AS many as 25 South Asians have been elected as MPs across Canada. They include four Pakistani Canadians and one Sri Lankan Canadian.
Ontario: 14 (all Liberals)
B.C.: 7 (6 Liberals, 1 NDP)
Alberta: 3 (1 Liberal, 2 Conservatives)
Quebec: 1 (Liberal)
IN Ontario, all 14 victorious candidates are from the Liberal Party.
- ANITA ANAND
Anita Anand was first elected as Oakville’s Liberal Member of Parliament in 2019, and has since served as Canada’s Minister of Public Services and Procurement. In this role, she has led Canada through the COVID-19 pandemic on the national effort to supply vaccines, as well as medical and personal protective equipment. Anita is also the first Canadian of Hindu background to become a federal cabinet minister. Prior to her election, she was a Professor at the Faculty of Law, University of Toronto where she held the J.R. Kimber Chair in Investor Protection and Corporate Governance. She served as Associate Dean (2007-2009), and was a member of the Governing Board of Massey College at the University of Toronto. She was also cross-appointed to the Rotman School of Management as the Director of Policy and Research at the Capital Markets Research Institute. She and her spouse, John, raised their four children in Oakville. She was born and raised in Kentville, Nova Scotia.
- BARDISH CHAGGER
Bardish Chagger was elected as the Member of Parliament for the riding of Waterloo in 2015 and was reelected in 2019. She was appointed to cabinet in 2015 and has since held the portfolios of Minister of Small Business and Tourism, Leader of the Government in the House of Commons, and most recently Minister of Diversity and Inclusion and Youth. She graduated from the University of Waterloo with a Bachelor of Science. In 2012, the Waterloo Region Record recognized Bardish as one of “40 under 40” who would lead the Region of Waterloo into the future. Prior to becoming MP for Waterloo, Bardish worked at the Kitchener-Waterloo Multicultural Centre, an organization that assists new Canadians as they transition to full participation in our community’s life. She also worked with other agencies to offer an annual Global Skills Conference to introduce foreign-trained professionals to related professions and to find meaningful employment.
- IQWINDER SINGH GAHEER
Iqwinder Gaheer is a son, brother, and lawyer who is passionate about making Peel a better place. He has lived in Peel since he and his family immigrated to Canada in 1999. Over 16 years ago, Iqwinder’s father, a plumber by trade, started the family’s business in the bath furniture industry in Mississauga-Malton. Prior to seeking election, Iqwinder was a lawyer engaged in commercial litigation in the New York office of Kirkland & Ellis LLP. He also practiced law as a summer-law-student at the Toronto office of Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP on Bay Street. Iqwinder earned a degree from Harvard Law. During law school, he was a member of the Canadian Law Students Association, and worked at the Massachusetts State Attorney General’s Office and at the Massachusetts Superior Court. In his final year, he was the Editor-in-Chief of the Harvard Human Rights Journal. Iqwinder was also called to the New York Bar. Iqwinder also graduated from the Schulich School of Business, at York University, where he obtained a Bachelor of Business Administration.
- KAMAL KHERA
Kamal Khera was elected as the Member of Parliament for Brampton West in 2015, and has also served as the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Development and the Minister of National Revenue. She is a registered nurse, community volunteer and a political activist. A first-generation Canadian, Kamal immigrated to Canada from Delhi, India, at a very young age. She attended York University where she earned her Bachelors of Science in Psychology with Honours and her Bachelors of Science in Nursing with Honours. Drawn to assisting others, Kamal gained diverse experience within the field of Health through her professional experience with Centre of Addictions and Mental Health (CAMH), Peel Family Shelter, and William Osler Health Centre. Kamal presently works as a Registered Nurse in the Oncology Unit at St Joseph’s Health Centre in Toronto.
