In an ever growing clout of Indo-Canadians, 15 Liberal candidates of Indian origin, 3 from the Conservative Party and an Indo-Canadian belonging to New Democratic Party (NDP) won the election to the Canadian Parliament in the general elections to 338 seats. The Liberals got a parliamentary majority that will allow them to govern without relying on other parties.
The results of the national elections to the Canadian Parliament were declared on October 20th, 2015. The Indian-Canadians more than doubled their representation in the Canadian parliament from eight to 19 as Canadians voted out the Conservative Party by handing out a landslide to the Liberal Party.
Gosal lost to fellow Indian-Canadian Ramesh Sangha of the Liberal Party in Brampton Center, and Grewal of the Conservative Party lost in Fleetwood-Port Kells, British Columbia. But the biggest surprise was created by Darshan Kang of the Liberal Party, who won the Calgary Skyview seat for his party for the first time in 50 years by beating fellow Indian-Canadians Devinder Shory of the Conservative Party and Sahajvir Singh Randhawa of the New Democratic Party.
The outgoing minister of state Tim Uppal retained his seat by beating Amarjeet Singh Sahi of the Liberal Party and Jasvir Deol of the NDP in Edmonton Mill Woods. Most Indian-Canadian victories came in Canada’s biggest province of Ontario.
In Brampton East, Raj Grewal of the Liberal Party beat Harbaljit Kahlon of the NDP and Naval Bajaj of the Conservative Party. Bajaj is the former president of the Indo-Canada Chamber of Commerce. In Brampton West, Kamal Khera of the Liberal Party beat Ninder Thind of the Conservative Party. In Brampton North, Ruby Sahota of the Liberal Party beat outgoing MP Parm Gill of the Conservative Party and white Sikh Martin Singh of the NDP.
While longest-serving MP Deepak Obhrai, a 65-year-old Conservative lawmaker, won for the seventh time from Calgary Forest Lawn, outgoing minister of state Bal Gosal and four-time MP Nina Grewal were prominent Indian-origin Canadians who lost their fight to hold back their seats to the Parliament.
“I have a strong record both as a representative of the constituency as well as working in government and in the opposition over the years I have been in Parliament,” Obhrai, who began his career as a Reform Party lawmaker, was quoted as saying by the Calgary Sun.
For over a century, Canada has benefited from the talent and hard work of newcomers from India. Tens of thousands of Indians continue to make the journey to Canada every year to help us build our country, our economy and, in many cases, to settle permanently and become Canadians.
Canada remains a destination of choice for visitors, students and business travellers from India. In 2013, Canada issued more than 130,000 visas to people coming to visit family, friends or as tourists. Canada welcomed almost 14,000 students and admitted more than 33,000 Indian citizens as permanent residents.
The Canadian government has been making changes to facilitate legitimate travel, welcoming more visitors, businesspeople and students to Canada than ever before. The Business Express Program (BEP), introduced in 2008, was created to ensure faster processing of visa applications for businesspeople. In addition, the Worker Express Program, which provides expedited service to applicants sent to Canada by companies under the BEP, was introduced in India in June 2009 and has since benefited more than 7,200 Indian citizens.
In addition to the BEP, in July 2011, the government extended the duration of multiple-entry visas from five to 10 years allowing visitors to enter and exit Canada for up to six months at a time over a 10-year period. The Parent and Grandparent Super Visa remains a fast and convenient option for parents and grandparents who want to spend longer periods of time with their families in Canada. By the end of February 2014, more than 31,000 Super Visas had been issued, and almost 97 percent of qualified Super Visa applicants were approved.
According to reports, more than 33,000 Indians became permanent residents in 2013, a 17 percent increase since 2008. The number of visitor visas issued in 2013 to Indian citizens represents an increase of 14 percent since 2008. Nearly four times more Indian students entered Canada in 2013 than in 2008 when 3,566 Indian citizens entered Canada as students. Canada welcomed more than 50,000 parents and grandparents to Canada during 2012 and 2013. Canada plans to welcome 20,000 more over the coming year.
Indian-Canadians make up over three per cent of Canada’s population of about 35 million and have become a significant political force. There were eight lawmakers of Indian-origin in Canada in 2011.