – and from every corner of the world and included Sikhs, Muslims, Hindus and Christians. But above all things, they were highly qualified professionally and experience-wise in their respective fields.
There were 16 South Asian candidates running as Liberals – and ALL BUT ONE won.
There were 12 who ran as New Democrats (they included Martin Singh who is a Caucasian Sikh married to a South Asian Sikh) and 10 as Conservatives.
All three South Asian MPs – Conservative Bal Gosal (Bramalea-Gore Malton), Conservative Parm Gill (Brampton-Springdale), and NDP’s Rathika Sitsabaiesan (Scarborough-Rouge River) – lost.
- Gary Anandasangaree – Scarborough–Rouge Park
Anandasangaree is an internationally recognized human rights lawyer and community activist who has advocated tirelessly for education and justice. He attended Osgoode Hall Law School, was called to the bar in 2006, and now manages his own firm in Scarborough. Gary has been a passionate advocate for human rights issues, regularly representing Lawyer’s Rights Watch Canada at the United Nations. He has served as Chair of the Canadian Tamil Youth Development Centre, President of the Canadian Tamils’ Chamber of Commerce, counsel to the Canadian Tamil Congress, among other things. He received the Osgoode Hall Law School “One to Watch” Gold Key Award and the South Asian Bar Association’s Young Practitioner Award.
2. Chandra Arya – Nepean
Arya has worked as an engineer, industrial banker, entrepreneur, investment advisor, and technology company executive. During the last three years he served on the board of Invest Ottawa – an economic development agency established with the mandate of making Ottawa the best place in Canada to start and grow a business. He previously served as the Chair of the Indo-Canada Ottawa Business Chamber and President of the Indo-Canadian Community Centre Inc. Chandra has earned a Bachelors of Engineering and Masters of Business Administration, and was professionally certified by the Canadian Securities Institute as a Canadian Investment Manager.
- Navdeep Bains – Mississauga-Malton
Bains is presently a distinguished visiting professor at Ryerson University – Ted Rogers School of Management and holds an MBA with a specialization in finance. As a Certified Management Accountant, he has worked several years in accounting and financial analysis for the Ford Motor Company of Canada. He has been active in a variety of community organizations, as a board member for the Mississauga Food Bank, having worked with the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and the Guru Gobind Singh Children’s Foundation, as well as having served as an Ontario board member with the Heart and Stroke Foundation. Having served as the MP for Mississauga-Brampton South from 2004 to 2011, he gained extensive experience as the Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister and as the Liberal Critic in various portfolios.
- Bardish Chagger – Waterloo
In her current role with the Kitchener-Waterloo Multicultural Centre, Chagger works to foster existing diversity within the community while providing the opportunities for engagement. As the executive assistant to former MP Andrew Telegdi, she has a deep understanding of the issues that are important to residents of Waterloo: manufacturing, technology, and innovation. Bardish has lent her support to many different causes and organizations including Waterloo Rotary, Interfaith Grand River, and the Workforce Planning Board of Waterloo Wellington Dufferin. She graduated from the University of Waterloo with a Bachelor of Science.
- Raj Grewal – Brampton East
Grewal obtained his Bachelor of Business Administration from Wilfrid Laurier University, as well as an MBA from the Schulich School of Business. He was called to the Ontario bar in June 2014 after completing his JD at Osgoode Hall Law School and is a member in good standing of the Law Society of Upper Canada. He currently practices law at a prominent Bay street firm, where he specializes in public and private mergers and acquisitions, corporate finance, and securities. Before entering the legal profession, he was a financial analyst for a fortune 500 company. He dedicates his time to the Guru Gobind Singh Children’s Foundation and participates in the mentorship programs at both Osgoode Hall Law School and the Schulich School of Business.
- Iqra Khalid – Mississauga-Erin Mills
Khalid, a young Pakistani-Canadian woman, immigrated to Canada in the late 1990’s from England, where she began her formal schooling. Iqra graduated from York University in 2007, with a double major in Criminology and Professional Writing. She later obtained her Juris Doctor and is now working as a legal professional with the City of Mississauga. She has held numerous volunteer positions including President of the Pakistani Student Association, Media Relations Ambassador for the York University Student Alumni, Communications Coordinator for the Council for the Advancement of Muslim Professionals, and a Director on the Board for Breaking Free Foundation.
