Trudeau taps four Indo-Canadians for his new cabinet

Left ro right: Harjit Singh Sajjan, Bardish Kaur Chagger, Navdeep Singh Bains and Anita Anand.
By Asia Samachar Team | MALAYSIA |

Four Indo-Canadians have been roped into the the newly formed cabinet of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

They include three Sikhs who were federal ministers in the previous government and a law professor who became the first-ever Hindu woman to be elected to Parliament.

Navdeep Singh Bains is back as Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, Bardish Kaur Chagger as Minister of Diversity and Inclusion and Youth and Harjit Singh Sajjan as Minister of National Defence.

Anita Anand, who was a Professor of Law at the University of Toronto, takes on the public service and procurement ministry.

They are among the seven out of 37 ministers with Asian or African family roots.

Missing from the Liberal Party list of ministers were Amarjeet Singh Sohi, the outgoing Minister for Infrastructure, who had lost his seat.

The Oct 31 Canadian general elections saw 18 Sikhs being elected as lawmakers, including Jagmeet Singh who heads the New Democratic Party (NDP), a social-democratic federal political party that emerged as the fourth largest block in Parliament.

Trudeau-led Liberals got 157 seats out of the total 338 seats up for grabs, with the Conservatives as closest rival with 121 seats. Then come Bloc Québécois (32), NDP (24), Green (3) and one independent candidate.

With Liberals not getting an outright majority, Jagmeet and his fellow lawmakers may be able to exert influence on policy matters.

Here are their profiles as listed out at the Prime Minister’s official website.

Navdeep Bains: Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry

Location: Mississauga—Malton

The Honourable Navdeep Bains has been the Member of Parliament for Mississauga—Malton since 2015, and was previously the Member of Parliament for Mississauga—Brampton South from 2004 to 2011.

He has served as Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, and was the Parliamentary Secretary to former Prime Minister Paul Martin. Previously, he was the critic for Public Works and Government Services, the Treasury Board, International Trade, Natural Resources, and Small Business and Tourism.

Before entering politics, he was a distinguished visiting professor at Ryerson University’s Ted Rogers School, and worked for several years in accounting and financial analysis for the Ford Motor Company of Canada.

Minister Bains has deep roots in his community, as a longtime resident of both Mississauga and Brampton, and has strong ties to the social and cultural associations of Mississauga—Malton. He has been active in a variety of community organizations, as a board member for the Mississauga Food Bank and an Ontario board member with the Heart and Stroke Foundation. He has also worked with JDRF, a diabetes research foundation, and the Guru Gobind Singh Children’s Foundation.

Minister Bains has received a number of awards recognizing his work in promoting diversity within his community, and he holds a Master of Business Administration with a specialization in Finance.

Minister Bains has dedicated his time in Ottawa to growing the economy, strengthening the middle class, and creating new well-paying jobs for Canadians in Mississauga—Malton.

Harjit Singh Sajjan: Minister of National Defence

Location: Vancouver South

The Honourable Harjit Sajjan was first elected as Member of Parliament for Vancouver South in 2015.

Minister Sajjan immigrated to Canada from India with his family when he was five years old. He grew up in South Vancouver and benefitted from everything its diverse and culturally rich community has to offer.

Minister Sajjan has made serving others a cornerstone of his life. He has served as a former detective with the Vancouver Police Department, a former Lieutenant Colonel with the British Columbia Regiment, and a long-time advocate for youth education and mentorship programs.

For 11 years, Minister Sajjan was a member of the Vancouver Police Department, based primarily in South Vancouver. He completed his career as a detective with the gang crime unit. As a member of the British Columbia Regiment (Duke of Connaught’s Own), he participated in four operational deployments—one to Bosnia and three to Afghanistan.

Minister Sajjan has lived in Vancouver for many years with his wife and two children.

Bardish Chagger: Minister of Diversity and Inclusion and Youth

Location: Waterloo

The Honourable Bardish Chagger was elected in 2015 as the Member of Parliament for Waterloo.

Minister Chagger is devoted to inclusion and community building. From assisting with recreational sports for kids to volunteering with seniors, she is committed to strengthening the bonds of the Waterloo community.

In an earlier role with the Kitchener-Waterloo Multicultural Centre, Minister Chagger worked to foster diversity within the community and provide opportunities for social and economic engagement. As an executive assistant to former Member of Parliament Andrew Telegdi, she gained a deep understanding of the issues of importance to residents of Waterloo, including manufacturing, technology, and innovation.

Passionate about community involvement, Minister Chagger has lent her support to many different causes and organizations, including the Rotary Club of Waterloo, Interfaith Grand River, and the Workforce Planning Board of Waterloo Wellington Dufferin.

Minister Chagger considers herself part of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms generation, and has participated in policy conferences on many issues, including the advancement of same-sex marriage rights and a national manufacturing strategy.

She graduated from the University of Waterloo with a Bachelor of Science. In 2012, the Waterloo Region Record recognized Minister Chagger as one of “40 under 40” who would lead the Region of Waterloo into the future.

Anita Anand: Minister of Public Services and Procurement

Location: Oakville

The Honourable Anita Anand was first elected as the Member of Parliament for Oakville in 2019.

Minister Anand is a scholar, lawyer, researcher, and mother of four children. Born and raised in rural Nova Scotia, she moved to Ontario in 1985.

Minister Anand is a devoted leader with a proven record of service. In her Oakville community, she has served on the Board of Directors of the Lighthouse Foundation for Grieving Children, the Oakville Hospital Foundation, and Oakville Hydro Electricity Distribution Inc.

For the past two decades, Minister Anand has been a legal academic, employed most recently as a Professor of Law at the University of Toronto where she held the J.R. Kimber Chair in Investor Protection and Corporate Governance. She served as Associate Dean and was a member of the Governing Board of Massey College and the Director of Policy and Research at the Capital Markets Research Institute, Rotman School of Management. She has also taught law at Yale Law School, Queen’s University, and Western University.

Minister Anand has completed extensive research on the regulation of financial markets, corporate governance, and shareholder rights, and has appeared regularly in the media to discuss these topics. In 2015, she was appointed to the Government of Ontario’s Expert Committee to Consider Financial Advisory and Financial Planning Policy Alternatives. She has conducted research for Ontario’s Five-Year Review Committee, the federal Wise Person’s Committee, and the Task Force to Modernize Securities Legislation in Canada. In 2019, the Royal Society of Canada awarded her the Yvan Allaire medal for outstanding contributions in governance relating to private and public organizations.

Minister Anand holds a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Political Studies from Queen’s University, a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Jurisprudence from the University of Oxford, a Bachelor of Laws from Dalhousie University, and a Master of Laws from the University of Toronto. She was called to the Bar of Ontario in 1994.

Minister Anand and her husband, John, raised their four children in Oakville.


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