Toronto: At least one parliamentary constituency in Canada is fielding all Indian-Canadian candidates as the country goes to vote in the general elections on Monday.
According to Election Canada website, in the Surrey-Newton constituency, all the four candidates are of Indian origin.
Some 40 Indian-origin candidates are in the fray in the elections to Canada’s 338-member parliament being held on Monday.
In many other constituencies too, such as Brampton, Calgary and Edmonton, which have huge Indo-Canadian populations, Indian-origin candidates are contesting.
According to the Elections Canada website, in Surrey-Newton constituency heavyweights like New Democratic Party’s Jinny Sims and Liberal Party of Canada candidate Sukh Dhaliwal will square off against Green Party of Canada candidate Pamela Sangha and Harpreet Singh from the Conservative Party of Canada.
Dhaliwal and Singh immigrated from India in 1984 and 2002 respectively. Sims was born in India, raised in England, and immigrated to Canada in 1975 while Sangha was born and brought up in Surrey.
All the four candidates are pitching against rising incidence of crime in the area and offering various solutions to tackle the problem of high-profile, gang-related shootings that have left the community worrying.
Puncturing holes in the Conservatives’ claim of being “tough on crime”, Sims questioned their commitment to keep Surrey’s streets safe.
Liberal Party’s Dhaliwal also attacked the Conservatives, saying “tougher sentencing may have filled prisons, but has not made Surrey safer”.
“Irrespective of which party we (represent), we have to work together, because when it comes to crime, or youth getting involved in these gangs, it is not about party politics. It is about family,” Dhaliwal said.
Conservative candidate Harpreet Singh, a former journalist, vowed to find solutions to the community’s problems if he gets elected.
According to a report in Toronto Sun, Singh said he would hold town hall meetings every two months, alternating between four quarters of the riding as a constituency is called in Canada.
Apart from crime in the constituency, Green Party candidate Pamela Sangha is pushing clean energy as a tool to garner votes.
“I get that there is a spree of crime and gun violence here and that kids are being shot at. But we are also big in clean-tech energy and… a vibrant, beautiful community,” she said.
Numbering about 1.2 million, Indian-Canadians make up over three percent of Canada’s population of about 35 million and have become a significant political force.
According to the 2011 National Household Survey, of all electoral district in Canada, Surrey-Newton has the highest proportion — 31 percent — residents born in India.