- Kamal Khera – Brampton West
Khera is a registered nurse, community volunteer and political activist. She immigrated to Canada from Delhi, India, at a very young age. She attended York University where she earned her Bachelors of Science in Psychology with Honours and her Bachelors of Science in Nursing with Honours. She was worked with Centre of Addictions and Mental Health (CAMH), Peel Family Shelter, and William Osler Health Centre. She presently works as a Registered Nurse in the Oncology Unit at St Joseph’s Health Centre in Toronto. She serves as Chairperson of South Asian Canadians Heritage Foundation, Mentor and Program Coordinator at Big Brother Big Sister of Peel, and Event Coordinator with Sick Kids Foundation. She also hosted ‘Youth Vision’ – a local TV talk show which explored issues surrounding young South Asian Canadians.
- Yasmin Ratansi – Don Valley East
Ratansi represented the riding of Don Valley East as an MP from 2004 to 2011. She held a number of executive positions and chaired a number of high-profile committees. She was Deputy Whip of the Liberal Caucus, and also served as Chair of the Standing Committee on Government Operations, and as Chair of the Standing Committee on the Status of Women. Born in Dar Es Salaam, Yasmin has lived and worked in Don Valley East since 1974. She is a grassroots oriented leader who is passionate about civic engagement and social justice. Yasmin is an engaged social activist in the community.
- Ruby Sahota – Brampton North
Born in Toronto and raised in Brampton, Sahota, an experienced attorney, has practiced for five years in the areas of criminal law, litigation, and dispute resolution in both the public and private sectors, handling a wide range of complex commercial litigation files at the national and international level. She has been an active member of the Organization for Women in International Trade, UNICEF, and Amnesty International. She holds a combined Honours Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Peace Studies from McMaster University and a J.D. with a concentration in Litigation from Thomas M. Cooley Law School where she was awarded the Blue Book Award in Immigration Law for achieving the highest GPA in her graduating class.
- Raj Saini – Kitchener Centre
Saini has owned and operated the award-winning Greenbrook Pharmacy for nearly 20 years. He is a Rotarian of many years and a board member of the Canadian International Council, Waterloo Region branch. He earned his Bachelors of Science in Chemistry from the University of Toronto, and a Bachelors of Science in Pharmacy from Boston’s Northeastern University.
- Ramesh Sangha – Brampton Centre
After graduating from the University of Windsor, Sangha decided to pursue a career as a lawyer. He offers co-op training to local students from high schools, colleges, universities as well as articling positions for law students. He also provides immigration consulting and legal counseling to Canadian immigrants and those who are new to Canada. He was also appointed as Chairperson for the Canadian Pension Plan Review Tribunal by the Governor General in Council (Canada).
- Sonia Sidhu – Brampton South
Sidhu is a registered cardiology technologist, diabetes educator and clinical research coordinator. She has been actively involved in political campaigns at the municipal, provincial, and federal levels for many years. She has volunteered with numerous organizations including the environmental initiatives of Guru Nanak Mission Canada in Brampton South, Nahani Way Public School, Trillium Health Centre and Karma Grow, a local charity community garden initiative.
- Gagan Sikand – Mississauga—Streetsville
Sikand, a lawyer and small business owner, has diverse professional experience, having worked for the Attorney General of Ontario, the Ministry of Aboriginal Affairs, and the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada. He also sits on the Board of the Dental Hygienists of Ontario. He volunteers on the local United Way advisory council and regularly helps out at both the Eden and Seva food banks. He is a mentor with the Kids Now program at Woodlands Secondary School. He also coaches basketball and serves as a board member for the Young Governors Council of Junior Achievement.
- Arif Virani – Parkdale–High Park
Virani, who came to Canada as a Ugandan Asian refugee, has had a 14-year legal career advocating for human rights and access to justice as a constitutional litigator. He has an Honours B.A. in History and Political Science from McGill University, and completed his LL.B at the University of Toronto. He has worked as an analyst with the Canadian Human Rights Commission in Ottawa; an investigator at la Commission des droits de la personne et droits de la jeunesse in Montreal; and as an assistant trial attorney prosecuting genocide at the UN’s International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda. He is the founder of Toronto’s legal aid clinic SALCO, the recipient of the 2001 Harold G. Fox Scholarship and the 2008 Wilson-Prichard Award in recognition of his contributions to the legal profession and his community. He is a member of the Redwood Shelter for abused women; regularly helps at the Parkdale Food Bank and is an active volunteer with Roncyworks .
- Salma Zahid – Scarborough Centre
Zahid immigrated to Canada in the late 1990s. She has a strong background in governance and public policy, and currently works as a senior advisor for the Ontario government in the office of the Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and International Trade. She has served as Chair of the Regent Park Duke of York Public School Parent Council, and was instrumental in the development of the Youth Reading Club and Skating Program. She has also been an active volunteer with a number of local food banks, as well as her local mosque, Jamia Abu Bakar. She holds a Master’s in Educational Management and Administration from the University of London’s Institute of Education and an MBA from Quaid e Azam University in Pakistan.