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Picture: barusahib.org

Prime Minister-designate Justin Trudeau unveiled his Cabinet this week and 3 Liberal MPs are included in the front bench. Harjit Sajjan has been named Minister of Defense. India-born first-time Sikh MP Harjit Sajjan is Canada’s new defence minister.

Another Sikh, Amarjeet Sohi, who is not turbaned, has been sworn in as minister for infrastructure. A former bus driver, Sohi was jailed in India for two years in the 1980s.
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Navdeep Bains, who played a key role in Trudeau’s election as the Liberal Party leader in 2013, has been awarded with a cabinet berth.

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The Honourable Navdeep Bains, P. C.

Bains, who became MP for the third time last month by winning from Mississauga-Brampton, previously served as parliamentary secretary to the prime minister in 2005 when he was MP from 2004 till 2011 when he lost.

Considered very suave, Bains has been a distinguished visiting professor at Ted Rogers School of Management at Ryerson University in Toronto till now.

Twenty-three Members of Parliament of South Asian-origin were elected to the House of Commons, Parliament of Canada in the 19 October Parliamentary elections. Three of them, Chandra Arya – born and raised in India, Gary Anandasangaree – a Tamil and Maryam Monsef – of Afghan origin, do not speak Punjabi, The Hill Times Online reported.

Of the 20 who speak Punjabi, 18 are Liberals and two are Conservatives. Among the newly-elected Punjabi-speaking MPs, 14 are males and six are females. Ontario elected 12, British Columbia four, Alberta three and one is from Quebec.

Four years back Punjabi was recognised as Canada’s third most common language. Now it has officially taken over the mantle in the Commonwealth’s top legislature after the election of 20 Punjabi-speaking candidates to the House of Commons.

Punjabi is officially the third language of the Canadian Parliament. The first and second official languages of the country and its parliament are English and French.

According to Statistics Canada’s 2011 National Household Survey, 430,705 Canadians identified Punjabi as their mother tongue, making it the third most common language after English and French. The 430,705 native Punjabi speakers make up about 1.3 per cent of Canada’s population. The 20 Punjabi-speaking MPs represent almost six per cent of the House of Commons.

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