- SONIA SIDHU
Sonia Sidhu is the Member of Parliament for Brampton South. She was first elected on October 19, 2015. Sonia sat on the House of Commons’ Standing Committee on Health and was the Vice-Chair of the Standing Committee on the Status of Women. She has a passion for diabetes awareness and prevention, which she champions in her role as the Chair of the All-Party Diabetes Caucus. Before politics, she worked as a healthcare professional for 18 years. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science and has worked as a volunteer on political campaigns at all three levels of government. She has been a volunteer leader with numerous local organizations, including Trillium Health Centre. She lives in her riding of Brampton South with her husband Gurjit, twin daughters Arshia and Amrit, and her son Akash.
- RUBY SAHOTA
Since was first elected as the Member of Parliament for Brampton North in 2015. She served as the Chair of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs and was a member of the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development. She also previously served on the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security.
An experienced attorney, Ruby has practiced in the areas of criminal law, litigation, and dispute resolution in the public and private sectors, handling a wide range of complex commercial litigation files at the national and international level. She has also served with the Organization for Women in International Trade, UNICEF, and Amnesty International. Ruby holds a combined Honours Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Peace Studies from McMaster University, and a J.D. with a concentration in Litigation from Thomas M. Cooley Law School, where she was awarded the Blue Book Award in Immigration Law.
- IQRA KHALID
Iqra Khalid has served as the Liberal Member of Parliament for Mississauga—Erin Mills since 2015. Iqra grew up in Mississauga—Erin Mills. Iqra has helped bring federal funding to support community projects and businesses, advocated for seniors and women’s organizations, and encouraged Canada to stand firm on human rights issues across the world. Iqra was Chair of the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights and a member of the International Human Rights Subcommittee. She has completed studies and authored reports on topics such as Child Labour, The Rohingya Genocide, The Global State of the Free Press, Online Hate, and Human Trafficking. Iqra also served as Chair of both the Liberal Women’s Caucus and the All-Party Women’s Caucus. One of her proudest accomplishments has been the creation of the Erin Mills Women’s Council. (Khalid, a young Pakistani-Canadian woman, immigrated to Canada in the late 1990’s from England, where she began her formal schooling. Iqra graduated from York University in 2007, with a double major in Criminology and Professional Writing.)
- SHAFQAT ALI
Shafqat Ali is a successful entrepreneur and a proud husband and father of three children. From humble beginnings to an immigrant success story, he understands what it means to make ends meet. Shafqat has volunteered as a youth coordinator and youth mentor in his community, where he has lived for the past 13 years. His contributions have included forming a youth sports club, organizing festivals and fundraising for the local hospital, food bank, and various other community organizations. Shafqat has also championed other community initiatives, including being a leading voice in successfully advocating for the cricket pitch on White Clover Way in Mississauga. When Shafqat was 10, he tragically lost his dad. His mother raised him on her own as a single mother and he moved to Canada with only a suitcase. Shafqat understands the tremendous opportunities Canada provides, but also the struggles of a single mother or a university student unable to pay their tuition fees.
- MANINDER SIDHU
Maninder Sidhu is a husband, father, entrepreneur and philanthropist. He has lived in Brampton for over 30 years. In his first term as our MP, Maninder was able to advocate for and secure the single largest federal investment in the history of Brampton East, for a new transit maintenance facility. This facility will bring 1,000 good paying jobs to our community, unlock transit capacity, and help reduce pollution. He has also always been a consistent champion for young people in his community, and he was able to successfully advocate for more opportunities for youth in Brampton East through the Canada Summer Jobs program. Among many philanthropic endeavors, including mentoring aspiring young entrepreneurs, Maninder is the founder of The Kindness Movement Charity. This charity assists underprivileged school children and the less fortunate both in India and here in Canada. After graduating from the University of Waterloo, Maninder built a successful customs brokerage business.
