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Sandhu, Grewal, Malhi, Brar, Toor, Gill in Poll Fray, It Isn’t Punjab, It Is Canada

Ontario province which has 123 constituencies goes to polls on June 2.

File photo: Supporters wave Canadian flags as New Democratic Party leader Jagmeet Singh takes the stage after being re-elected in Burnaby South at an NDP election night party in Burnaby. (ANI/REUTERS Photo)

Chandigarh: In the Ontario provincial polls in Canada to be held on June 2 for 123 constituencies, 20 candidates of Punjabi origin are in the fray.

The South Asian vote bank, in particular the Punjabis, are prominently visible as a pressure group in the provincial polls all over Canada. But Ontario is the political hub where Punjabis dominate. The three major political parties — the Progressive Conservative Party (PC), Liberals, and National Democratic Party (NDP) — are heavily relying on South Asian votes and the parties have given “adequate representation” to their communities by fielding them.

Progressive Conservative Party and Liberals have fielded six candidates of Punjabi origin. While the New Democratic Party have fielded five, Green has given the ticket to two candidates and there will be one independent candidate.

Brampton and Mississauga suburbs of Toronto are mostly dominated by the Indian diaspora, the majority among whom are the Sikhs and non-Sikh Punjabis. The Punjabis are contesting from the 11 constituencies from these two places.

The Progressive Conservative Party PCP has fielded Deepak Anand from Mississauga Malton, Hardeep Grewal from Brampton East, and Amarjot Sandhu from Brampton West. Liberals have fielded Harinder Malhi from Brampton North, Jannat Garewal from Brampton East, Aman Gill from Mississauga Malton, Rimmy Jhajj from Brampton West, Manpreet Brar from Essex and Ruby Toor from Brantford Brant.

The NDP has fielded Sandeep Singh from Brampton North, Sara Singh from Brampton Centre, Jasleen Kamboj from Thornhill, and Navjot Kaur from Brampton West. The Green Party has fielded Aneep Dhade from Brampton North and Mini Batra from Durham, while Manjot Sekhon is contesting from the Ontario party. Here is a short profile of some of these candidates.

Deepak Anand (PCP, Mississauga Malton)

Deepak Anand was first elected to the legislative assembly of Ontario in 2018 and is trying his luck once more. Originally from SAS Nagar in Punjab, he is a chemical engineer who studied at Punjab University. After migrating to Canada, he did his MBA from a Canadian university. He is from the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario. Anand was involved in community service before getting elected.

Hardeep Grewal (PCP, Brampton East)

Hardeep has been active in community service in Brampton for more than a decade. He has worked with the Guru Gobind Singh Children Foundation and C-SASIL (Canadian South Asians Supporting Independent Living). He started getting a foothold in provincial politics very young. “I am incredibly honoured to have been nominated as your PC candidate for Brampton East,” said Hardeep Grewal. “I am proud to join a team that has delivered and will continue to make critical investments to support the people of Brampton.”

Amarjot Sandhu (PCP, Brampton West)

Born in Punjab, Amarjot migrated to Canada in 2008 as a student. He went to George Brown College in Toronto. To complete his education, he did many jobs like driving a truck and working at a factory. Thereafter, he started working as a computer engineer. Coming from a political family in Punjab, politics for Sandhu was a natural choice and he drifted to politics. Sandhu is already the Member of the Provincial Parliament for the riding of Brampton West and is trying his luck again.

Harinder Malhi (Liberal, Brampton North)

Malhi’s family is from India. She speaks fluent Punjabi. Her father, Gurbax Malhi too was a Liberal between 1993 and 2011. Malhi has studied public administration and governance. She worked as a sales agent at a telecommunications company in Brampton, and later as a realtor. Malhi has been fielded from Brampton (North) as a Liberal candidate.

Jannat Garewal (Liberal, Brampton East)

Jannat is the Liberal candidate from Brampton East. She is an educator and also a businesswoman. She wants to represent the progressive voices of her community. She is a 24/7 community leader and her supporters say her win will bring about key changes in Brampton East.

Aman Gill (Liberal Mississauga Malton)

Born in Mississauga, Aman Gill started out in politics quite young. At present, he is pursuing his JD (Juris Doctor) at the University of Toronto Faculty of Law. At the University of Toronto, he is a member of the South Asian Law Students’ Association and a JD student ambassador for the admissions office. He is believed to be a strong candidate from Mississauga Malton.

Rimmy Jhajj (Liberal, Brampton West)

Rimmy Jhajj is a para-medic. Rimmy has dedicated her life to a career in public service. Before this, she spent several years with the Brampton Youth Council. Rimmy studied at the University of Western Ontario where she did B.Sc in Nursing. The Progressives have fielded her from Brampton (West).

Ruby Toor (Liberal, Brantford Brant)

Toor was born in Delhi and completed her college from Delhi in 1978. She is fighting from Brantford Brant. An executive director at Amber Lea Place, a retirement home on St. Paul Avenue, Toor finished third in the 2018 provincial elections. But this time, she is hoping to win the elections.

Sandeep Singh (NDP, Brampton North)

The Ontario NDP (ONDP) have announced Sandeep Singh as their candidate from Brampton North. Sandeep is a “human rights advocate and has experience running a small business.” Dead against the Liberals’ politics his top priority is going to be healthcare.

Sara Singh (NDP, Brampton Centre)

Sara is an Indo-Caribbean and was born in 1986. She is one of the two current Deputy Leaders of the Ontario New Democratic Party. Singh was first elected to the Ontario legislative assembly in the 2018 provincial elections. She represents the riding of Brampton Centre. Singh was born in Brampton. Her mother is a Guyanese and her father is from Punjab.

Aneep Dhade (Green Party, Brampton North)

Aneep Dhade was brought up in Brampton North. “Brampton is my home, and I’ve watched its diverse population blossom over a span of more than thirty years,” she said. “Aneep is a dedicated and experienced public servant,” said Ontario Greens Leader Mike Schreiner. Her top concerns are issues like housing affordability and mental health.