The flyer titled “The Changing Face of Brampton” laments the decreasing proportion of “Mainstream Canadians” in Brampton and contrasts an older picture of a largely Caucasian group with a recent picture of a group of Sikh men and women.
Brampton is home to a large Sikh population. According to the 2011 Census results, approximately 19 per cent of the Brampton population reported their religion as Sikh.
WSO Ontario President and Brampton resident Prabhmeet Singh Sarkaria said, “These flyers are the work of an isolated fringe group and don’t reflect the view of the vast majority of Bramptonians or Canadians. Canada is an example of how diversity and multiculturalism can work so beautifully. This is an opportunity for all of us to stand together and say that this type of message is not welcome in Canada.”
The flyers come at a time when Sikhs celebrate Vaisakhi or the foundation of the Order of the Khalsa in 1699. The Province of Ontario and also the City of Brampton have both declared the month of April as “Sikh Heritage Month”.
WSO President Dr. Amritpal Singh Shergill said, “The flyers are an example of ignorance and fear-mongering. Despite Immigration Watch Canada’s claims, Sikhs are proudly “mainstream” Canadians. We have been in Canada for well over 100 years and Sikhs are an integral part of their communities in Brampton and across Canada. We are Canadians. Period.”
ON Friday, federal Liberal Party Leader Justin Trudeau issued the following statement:
“I condemn in the strongest terms the recent flyers circulated in Brampton. The reprehensible comments made about immigration and the Sikh community have no place in this country. These flyers are in no way a reflection of Canadians or Canadian values.
“Canada is a country founded on diversity. The Charter of Rights and Freedoms upholds the equality of all, regardless of religion, ethnicity, culture, or identity. Canada is made stronger as a direct result of our multicultural fabric, and we are a model for the rest of the world.
“Let us join together to reinforce and reiterate our commitment to a diverse, inclusive Canada.”