Two South Asian ministers and six parliamentary assistants in Ontario

Dipika Damerla
New minister Dipika Damerla
THERE are two South Asian ministers in Premier Kathleen Wynne’s new cabinet that was unveiled on Tuesday. The 27-member cabinet includes eight women and four first-time ministers.

Wynne’s Liberal Party won 58 seats in the 107-member House in the June 12 election. The Progressive Conservatives got 28 seats and the NDP won 21.

First-time minister DIPIKA DAMERLA, MPP for Mississauga East-Cooksville, was appointed Associate Minister of Health responsible for Long-Term Care and Wellness.
Damerla was parliamentary assistant from 2011 to 2014.

She was first elected in 2011. She 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.

YASIR NAQVI, MPP for Ottawa Centre, Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services, was given the additional responsibility of Government House Leader.

Naqvi was minister of labour from February 2013 to March 2014 and parliamentary assistant from 2008 to 2013.
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.

Yasir Naqvi
Yasir Naqvi
SIX of the parliamentary assistants are South Asians.

Nine of the 10 South Asian MPPs (Members of the Provincial Parliament) elected on June 12 were Liberals.

Liberal MPP HARINDER TAKHAR, the former transportation and government services minister who had decided to retire from politics but changed his mind at the last minute, was appointed advisor to the Treasury Board / Management Board of Cabinet.

Parliamentary Assistants:

* Bas Balkissoon: Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services
* Vic Dhillon: Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs
* Harinder Malhi: Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister Responsible for Women’s Issues
* Amrit Mangat: Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of the Environment and Climate Change
* Indira Naidoo-Harris: Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Health and Long-Term Care (Long-Term Care)
* Dr. Shafiq Qaadri: Parliamentary Assistant to the Premier

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