By Asia Samachar Team | CANADA |
As Canada celebrates a month-long Sikh Heritage Month in April, the Vancouver Police Department (VPD) is profiling Sikh members in its service. The latest to be featured is Sergeant Mehrban Singh Sidhu who has served VPD for 18 years.
Sikh Heritage Month was first celebrated in Brisih Columbia (BC ) in 2018. Its purpose is to celebrate the contributions and aspirations of all Sikh-Canadians and develop a greater understanding and appreciation of a rich, unique and diverse heritage.
Sikhs have been in BC for over 100 years and this is an opportunity to showcase their contribution to the economic, social, and cultural fabric of the province. The initiative is meant to help create awareness and appreciation for Sikhi in Canada, according to a website dedicated to the month.
On April 30, 2019, the Sikh Heritage Month Act was formally recognized by the Government of Canada. This means that throughout Canada, in each and every year, April is to be known as “Sikh Heritage Month.”
FROM THE MEHRBAN HIMSELF
“I am the E-COMM Liaison, and have served with the VPD for 18 years.
From my earliest memories, I was intrigued by policing, and my interactions with the police as a young boy growing up in a small northern town in BC only served to solidify my goals. My local Gurdwara was at times a target of vandalism, and my father led the meetings with the police who showed compassion and understanding.
My first inspiration was a RCMP [Royal Canadian Mounted Police] officer who lived on my street, he always made time for me and answered my questions. One of my biggest influences now is retired RCMP Inspector Baltej Singh Dhillon. He faced many difficult challenges, but he persevered and paved the way for myself and many others.
I believe it is important that those we are serving and protecting see themselves reflected in policing in order to build that trust and a positive relationship. When members of my community see me in uniform, there is an automatic connection that is present; they feel safe and comfortable in approaching us.
Our entire job is not strictly about law enforcement; it is about helping the public, assisting with access to resources where needed, and being connected with the community. In policing, we see a great deal throughout our careers. Being a Sikh and having a daily practice helps to stay grounded and process what you are exposed to on a daily basis.
Sikh Heritage month is about remembrance and pride. My great-grandfather came to Canada on the Komagata Maru, and his journey was a difficult one that resulted in racist reactions by authorities at the time. Those that first settled here worked hard, fought for their rights, and were confronted with many challenges such as racism.
The Sikh community has made many positive contributions to the betterment of Canada in various industries and organizations, and the kitchens at the Gurdwaras are always open to feed anyone in need. It is a sense of pride that the community continues to promote the belief in Seva – selfless service – by giving back in many ways. I am grateful for being able to serve in my position and for the opportunities given to me in this great country, which is all due to the sacrifices of those before me.”
(Asia Samachar, 19 Sept 2020)