Punjabi Candidates Take Center Stage in Provincial Elections in Manitoba, Canada

by Antariksh Singh

The stage is set for an exciting electoral showdown in Manitoba, as nine candidates of Punjabi origin gear up for the upcoming provincial elections scheduled for October 3. With a total of 57 constituencies up for grabs, the political landscape is brimming with anticipation.

In a noteworthy display of diversity, both major political parties, the National Democratic Party (NDP) and the Progressive Conservative Party (PC), have placed their bets on South Asian communities, with a particular focus on the Punjabi diaspora. These parties have gone the extra mile to ensure “adequate representation” for these communities by fielding candidates of Punjabi heritage.

The Progressive Conservative Party (PC) has nominated a formidable team of Punjabi candidates, including Navraz Brar from Burrows, Sumit Chawla from The Maples, Kirt Hayer from St. Boniface, and Paramjit Shahi from Fort Richmond. Meanwhile, the New Democratic Party (NDP) has put forth a strong roster, featuring sitting MLA Diljeet Brar from Burrows, Jasdeep Devgan from McPhillips, and another incumbent, Mintu Brar, from The Maples. Adding to the vibrant mix, Manjit Kaur Gill has entered the race as a Green Party candidate in Waverley, and Amarjit Singh is contesting as an independent candidate from Southdale.

In a striking parallel, the 2019 assembly polls saw two Punjabi candidates, Daljeet Brar and Mintu Sandhu, clinch victory in Manitoba. Diljeet Brar, hailing from Bhangchari village in Muktsar district and boasting a family with a strong legacy in education, migrated to Canada in 2010 with his wife Navneet Kaur. Both are alumni of Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) in Ludhiana, and Diljeet contributed significantly to the Manitoba agriculture department until 2018.

Mintu Sandhu embarked on his Canadian journey at the age of 16 in 1989. He has called The Maples home for the past 34 years and, during this time, established and managed his own gas station business for 18 years. Mintu’s dedication also extended to the modernization of Manitoba’s transportation system, where he played a pivotal role during his four-year term on Manitoba Infrastructure’s Motor Transport Board.

A true embodiment of the Canadian dream, Mintu Sandhu arrived in Canada as a teenager and has resided in The Maples for three decades. He climbed the ranks to a leadership position at one of Winnipeg’s largest taxicab companies. Elected for the first time in 2019, Mintu has tirelessly advocated for the improvement of the Manitoba Provincial Nominee Program (MPNP), the advancement of family reunification, the facilitation of internationally trained nurses’ employment in Manitoba, and ensuring wage protection for taxi drivers during the pandemic. Furthermore, he stood in solidarity with families affected by the Covid-19 outbreak at the Maples Personal Care Home. Mintu and his wife Inderjiit are proud parents of three children.

As the Manitoba provincial elections approach, the Punjabi community’s influence in the political arena continues to grow, showcasing their dedication to making a positive impact on the province they now call home. Stay tuned for updates as the October 3 polling day draws nearer.

Antariksh Singh

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