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British Columbia

5 Indo-Canadians inducted in British Columbia govt

Five Indo-Canadians of Punjabi origin were sworn in as ministers in a recent cabinet reshuffle by British Columbia (BC) Prime Minister David Eby. Harry Bains, Nikki Sharma, Jagrup Brar, Rachna Singh and Ravi Kahlon recently took the oath at Government House in British Columbia’s capital city of Victoria.

Brar, who is from Bathinda, was elected as Minister of State in the New Democratic Party (NDP) government of British Columbia in Canada on Wednesday. He was first elected MLA in Surrey in 2004 and served until 2013. He was re-elected MLA for Surrey-Fleetwood in 2017 and 2020.

“I am honored to be appointed Minister of State for Trade. Many thanks to Premier @Dave_Eby for his confidence in me and my Cabinet colleagues. I look forward to working for the people of British Columbia!” Brar tweeted after his appointment.

In India, Brar was a member of the national basketball team and earned a master’s degree in philosophy. He then moved to Canada to study public administration.

Rachna Singh, a three-time Surrey Green Timber MLA, became the first South Asian woman to be appointed British Columbia’s Minister of Education and Child Care. She is the second Punjabi to manage the portfolio after Moe Sihota. Rachna moved to Canada from India in 2001 and has worked as a drug and alcohol counselor, domestic violence advocate and community activist.

Niki Sharma, who was appointed Attorney General, has worked across BC as an advocate for climate action and reconciliation and has been recognized for her advocacy on fighting racism.

“Serving BC as Attorney General is a lifetime honor. I am Premier @Dave_Eby and very grateful to all of you for your kind words of support. I pledge to do my best for the people of this province,” Niki tweeted.

Harry Bains, who was reappointed as Labor Secretary, said he wanted “to make BC jobs some of the safest in the country”.

“I am so grateful to be sworn in again as Labor Secretary this morning. We’ve accomplished major changes in BC like introducing paid sick leave, raising the minimum wage, repatriating our healthcare workers, etc. We have so much more to do,” tweeted Harry, who has an extensive community service background.

Ravi Kahlon was appointed Minister of Housing and Head of Government House. Previously, he was Parliamentary Secretary for Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development, where he advocated for the use of bulk timber and innovation in BC’s forest sector.

Born in Victoria, the two-time Olympian played field hockey for Team Canada at the 2000 and 2008 Olympics. Prior to his election to the MLA, Ravi spent seven years in banking and an additional six years as Director of Stakeholder Relations in the New Democrat Caucus.


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