LAST month I wrote a piece titled “Will another political star be born in Ontario? All eyes on Gurpreet Dhillon!”
We now know the answer is NO.
Dhillon, 34, a local basketball star who was the NDP candidate in Brampton-Springdale, was being hailed as the new political star.
But thanks to the Liberal wave and an NDP campaign that failed to fire the imaginations of Ontarians, he got thrashed by Liberal candidate HARINDER MALHI, daughter of former Liberal MP Gurbax Singh Malhi (Bramalea-Gore-Malton from 1993 to 2011). She also beat Pam Hundal of the Progressive Conservatives (PC), who in the 2011 election came a close second to Liberal Linda Jeffrey. Jeffery, who was a minister, resigned as MPP for Brampton-Springdale to run for mayor of Brampton. (In Ontario, an MLA is called an MPP – Member of Provincial Parliament).
Harinder Malhi was often accompanied by her dad while door-knocking and one news report said he was warmly greeted by people.
Her official bio didn’t state who her dad is. But it stated that she “is an experienced trustee who has represented Brampton wards 9 and 10 for the Peel District School Board for the past 3½ years.”
It also said: “Harinder has been actively involved in many community organizations. She was an administrator for summer camps and volunteers with municipal, provincial and federal organizations.
“Harinder also supports non-profit organizations such as the Canadian-South Asians Supporting Independent Living (CSASIL) Association in Brampton, and collects donations for local shelters and food banks.”
It added: “Harinder has lived and worked in the Brampton area for the past 18 years and is very proud to call Brampton her home.”
Many South Asians will be watching her performance with interest.
PREMIER Kathleen Wynne, 61, thrashed Progressive Conservative Leader Tim Hudak and NDP Leader Andrea Horwath. The Liberals won 59 seats (38.7 per cent of the total votes), the PC got 27 seats (31.2 per cent) and the NDP were last with 21 seats (23.7 per cent). The Liberals won for the fourth consecutive time.
THREE provincial ridings had only South Asian candidates from the three major parties: Brampton-Springdale, Bramalea-Gore-Malton and Brampton West.
In Bramalea-Gore-Malton, incumbent MPP JAGMEET SINGH, an NDP star, won easily again.
After completing his B.Sc. in Biology from the University of Western Ontario, Jagmeet earned an LL.B. from Osgoode Hall Law School. He is fluent in three languages – English, French and Punjabi. Jagmeet offered free legal rights seminars across Ontario and provided pro bono legal counsel for people and community organizations in need.
His bio stated: “He was listed as one of the Toronto Star’s Top 12 people to watch for 2012, named in the Queen’s Park Briefing in 2013 as one Ontario’s 75 most powerful people, and featured in Toronto Life’s “50 Most Influential People,” as one of the five youngest rising stars.
“Recently described as one of the more dashing public figures, Jagmeet was covered in Toronto Life’s Stylebook 2013 as one of Toronto’s most stylish people and was one of the 10 style icons presented in Yorkdale Mall’s 50th-anniversary style-makers campaign.”
The Liberals’ candidate was Dr. Kuldip S. Kular – the man Jagmeet Singh unseated in the last election. The PC candidate was Harjit Jaswal.
In Brampton West, incumbent VIC DHILLON (Liberal) won yet again. Dhillon was first elected to the Ontario legislature in 2003. Prior to joining government, Vic established a family-owned business. He successfully led many non-profit fundraising campaigns for the local food bank, the Korean War Memorial, and a leading local group that helps regions after natural disasters (such as the ice storm in eastern Ontario, the earthquake in Pakistan and the tsunami in Asia). Vic has also been credited by some local residents as being instrumental in saving the Knight’s Table, a non-profit diner that provides meals for Brampton’s poor and homeless.
The PC candidate was Randeep Sandhu. The NDP candidate was Gugni Gill Panaich.
THERE were a large number of South Asian candidates in all the three major parties and they reflected the diversity of the South Asian population.
Here are six who were also re-elected and one newly elected MPP, all Liberals:
HARINDER TAKHAR was re-elected from Mississauga-Erindale. The former transportation and government services minister, was first elected as MPP in 2003 and has served in several senior ministerial roles. At first he was not going to run as both his parents passed away last year and he was in hospital with chest pains. But then he changed his mind. Before his election, he was President and CEO of Chalmers Group, where he increased sales eighteen-fold in ten years. Chalmers was judged a finalist among the 50 best-managed private companies in Canada in 1995. He has two kids.
AMRIT MANGAT was re-elected from Mississauga-Brampton South. She was first elected in 2007 and is the first woman of South Asian heritage to serve as an MPP. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science, a Masters in Economics, a Bachelor of Education, and a Masters in Education. She is a member in good standing of the Ontario College of Teachers. Prior to being elected, Amrit worked as an educator, a law firm administrator, and owned and managed several small businesses.
DIPIKA DAMERLA was re-elected from Mississauga East-Cooksville. She was first elected in 2011. Dipika earned her MBA from the Rotman School of Business, University of Toronto and her Chartered Accountant designation in India. She began her career as a social and political commentator for OMNI TV, covering many local issues in Mississauga. Prior to her current career, she worked in corporate banking at two of Canada’s largest financial institutions – the Royal Bank of Canada and the Bank of Nova Scotia. She has run a small business in the telecomunications industry
SHAFIQ QAADRI was re-elected from Etobicoke-North. He was first elected in 2003. Qaadri has been a multilingual Toronto family physician for more than two decades. He has served as a Designated Medical Practitioner of the Government of Canada to help make healthcare information more accessible and understandable to both physicians and the public. He’s been a presenter for the Heart and Stroke Foundation, the Canadian Diabetes Association and the Ontario Lung Association.
BAS BALKISSOON was re-elected from Scarborough-Rouge River. He wass first elected in a by-election in 2005. Before entering politics, Balkissoon worked for Bell Canada for 17 years in various management positions. During that time, he served as an Advisor to the Saudi Arabia Ministry of Post, Telephone and Telegraph for just over two years. He had a 17-year career in municipal politics.
YASIR NAQVI was re-elected from Ottawa-Centre. He was first elected in 2007. A first generation Canadian, Yasir Naqvi’s family arrived in Canada in 1988 after the Pakistani government imprisoned his father for leading a pro-democracy march.
INDIRA NAIDOO-HARRIS was elected from Halton. She was born in Durban, South Africa. Her family immigrated to Canada and settled in central Alberta. She began her career in journalism in the U.S., working for NBC and PBS, and continued in Ontario in the 1990s, working for CBC’s The National as well as for many local Ontario stations.
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BY RATTAN MALL