SONIA Sidhu, MP for Brampton South, in response to the historic Gujarat flag-raising ceremony at Brampton City Hall earlier this month, hosted roughly 40 guests to perform the Raas-Garba dance at Ottawa’s official Asian Heritage Month celebration on May 9.
At the Brampton ceremony, Sidhu said that when she saw the Nritya Kala Mandir’s dancers perform Raas-Garba, she was very impressed, and decided to bring them to Ottawa to share their talent with other MPs, ministers and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. With the help of Friends of Gujarat’s Akhil Shah and others, a visit was planned in response to an invitation by Heritage Minister Mélanie Joly.
“I was immensely impressed by the performance at the Brampton City Hall flag raising – so I was glad to have everyone come to celebrate with MPs in Ottawa at the Asian Heritage Month reception,” said Sidhu of the event. “The group worked hard all day preparing, and the crowd of elected officials and dignitaries were happy to see young, vibrant performers putting on an excellent show.”
The group left Brampton on a bus very early in the morning for a whirlwind day-trip to Ottawa. They received a brief tour of Parliament, watched Question Period, and met with  Sidhu to ask questions. During the reception, they were surprised by a very special guest: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. He had been on the sidelines watching their performance in advance of his speech.
“The Prime Minister watched these local dancers, which is a memory they will have forever. After he spoke, he had to leave quickly for important business, but he made his way through the crowd and made sure to say hello and take a photo with our dancers before leaving,” added Sidhu. “Our local talent is something I’m so immensely proud of, and I want to thank the group organizers, Friends of Gujarat, Nritya Kala Mandir, the performers, and their families for being involved in this busy day in Ottawa.”
The performers left Ottawa late in the evening. The Gujarati culture was proudly on display at the Asian Heritage Month event, and after many hours of preparation for this trip, those in attendance said it was one they will never forget.
“I was very proud to host this excellent group of performers and community members in Ottawa,” Sidhu said. “It is such a pleasure to share our community’s immense talent with my colleagues, and especially with Prime Minster Trudeau.”

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