- GARY ANANDASANGAREE
Gary Anandasangaree is the Member of Parliament for Scarborough – Rouge Park and the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations. Gary is an internationally recognized human rights lawyer and community activist. He has advocated tirelessly for human rights, equitable education and social justice. He attended Osgoode Hall Law School, and was called to the bar of Ontario in 2006, and went on to manage his own firm in Scarborough. As an active and engaged member of his community, Gary served as Chair of the Canadian Tamil Youth Development Centre, President of the Canadian Tamils’ Chamber of Commerce, board member of the Youth Challenge Fund, member of the Toronto Police Chief’s Advisory Council, and member of the United Way Newcomers Grant Program. Gary came to Canada with his mother as a refugee in 1983, and has advocated for the rights of refugees throughout his life. He is married to Harini Sivalingam and they have two daughters, Bairavi and Sahanah.
- CHANDRA ARYA
Chandra Arya’s passion to serve the community and strengthen the middle class motivated him to enter politics with three main objectives: affordable housing for all, providing retirement income security to 11 million working Canadians without workplace pensions, and ensure Canadian society and the economy remain robust and competitive in the global knowledge-based economy. Chandra previously served on the board of Invest Ottawa – the economic development agency of the City of Ottawa – promoting knowledge-based economy in the city. He also served as a board member of Unity Non-Profit Housing Corporation Ottawa and was the Vice President of Ottawa Community Immigrant Services Organization. Chandra was the Chair of the Indo-Canada Ottawa Business Chamber and Founder-Director of Federation of Canadian Brazilian Businesses. Chandra earned a Bachelor’s degree in Engineering and a Masters degree in Business Administration. Before entering politics, he was an executive in the high-tech sector. He lives in Nepean with his wife Sangeetha.
- ARIF VIRANI
Arif Virani has been the Liberal Member of Parliament for Parkdale–High Park since 2015. He has a wife and two young boys and has always been an active volunteer in the community. He is a member of the Redwood Shelter for abused women, has regularly helped at the Parkdale Food Bank, actively volunteered with Roncyworks, and has led community efforts to address mental health stigma. He was also a founder of Toronto’s legal aid clinic, SALCO. After coming to Canada as a Ugandan Asian refugee, Arif has spent his career as a constitutional litigator, advocating for human rights and access to justice. He has previously worked as an analyst with the Canadian Human Rights Commission in Ottawa, an investigator at la Commission des droits de la personne et droits de la jeunesse in Montréal, and as an assistant trial attorney prosecuting genocide at the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda. Arif has an Honours Bachelor of Arts in History and Political Science from McGill University, and completed his Bachelor of Laws at the University of Toronto, where he graduated as valedictorian. Arif speaks English, French, and Hindi.
- SALMA ZAHID
Salma Zahid was elected as the Member of Parliament for Scarborough Centre in 2015 and re-elected in 2019. She is the Chair of the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration, and a member of the Standing Committee on the Status of Women. As an MP, Salma has worked to raise awareness of the oppression of the Rohingya Muslim minority in Myanmar and other oppressed persons around the world, and pressed the government to take a leadership role in providing humanitarian assistance. Her private member’s motion M-155, designating June as Filipino Heritage Month across Canada, was unanimously passed by the House of Commons. Before entering politics, Salma was a community organizer working to support women, their families and youth, and served the public in several positions with the Government of Ontario. Salma holds a Masters in Educational Management and Administration from the University of London’s Institute of Education, and an MBA from Quaid e Azam University in Pakistan.
- YASIR NAQVI
Yasir and his family arrived in Canada in 1988 after the Pakistani government imprisoned his father for leading a pro-democracy march. Yasir’s passion to serve his community resulted in him being elected as the Member of Provincial Parliament for Ottawa Centre in October 2007. He was re-elected in 2011 and 2014. While in provincial government, Yasir served in many roles including as the Attorney General of Ontario, Government House Leader, Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services, and Minister of Labour. Through this work he raised the minimum wage, brought forward new protections for vulnerable workers, banned race-based carding in Ontario and modernized our court system. After leaving government, Yasir served as the CEO of the Institute for Canadian Citizenship, Canada’s leading voice on citizenship and inclusion. Yasir helped secure funding for Phase One and Phase Two of the LRT, build hundreds of new affordable housing units and build the Flora Footbridge and Chinatown Gateway.