On Monday, 20th September, Canada time, millions of Canadians will flock to their nearest polling station to cast their votes.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had on August 15 called a snap election for September 20, two years ahead of schedule as he seeks to capitalise on the country being one of the most fully vaccinated countries in the world.

Trudeau’s snap election plan to seek a majority in the 338-member House of Commons as his Liberal party fell 13 short of the majority mark of 170 in the 2019 elections, does seem to be working as per the latest opinion polls.

With hours left before Election Day, a new poll finds Liberals and Conservatives locked in a dead heat with the latter inching ahead by just one per cent in the national popular vote.

 

The Jagmeet Singh-led NDP has been ranked third in the opinion polls and is likely to improve from its current strength of 24 MPs

Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau, who is seeking re-election, began this year’s campaign with a 14-point lead over Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole.

But with one day left on the campaign trail, the poll found that lead has dramatically decreased. Now, just 28 per cent of Canadians surveyed said Trudeau would make the best prime minister while 27 per cent said O’Toole would make the best leader.

The NDP’s Jagmeet Singh has had a surprising rise, sitting at a close third with 23 per cent of respondents saying he would be “best suited” to lead the country.

It is almost certain that Jagmeet will be in the king maker position.

In the previous elections of 2019, 20 Indo-Canadians, including 19 Punjabis, were elected as MPs and four of them became Cabinet ministers.

In this year’s elections, 49 Indian-origin candidates out of which 47 are Punjabi origin, are in the fray for the September 20 polls to elect a new parliament.

Of the 49 Indo-Canadian candidates this time, 16 are from the Conservative Party, 15 from Trudeau’s Liberal Party, 12 from Jagmeet Singh’s New Democratic Party (NDP) and six from the far-right People’s Party of Canada.

The Indian-Canadian candidates include three cabinet ministers Harjit Sajjan, Bardish Chagar and Anita Anand.

As before, there is Punjabi versus Punjabi in several constituencies around Toronto and Vancouver.

Outgoing MPs Maninder Sidhu, Ruby Sahota, Sonia Sidhu and Kamal Kheda are pitted against Indian-Canadian Navy Bajaj, Medha Joshi, Ramandeep Brar and Gurpreet Gill in four of the five constituencies in the Punjabi-dominated Brampton city outside Toronto. .

In Alberta, the Calgary Skyview constituency is also seeing a multi-cornered battle between Jag Sahota (Conservative Party), Gurinder Gill (NDP) and George Chahal (Liberal Party).

The Punjabi-dominated city of Surrey near Vancouver is also witnessing multi-cornered fighting between Indo-Canadians in the Surrey Center and Surrey-Newton constituencies.

Incumbent Defense Minister Harjit Singh Sajjan (Liberal) faces fellow Punjabi Sukhbir Gill (Conservative Party) in Vancouver-South.

NDP leader Jagmeet Singh is also seeking re-election from Burnaby South in the Vancouver area.

Interestingly, six Indo-Canadians are also contesting for the extreme right-wing People’s Party of Canada, which has become the fourth largest party in terms of national support.

The Sikh community comprises just 1 per cent of the country’s population, but they have come to wield more power than most of their immigrant counterparts. The credit goes to a robust culture of grassroots politics, organisational skills and fundraising capabilities, and a particular feature of Canada’s electoral system that requires each candidate to bring in a certain number of signatures and party members in order to get nominated.