Harinder Malhi has become the first ever Sikh cabinet minister in the Canadian province. Malhi had shot to fame when she moved the 1984 genocide motion in the provincial parliament in April last year.
The 38-year-old daughter of Canada’s first turbaned MP Gurbax Singh Malhi was sworn in as Minister of the Status of Women on Thursday, reported IANS.
The decision by Premier Kathleen Wynne to elevate Malhi seems to have been taken with an eye to Sikh votes as Ontario goes to the polls in June this year.
A motion moved by Malhi in the Legislative assembly of Ontario last year was passed by the House extending the official recognition to the 1984 riots as Sikh “genocide” in India, a move strongly rejected by New Delhi as “misguided,” reported PTI.
Malhi represents the Punjabi-dominated ‘riding’ (or constituency) of Brampton-Springdale in the Ontario assembly, whose members are called MPPs or members of provincial parliament.
Aside from Malhi, another leader of Indian origin, Indira Naidoo-Harris, too was promoted to Education Minister. She will remain Minister Responsible for Early Years and Child Care.
Ontario’s Premier, Kathleen Wynne, said, “I am thrilled to have three new ministers joining cabinet for 2018. The knowledge and skills they bring to these roles will be crucial as we continue our work to create more fairness and opportunity for the people of Ontario. In a changing economy, our plan is about making sure everyone has a fair shot at getting ahead.”